Time to Galvanize the Steel Frame !

Bureaucracy in India referred to as a ‘steel frame’ in its earlier days, has gathered quite a bit of rust in the past few decades. Ideologically, the bureaucratic system was very good with thorough selection and promotion processes and its relative independence from parliamentary politics. However, it is flawed on a fundamental ground – assuming that there will be no interference from the political corners and no diffusion of authority arising due to overlapping administrative powers. It also assumed that the civil servants, whose growth trajectory strategically depends on the state and central governments, will never heed personal agendas however compelling they might be. Given the socialist outlook in adopting this system, one can understand the idealistic approach. What one fails to understand is the shortsightedness of the founders of this system about the roots of evil already prevalent in the system. During the Raj, Britishers used the ‘civil servant’ model to propagate and execute their political agenda. Why wouldn’t the new rulers albeit coming into power through an election, take the same advantage? After all, power corrupts each and everyone in the same way irrespective of how it is acquired.

Behold! Before you jump to the conclusion that the focus of this article is to bring the fundamental flaw in the foundation of the Indian bureaucratic system and to blame its designers led by the socialist reforms of Jawahar Lal Nehru – behold!

My effort is to explore the human psychology behind certain facts that relate to this system. First, if it was idealistic then why was that? Second, if it became corrupt then why do people allow it to become corrupt? Third, if the corruption is becoming unbearable now then what is causing it to cross the threshold? Fourth, what motivates these civil servants operating at the helm of administrative power to forgo their integrity and indulge in petty gains? Five, does the impatient business class who wants to get everything done here and now have any role to play in proliferating the graft practice and pushing the governance processes on a margin for immediate economic gains?

Last but not the least; do we know enough to analyze this complex issue? The good news is that we do know enough to start responding to this impending issue that affects our lives and the lives of our sons and daughters.

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