Tuesday, June 22, 2021
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Effective and humane public administration

President Pranab Mukherjee has rightly echoed the sentiments of the people by saying that they are desirous of more efficient administration, more responsive and citizen friendly approach of the administrative machinery that comes in contact with the people on almost day to day basis. When Ajit Singh’s father, Chaudhary Charan Singh was the Minister, the “kisans” of western UP used to say , “Tu na sune to main Chaudhary dhure jaoon” ( if you don’t listen to me properly and be responsive, then I will approach Charan Singh. They indulged in this act frequently hence the revenue officers and consolidation of holding officers was always afraid and performed their work properly.

The present situation is such that if I say that I will approach the Secretary with my complaint, the lower level officials will mock and say, “Jake dekho, milte hain kya”. The British officers of the ICS, used to tour regularly and pitched tents to stay in villages and often rode on horse backs. Upon return to office, they will write their experiences in a big bound register to pass the communication from one officer to his counterpart. Present officers mostly move from their AC rooms to the bath room and back and will accompany only those during evenings, who will entertain them with two Ws. ( hope you get it). You will say, they will demand money, which they will definitely do later. Their first demand is W with four letters and followed by second W comprising five letters. After this, you can get any work done from them and obtain whatever information regarding the tenders needed by you.

We tend to blame only the politicians. They are mostly fools and rather gullible and eager to make maximum money in five years, unsure whether they will get re-elected. This is not the case with the officers and PAs to the ministers, who are permanent employees. These officials will receive hefty pension after retirement and even plum postings with the corporate whom they favour during their service tenure. They are very cunning too and will develop friendship with the minister so that they can rely on him during troubled times.

Good and honest officers must be recognized and rewarded. It is not that all of them are bad, many of them are good and honest. However, they often pass their time and look forward to the next promotion. Let us hope the new government after these elections, encourages and rewards pro-active officers and improve their competence by providing continuous training and retraining. The head of the department should be asked to publish a report in newspapers monthly providing information pertaining to the work done and tasks planned.

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