Must Read - An alternative approach by Mr. P BEdi

Even his worst critics will not accuse Modi of not having tried hard; some say he works for over 18 hours a day. And yet, from the aam aadmi to the captains of industry, most are dissatisfied with the quality and speed of change. While we could quibble about his vision or strategy, there is a bigger concern.

If someone like Modi has not been able to re-energise the system, is there really hope for any sort of radical change?

The ubiquitous "system" created by the British to perpetuate their rule has stood its ground unchanged for over 70 years. The need for control, the love of process and disdain for result, the titles and the acronyms, the formality and the language and even the same green paper with a vertical margin.

During this period, the world outside has transformed many times over. Such is the level of integration today that deficient rainfall in Latin America can raise inflation in India, a profligate Greece can sink Europe and a humble consumer has the power to destroy a major global brand. This has introduced unprecedented complexity into decision-making often involving new stakeholders who would not even have existed a few years ago.

So that is what it is, a completely static system attempting to negotiate a rapidly changing environment. The result is a paralysis in decision-making often with utter disregard for the big picture. The challenge lies in finding a structural and systemic solution to end this mismatch.

The problem is not unique to governments. Large global corporations, often with budgets bigger than those of many countries face the same problem. How do they tackle it? Is there a lesson to be learnt?

Across the world, traditional, silo-based structures are being replaced with multidiscipline, geography independent, virtual or real teams. Cross reporting and multiple reporting, once seen as anathema to good management are now seen to be desirable. As are team goals and team assessment. Forcing individuals to get rid of their "not invented here" thinking and focus less on ego and more on the common objective.

While corporate best practices recommend creating multidisciplinary teams around strategic objectives, governments traditionally do exactly the opposite. They disaggregate accountability. So one person is tasked to buy marble, another to do the carving and a third to complete the structure. But no one person is accountable for building the Taj.

The PM launches Swachh Bharat.

The list of stakeholders includes state governments, municipalities, finance ministries, procurement agencies and urban and rural development ministries across 30 states. In some states there could be the need for new investments in technology or simply the need for space to create landfills etc. Each issue creates a new set of stakeholders both at the Centre and the states.

The PM launches Make in India.

Once the land is acquired, those uprooted have to be rehabilitated. Some have to be provided jobs. This would involve the local state governments and the rural development ministry at the Centre. Then the highways and roads have to be built. And provision of power, water and bandwidth for which even the private sector may need to be involved. The chain of departments and officials that are involved is endless.

Likewise the Digital India programme.

When analysed, simple slogans and rallying call by the PM start looking like a mammoth PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique) exercises with ramifications across thousands of touchpoints across the country. None of these are simple linear programs that can be handed over to any single ministry.

So when responsibilities are so fragmented, who exactly is accountable for success or failure? Unfortunately no one. And thereby hangs a tale.

Swachh Bharat, Digital India and Make in India are smart, strategic and sophisticated concepts. They recognise the need for a government to deliver solutions beyond infrastructure. This is a huge leap forward. The government is acknowledging that its job is to provide education and not schools, cleanliness and not just garbage bins. And so on.

In a federal structure where last mile delivery of services may depend on various elected or unelected bodies, the prime minister's willingness to stick his neck out and make the promise is a great beginning for which he must be commended.

Also read: US academics slamming Modi ahead of Silicon Valley visit should be ashamed

The problem, however, is that the PM himself has not realised how much of a game changer these ideas are. They were born as slogans and will probably die as such. Because the PM is attempting to use the same tired, existing infrastructure to implement it. A sure recipe for failure. And therein lies the challenge.

The government needs to devise a new delivery mechanism which can cut through the sloth of officialdom and ensure effective quality implementation for these initiatives to deliver results.

So is an alternative possible? Yes, but it requires a commitment to first break the egg before attempting the omelette.

First, divide the business of governance into two levels, the missions and the ministries.

The missions, as the name suggests, are the ideals that the government is committed to delivering. What Directive Principles are to the country, the missions are to the government. They will always be a reflection of a government's commitments. For instance, if the government believes that the need is jobs, a "Jobs for All" mission will work on it, dovetailing efforts of the industries, commerce, telecom and finance or other ministries which can influence job creation. Likewise Swachh Bharat, Make in India and Digital India.

On the other hand the ministries are the enablers. They work, pretty much as they are doing now, to ensure that the dreams enunciated by the missions are met.

Second, acknowledge that for any initiative to be successful, there must be someone who "owns" it and whose personal success or failure is linked with it.

Such a person must not just be titular head but must also have the authority to take appropriate decisions in pursuance of the mission. And so will need to be of a level above other cabinet ministers. But whatever his or her titular seniority, the PM must ensure that his de facto status is higher than other ministers. If it is seen as a mere coordination job, the entire purpose is defeated.

Third, for the purpose of the mission, officials across ministries and departments concerned with execution of the mission will dual-report to both their own ministries as well as the mission owner.

Job profile of the mission owner?

He or she needs to convert the government's vision into a series of actionable points, assess the opportunities, possibilities and the constraints, set targets, provide monetary and technical support where needed, create a delivery system that does not fall between the tracks and co-opt his team from various concerned ministries and departments.

Not every ministers can hope to be a mission owner one day. Only the ones who have significant project implementation experience. Since the role requires the power of persuasion the typical mission owner should ideally be well networked across parties. And since the job requires intensive travel across states to review performance and share feedback, the mission owner must be young and energetic. In the current government only Suresh Prabhu and Manohar Parrikar would fit the bill. If he hadn't been involved in various scandals, Gadkari would also have qualified.

The mission owner will typically have a small team mainly for the planning and oversight functions. The intention would be to have him work with existing resources rather than hiring new set of people. And therefore he or she will be dependent on people chosen by him from the concerned ministries.

Should the mission owners be part of the PMO? Ideally, yes. But if they are made a part of the PMO, there would be far too much of an outcry about centralisation of power and that may derail the entire process. So it is best the mission owners are not integrated into the PMO. But yes, they must work very closely with the PMO.

And what would they be called? Maybe simply senior ministers with cabinet rank.

Though I am tempted to suggest jan sevaks. If the PM is pratham sevak, then people engaged in providing solutions to the people should be called jan sevaks.

But the nomenclature is unimportant. The fact that the government has chosen to take an additional step forward is.


PS. I request members to not mark my post inappropriate even if you don't agree with it. Share your views instead. We are all keen to have a better nation and hence this open discussion. more  

View all 105 comments Below 105 comments
70 years old system cannot be changed immediately it will take time and support from all parties and citizen of India. But as all our parties are busy in criticizing each other doing nothing then one man can do what? So we should not blame Modiji, he is trying in this line, every one need to support him. One thing which need to change immediately, that is the Boss of congress party, because they are the. Self centered people think about themselves not country more  
Shikha Jain, you have gone too deep into the things for a long period of 70
years past and to the British rule era. But I must appreciate your want
the circle members to criticize you. I am one to say we are in too much
haste to achieve everything with Modi Ji what was pending since 40 years.
OROP decided but they must go for more agitations to squeeze this poor
country as much as they can. Hovering problems. all caste creed, weeds,
medes, they all want reservation for them, be it Jats, Patels, Gurjar ,
girivar, maruvar,who not, they want reservation to show their head to the
country that they are are scheduled for reservation. Even Muslim community
who have no stakes after formation of Pakistan are also demanding
reservation. If you see the reservation list of center govt., you yourself
will be amazed that this is reservation or a way to divide the country
further.
Modi is newcomer to the central politics. But the opposition led by a
foreign dynasty for many years, is well trained to defeat this country
within and out of country. For them this country is banana republik suited
for loot. And here I start criticizing you and Prime Minister Modi. He
should have got it passed in parliament that ;

1. For next One Thousand Years there shall be no division of India.
2. Except for people who are really very poor, no one be given jobs on
reservation basis. SC/ST however shall enjoy reservation for this third
generation for last time.
3. Individual freedom without responsibility to your family or society is
useless.
4. Smart family system 2+2/2+3 , total five member family shall have five
votes at the maximum. You may have ten children, but your votes will be
counted upto five votes. And for your more than two/three children, there
shall not be any job and be counted as Non-Citizens. However, present
families shall be honored. Hereafter those who breed their family more
than five, shall have to go through the scrutiny of ED for their financial
set up and may be levied tax for hurting the India`s smart life.
5. Protests in Parliament of India should be banned.
6. Street protests be allowed to the extent they do not damage the nation`s
property as Patel did in Gujrat, he should have been charged with sedition.
7. I disagree with Modi the way he is tackling Kashmir valley issue.
Kashmir valley is just our border with Pakistan and their should not be
discussion about it. In this regard it is suggested that patriotic Jammu
region be joined with the patriotic states of Panjab, Haryana and Himachal
Pradesh at the earliest. Through a presidential decree 370 is recalled as
it gives much misgivings.
8. System of private schools be stopped but all schools be nominated as
District Schools and children living with in 2 Kms. be admitted
compulsorily in those schools. You cant refuse admission by any means.
9 Formation of India Development Force (IDF) be made. All youth who do
national service in this force shall only be given employment in govt. and
private jobs.
10. Jai Kissan - all landless Kissan youth be given job in agriculture
sector and be paid wages with the productivity linked wages. They be given
one unit house on lease per each unit of 5.
11. Jai Jawan -All jawans who have no house of their own be leased a govt.
house.
12. A national Judicial Commission should decide about the politicians and
all high ups in civil services who are found involved in anti India
activities. Their properties be attacked and they be sent to jail/if found
involved in murders be hanged.
These are the things new India should follow and withdraw from UK/USA
patron of constitution to start with.

Criticize me as much as you like.These are some essentials this nation has
to achieve before ` Make in India` is made a reality. Jai Hind ! more  
I read with interest the points mentioned by Mr. P. Bedi - An alternative approach.
To summarize - his concern are valid. Modi is concerned or they are just election Jumlas - I do not know. But what ever he said - must be given a try - I thing it will be good for future generation. Of course, the present generation - may not be able to enjoy the fruits - as it is the muck of 60 years. Every change requires time. BUT I DO GIVE Mr. MODI THE CREDIT - AT LEAST FEW LIKE MINDED PEOPLE ARE TALKING AND EXPRESSING THEIR VIEWS.
Perhaps - the major point noted by Mr. Bedi - too many Departments - with no accountability is the reason. Babus / politicians feel they are above all when comes to formulate policies. But implementation - you require some one else. Than for effectiveness we do have some SIT / committee. But what is the feeling of poor people for which the polices are made, executed and results given? ARE THEY SATISFIED - THAT IS MORE IMPORTANT?
I would - like do disagree with Mr. Ashish Nimsarkar - India consists of middle class, business class, SC/St etc.
Its all confusing - I am a small shop keeper, I can not feed my children and meet my ailing wife's medical expanses, but I do not get SC / St status, as my fore father worked with Maharajas. SO WHERE DO I STAND? But one Patel / Yadav / Gujjars fore fathers - having lot of agriculture land, drank and enjoyed the life - now their dependents are holding Government to ransom - as they have vote bank.
IF YOU WANT - TO DEMARCATE THE INDIAN POPULATION - THEIR IS ONLY ONE AND ONE PRINCIPAL - PRESENT FINANCIAL STATUS AND PRESENT REQUIREMENT TO MEET HIS / HER BASIC NEEDS. NO RELIGION, NO GENDER, NO CASTE, NO VOTE BANK.
EDUCATION, MEDICAL, HOUSING, FOOD, SUITABLE CLOTHING, RESPECTABLE JOBS AS PER QUALIFICATION IS THE REQUIREMENT FOR EACH AND EVERY CITIZEN - GOVERNMENT CAN NOT RUN ON THIS ISSUE. BUT AT THE SAME TIME EVERY CITIZEN SHOULD CONTRIBUTE - FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIETY. FOR CLAIMING BENEFITS EVERY BODY IS IN QUEUE BUT FOR GIVING TAX - THERE IS HARDY ANY? EVEN - POOR CAN ALSO CONTRIBUTE IF THEY WANT - I can give a complete lecture, how poor can work for country. Example - do not drink. Rich can meet their medical expanses. But poor take adulterated drinks and die, and for vote bank shake - Government gives compensation. Let that compensation be given to make toilet in Government schools. Girls of poor will come and read - who knows, one day, one out of hundred gets a job in call center. Now she has good purchasing power - giving direct and indirect taxes for the poor people. SO IT ALL STARTED POOR NOT DRINKING. Similarly - cleanliness is more important for poor, conserving what ever water, electricity, edibles / fruits (if any) are more important for them - as compared to rich people - they can afford to spend and manage - for the benefit of poor again - purchasing - means paying tax - tax means more money available to form policies for the POOR - at least on paper. more  
Statement :
"The government needs to devise a new delivery mechanism which can cut through the sloth of officialdom and ensure effective quality implementation for these initiatives to deliver results. "

My observations :

1.Who will ensure that this new delivery mechanism will deliver positive results for all.
2.If this new mechanism is unable to do this then the present government will loose all chances in the next elections.
3.India as a country is composed of many groups like the middle-class, the business class, the SC/ST's , the rural class,the urban class, and so on.Implementing a new governance-strategy will bring advantages to one group and disadvantages to some others.This will create an atmosphere of suspicion among various groups leading to hostility towards each other.It is very difficult to arrive at a optimum governance-strategy which will deliver positive results for all the groups.
4.Implementing a new governance strategy involves a big risk.Is the government willing to take this risk ? more  
You were silent and did show to over throw a government and party who has systematicly destroyed this country for 60 years only to satisfy one family. .today all the menaces whether J&K problem, Orop,Sikh decent, Hindu muslim communal fight are created by this one party and family. .so let's give couple of years to this govt at least. for the first time India has been recognized as unavoidable force in the world and not just a soft country vocalling peace at international front more  
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