Whats going on with Modi Government

Process seems to be stopping progress. Disillusionment of expectation from NDA government is reaching its peak in several areas. After a slew of announcement encompassing Digital India, Make In India, Swacch Bharat and Smart Cities, the system does not seem to be responding. The Prime Minister may be pushing with all his might but the bureaucracy is not responding with the same alacrity.

The slowdown of processes for new initiatives is palpable; just take the most visible one. The Defence Minister and even the Prime Minister says that the government wants to bring in One Rank One Pension (OROP). A right snatched by the IAS lobby from defence forces in 1973. Not once but several times the government has said it wants to implement OROP but why is it not happening. Maybe because of the bureaucracy does not want to make it happen. None of the senior politicians or ministers want to acknowledge it but senior bureaucrats are delaying crucial decision. Some simply do not want to take any decision.

Sir Humphrey Appleby clones are there in each ministry who give brilliant arguments for not taking decisions. When the NDA government took over, it did not transfer/ change key bureaucrats as it did not want to create a fear psychosis. Several bureaucrats were allowed to complete their terms, but now several have been given extension. Even those who were ideologues and closely allied to UPA have got extension. Somehow the government is bending backwards to appease.

Even on the smart city front, the PMO had stepped in and gave a list of shortlisted consultants to be used for preparing the DPRs by the states. This was after three secretaries were changed in the Ministry of Urban Development and action had almost slowed down to a still. This is also micro-management and shows that the system is not responding to new responsibilities. The dependence on consultants is also rising fast in almost all ministries that have responsibilities for executing these missions. This does not augur well for the bureaucracy as the know-how is getting built in the private sector for public projects. Bureaucrats will find it difficult to move ahead if they are not on top of things and take executive roles in fulfilling these.

Even the swach-bharat mission is at cross roads as the initial hype seems to have fizzled out at state level. A systematic mechanism has still not been put in place for ensuring its goals are met. It is a difficult mission. Sanitation as a goal has three clear components: Physical infrastructure, social engagement and social behaviour. The ministry has been claiming targets being met on physical infrastructure front in terms of number of toilets built, which are disputed by fact-finding organizations like Indiaspend.com. But more importantly babus do not know how to drive engagement with the citizen or drive social change. Most babus in Delhi have forgotten how to engage with citizens. Bureaucrats only work with citizen in the first few years of their jobs as an SDM or Commissioner at district level.

They do not know how to engage, involve citizens or communities in these initiatives. There is a cultural issue also here that is a result of the meritocracy that selects them. Most babus feel that they know it all and do not need inputs from the citizens. A very high level of arrogance is a side effect of high IQ. Politicians think exactly the other way as they want every citizen to give them suggestions. They know that every citizen is a voter and needs to be acknowledged. But politicians attached to NDA or UPA cannot implement or make the system run. It is the bureaucrats who do and they seem to falling behind.

One of the principles of engaging citizens is to recognize, acknowledge them as a stake holder in policy outcomes. UPA government had tried to bring in an appraisal system for bureaucrats that would rate them on social impact of their work. It had key performance indicators for each ministry and each position even at central level. A results framework document was developed under a Performance Monitoring and Evaluation system (PMES) for bureaucrats. Driven by the Cabinet Secretary it was to be adopted by all the ministries and departments of the government. This was in 2012 after which the UPA government went into a policy paralysis of sorts and this initiative never really took off.

It's status in the current government is not known, it is effective for mid-level bureaucrats who really want to shine and showcase their efforts. The barrier is senior bureaucrats who have reached a nirvana and whose promotions are dependent on political patronage and not performance. The pain due to slowdown of decision-making is now visible and being felt by people as the hype around the announcement is wearing down. While PMES is a long term solution for energizing the system, some short-term hard decisions are equally important. more  

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I think Modi Govt is good in raising slogans. There is no plan behind these slogans. More than bureaucrats, I blame his team for poor performance. more  
Our bureaucracy is a legacy of British empire and no body has tried in last 70 years or so to make it accountable to Indian citizens. They are working as a ruler rather than public servants. Their training methods have never been changed. To expect such babus to start responding so quickly to the needs of people, require a very strong political will, time and efforts. Unfortunately every now and then there is an election which does not allow leadership to take hard decisions and also takes away lot of time and attention. However it is also true that our general public has lot of patience. That is why public has been bearing misrules of so many decades and when the time has come and an alternative was given, public has handed over the power to best option available. Even if, some signs of changes are visible, that will do.

But political leadership should not be complacent. We all know that nobody can fulfill the tall promises made during the election speeches. But some of them can definitely be taken care of even with this bureaucracy. Besides it should also start appearing that govt. is trying to do its best with the available resources. This will give a very positive signal. more  
Ms Lohani 's thoughts are akin to many in the country who are victims of bureaucratic manoeuvres and are fed up of the present system of governance by them. If we are doing away with all things British why not an overhaul of this bureaucratic system? It does show there strong hold on the governance of the country when an IAS personnel is imposed on a department or a public sector enterprise without his/her having no or very little experience of the speciality. It is also experienced that whenever a public sector enterprise starts doing well and earning good revenue entirely by the efforts of its own employees the IAS lobby manipulates one of its own to take over . I can quote an example of the Uttar Pradesh Bhoot-Poorve Sainik Kalyan Nigam. It was brought from red to a profit making government enterprise by a retired Lt General of the Army . The moment it was done the Gen was asked to quit and a bureaucrat was put in his place. There are many more such instances. So the peoples' efforts should now be to rethink the bureaucratic system by insisting that the government should place qualified experienced advisor to the Ministers from the department it self like a Railway technocrat in the ministry of railways, Defence Personnel in Ministry of Defence, A physician of repute in the health ministry, an Agriculturists in the ministry of Agriculture etc etc. These experts with a short course on administration in the LBS Academy at Mussoorie could be more suitably employed than the highly biased and self seeking IAS cadre personnel. more  
M/S RUCHIKA LOHANI,
THANKS FOR YOUR ANALYSIS,IT IS TRUE STATE OF AFFAIRS THESE DAYS. more  
Ms Lohanis Essay is very impressive.many others have also written and every where i found either criticism of MODI or PM or praise for Modi or PM as if there is no other minister in the cabinet or others are not working or capable at all.
Bureaucrats job is also done by MModi and other Cabinet rank ministers job is also done by Modi and at the same time we have never seen Mr Modi or PM answering any question of any sort either to Press or any student or lay men like us, But why he does not answer queries, because he knows nothing, he can not answer your queries he has no subject knowledge of any thing . Other than making mockery of others in election rallies with some rented people in front rows who clap on everything the says. One day if he says you all in front row are mad they will still clap and chant modi Modi Modi.So Modi has some blind followers who do not see rationality in any thing he does.Why Hardik Patel has taken birth because promises were never fulfilled by Modi in his 15 years of RAJ in Gujarat, similarly our 15 lakhs will never reach in our banks and neither any Black oney will come . So far HE HAS JUST put forth the Bills of UPA govt only, whether it is GST or Land Bill. They do not have competent people in their cabinet and organization, who could understand economics and can find something better than Dr Manmohan Singh.Only capable Arun Jately is overburdened with responsibilities.
The day MODI jee or PM sahib will instead of Man Ki Baat, where no body can ask question from other side come in any press conference or any TV debate or any other platform of university or college and discuss/answers different querries of people that day after hearing his answers i and like minded people will know if he actually knows something or not, so far he is only good for making mockery of others in MADARI style in his election speeches. more  
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