14 May 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Pmspeak for babus

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Pmspeak for babus The recent Civil Services Day celebration in the national capital recently was an occasion for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to berate the gathered babus for having allowed an “Inspector Raj” image of government to take root. He further warned that the “creaking system” couldn’t be allowed to persist. The Prime Minister minced no words when he enunciated the government’s resolve to shift from traditional administration concerns to a citizen-centric approach to governance. “I view the reform of government as a means of making citizens central to all activities by effectively addressing the concerns of the common people,” he said and expressed the hope that the Administrative Reforms Commission’s initiative would fetch the desired results. Pertinently, the Prime Minister outlined how the role of the bureaucracy had transformed from that of a “law enforcer” to a “provider” of basic services and public goods. “Civil servants need to equip themselves with the necessary skills and capabilities by mastering new technologies and functioning styles,” he added. Such words should be music to the ears of anyone who has despaired of the corruption, inefficiency and red tape that have defined Indian bureaucracy all these years. The challenges are different in today’s brave new globalised world. Today, good governance demands transparency, accountability and innovative solutions to the nation’s myriad problems. A line of thought has attained fruition in government corridors that what works for the private sector must be made to work in sarkari matters as well. Of course, changing the working culture of the dyed-in-the-wool babus is not an easy task. But if the government succeeds in implementing the much-needed administrative reforms, the nation may finally begin to think of the tribesmen as “agents of change” rather than as “prisoners of archaic procedures and processes”, as the Prime Minister aptly described them.

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