Opinion DC Comment 13 Jul 2016 Pull up the bureaucr ...

Pull up the bureaucracy

DECCAN CHRONICLE.
Published Jul 13, 2016, 12:33 am IST
Updated Jul 13, 2016, 12:33 am IST
The minister spoke of the information the ministry is in charge of gathering and disseminating.
M Venkaiah Naidu (Photo: PTI)
 M Venkaiah Naidu (Photo: PTI)

As the new I&B minister, M. Venkaiah Naidu did well to run an unannounced punctuality check, the findings of which surprised even such a senior member of the Narendra Modi government. Of course, the minister need not be present himself every day as systems like biometric scanners can do the job more efficiently while spitting out information on a real-time basis. As India’s single biggest employer, with about 47 lakh active civil servants to take care of, the Centre has a right to demand minimum performance standards, beginning with punctuality, cleanliness and maintenance of office infrastructure.

Having just granted substantial pay hikes that might see the government leave succeeding generations the onerous task of servicing a huge debt, it has even greater reason to pull up the behemoth that is the Indian bureaucracy. Generous as the raise, which entails additional expense of a trillion rupees annually for the Centre, seemed, there is already talk of government officials striking work for more pay and benefits. The growth of government over the years has only extended its reach and the current dispensation, which famously promised “more governance, less government”, has reason to worry over what its minister found in just one office.

 

The minister spoke of the information the ministry is in charge of gathering and disseminating. There again, the point is whether the bureaucracy is capable of delivering what is useful towards driving welfare schemes and if it can ever present an empathetic face to public concerns when its officials don’t even have the discipline to come to office on time.

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