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People in Administration

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The quality of people in the public sphere is very low. They are from an archiac system which lay emphasis on defensive administration instead of providing leadership in taking the city and country forward. These people are not going away they are only shunted around the govt agencies. The visionaries in administration are very few.

 Here is an example of how a sunrise sector like renewable energy can be stymied by lack of visionaries to move us ahead. 

“The industry feels that KREDL needs to be driven by an officer with great vision and with a mission to ensure that the target of the state government, of reaching 6,600 MW of renewable energy from the current 2,400 MW, is met,” 

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psaram42's picture

How to go about improving

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 “The industry feels that KREDL needs to be driven by an officer with great vision and with a mission to ensure that the target of the state government, of reaching 6,600 MW of renewable energy from the current 2,400 MW, is met,” said Reddy. This is referring to Wind Power which is a renewable resource. 

While people indulge in Complaining vehemently due to frustration, though justifiable, has no positive contribution by itself. How to improve the prevailing situation is a million dollar question. We can only start with ourselves probably.

silkboard's picture

valid complaint, but blanket analysis

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I see which way you wanted to point to with this line:

"... archiac system which lays emphasis on defensive administration instead of providing leadership ... "

All this system talk is fine. We heard from Manivannan about this directly that day - governments, by definition, are meant to "defend" and "protect" public assets and funds. He explained it better than I can, but the point was that the system, processes etc are setup to prevent misuse and mis-administration. The incentive to be pro-active isn't there (and its by design!?), except when people directly demand it.

Most of the vision and thinking ability that administrative talent pool has is probably getting spent towards making sure that NREGS or JNNURM or some other project funds are not getting mis-used.

Anyway. This line will turn into deeper talk, which can only be fact based and real if someone from government were to particpate in it. You and me will only end up providing a consumer's view. So let me pause.

But, the other way of looking at it is purely from quality of talent in government sector. If Bangalore local bodies can offer us a job that pays enough to take care of our EMIs and reasonably middle class lifestyle, would we be game to switch from our private sector jobs?

Ability to attract talent is the bigger problem, and more important thing to fix perhaps. Why can't there be more instances of PM pulling in Nandan for a well defined job? I mean at local levels. Why do we all have to hang around on the periphery wearing the shawls of NGOs or Prajas or Lobby groups?

Not sure if this would be easy - create jobs under or along with babus for experts, and hire like private sector does - talent driven with at-market salaries.

I am sure it wont be easy

  • Deciding who is the best hire is a discretionary thing. Discretionary and government - this combinatio is a disaster, either corruption, or endless questioning and defending.
  • Govt needs to be thin. short term help with skills is different from constant needs. short term help is perhaps best done via outsourcing.

Looks like I am going nowhere with this, or perhaps towards a case for structured outsourcing for specific skills. So time to pause.

idontspam's picture

Fallacies in the argument

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the point was that the system, processes etc are setup to prevent misuse and mis-administration. 

At the basic level there is a serious lack of efficiency in execution which goes against the same argument. I dont see how spending money to clear a drain and dumping the debris by the side for it to fall back in again is preventing misuse of public money? I dont see how laying asphalt end to end without pavements etc is preventing misuse of public money? I dont see how while building public structures causing more damage to the roads by not clearing debris is preventing misuse of public money?

Lack of knowledge and best practices cannot be covered up by that argument. 80% of improvements are not earthshattering new ideas, it is just doing the what is being done, in a better way.

At another level that argument shows why problems will never be solved. There has to be an organization perhaps apart from the maintenance guys (aka BBMP) who can think proactively and act on the future (aka BDA/BMLTA et al) if it is not govt with the same culture then who can it be?

Govt needs to be thin. short term help with skills is different from constant needs. short term help is perhaps best done via outsourcing.

This is the best way to go, we need to ensure the thin layer in the govt is made of people who have strong willingness to accept opinions and drive things forward. More important is the ability to sift through tons of already existing useless ideas and implementing new ones. I do believe these organizations now realize the need to reach out and get ideas. But then again if the same culture is going to permeate across all organizations there will be nobody to get any work done for the future.

Rithesh's picture

Administrative services - time for reforms

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"They are from an archiac system which lay emphasis on defensive administration instead of providing leadership in taking the city and country forward."

Cant agree with you more. Manivanan's talk the other day best summarized the state of affairs - a system which more often than not punishes people who attempt to change and rewards people who maintain status quo.

Where is the incentive for a babu to think and implement innovative ideas?

I think part of the problem or rather the whole problem lies in the way the administrative service is modeled. Be it the entrance exam (which emphasis mostly on how hard you can mug up things), promotion mechanism (where experience is the only criterion) or job security of such posts. There hasnt been on instance in our post independence history where an IAS office has been dismissed for not doing his job (it is not that they are all super efficient - all you need to is look at our heath secretary's videos on youtube). Transfer are the only tool of punishment, which is often used to punish the wrong babus. You hardly need any creativity to rise up the ranks or rather lack of creativity ensures you are better rewarded.

Forgive my cynical and rhetorical tone, but someone needs to seriously think of administrative reforms. At least politicians face the people once in 5 years.
idontspam's picture

What solution for clearing files?

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 While people indulge in Complaining vehemently due to frustration, though justifiable, has no positive contribution by itself

In this particular situation going by the details in the report the solution has been stated clearly. If plans are on the table and is not being approved because of a lack of sense of achievement then it is important to have leadership in such sectors to be capable & driven individuals. What other solution do you have for clearing files faster? 

We have to remember that we do not know what the questions being asked are and if they were legitimate, but typically a question based run around by the govt means time to tell them chai piyo kaam karo. Nevertheless there was a concept called single window clearance which were used to clear large industrial projects that we should roll out across departments. India still remains one of the hardest places to do business and considering we are growing at a fair clip and we have a fairly long way to go it is important that the major cogs in the wheel are oiled up appropriately.

nl.srinivas's picture

Not entirely true though

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There are a very few rare instances where babus have been rewarded for good job.  See http://www.indiatogether.... for example.

It is the corruption( sorry if this sounds so cliched) at all levels that's the root cause. When I asked a PWD engineer whom I know why village roads are in such bad condition, whether it's the lack of money or skill,  the simple answer he gave was, for each project enough money is allocated to build a world class road and there is no derth of skill or knowledge. But only 20% or less of the money is put to real use and rest is shared from contractor to the minister.

 


idontspam's picture

Dearth of knowledge

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 there is no derth of skill or knowledge.

Of course corruption but, on the face of it there is dearth of knowledge too, what else would explain the shoddy state of affairs?

This weekends example, What can explain the fact that the PWD/BBMP forgot to connect the skywalk to the first floor of the TTMC? I bet it is because traditionally skywalks connected sidewalks and he didnt think it was possible to do somethign like this. This is lack of knowledge and nothing to do with money.

Another example, What can explain the fact that there was money to lay road and paint markings on them but ended up with no turn lane and markings of uneven widths and snaking shoulders?

Yet another example, What can explain the fact that PWD/BBMP can build roads but forgot to lay sidewalks with proper widths? 

One more example, What can explain the fact that PWD/BBMP knows how to build new structures but dont know how to clean up dirt and debris left over during and after construction?

Is it lack of knowledge or callousness?

murali772's picture

regulator not helpful?

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I wonder if a reference has been made in this specific case to the regulator - KERC.

Muralidhar Rao

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