Administrative inertia


Inertia of sorts has overtaken the bureaucracy and is adversely affecting the functionality and output. Reportedly even the Chief Minister is feeling that the administration is not reaching the people of the State at their doorstep and he is likely to take some measures against senior bureaucrats who fail to carry forward his instructions. As per his speeches in different programmes since he took over the top chair, the Chief Minister had been stressing on good governance and the need for top officials to go on regular field visits to see for them the progress in various developmental projects underway and also to know the problems of the people by interacting with them. The chief minister himself has a regular schedule of visiting far flung areas and taking stock of things. Unfortunately it appears the bureaucrats are refusing to come out of inertia and throw the instructions of the chief minister to winds. The irony is that the administrative secretaries, who seldom move out of the secretariat take the reports of the heads of departments for granted knowing that even the heads of departments do not undertake field visits. This all is paper work and no field study. The bureaucrats are under the impression that their job ends at putting notes on the files and that they are not concerned with the status of developmental projects, their impact on people, their shortcomings and the lessons that have to be drawn from past experience. There is no two opinion in stating that inertia and sloth have overtaken our administrative structure and carelessness and irresponsibility have become rampant culture. This failing can be arrested by setting things right from the top and not the bottom. The top bureaucrats have to lay foundation for work culture in real sense of the term. They need to give account of their contribution towards the development of the State and its people. It is very much possible that many shortcomings that sometimes are too serious as to derail an important project could be arrested and rectified without causing unbearable damage to the State. Maybe some of our sitting bureaucrats may feel embarrassed if we say that that our bureaucracy has to identify itself with the masses of people whom the constitution has empowered to install or remove a regime. We should not forget that during the British Raj the bureaucrats who were mostly of British origin had made it a point to undertake as many visits to the field and to people in village as was possible. That helped them write very interesting and now very valuable diaries that ultimately became the source of contemporary social, economic and topographical history of our country. Society has placed innumerable facilities at the disposal of bureaucrats. Why do they shun visiting the rural areas and interacting with the people? Why do they like to remain confined in the four walls of their office when they are mandated to perform field visits, listen to the problems of the people, help and guide them and also guide the Government in many crucial issues? The chief minister should take this inexplicable inertia seriously and take some stringent measures. It is really sad that the Chief Minister must be forced to take measures to correct their behaviour, something that should not have warranted by the very status and position that they enjoy. But as the leader of the masses of people it is the prerogative of the Chief Minister to take such steps as he thinks would strengthen good governance.