Monday, April 15, 2024

Reform administration

We know that British rule in India established a strong but unkind system of administration and governance. Their system of governance was unique in many ways based on the principle of divide and rule and hidden agenda of ruthlessness. Every British institution and instrument of governance was devised to pursue sole agenda of exploitation on all fronts. At occasions they brought in some administrative reforms in a bid to give a facelift to their ruthless governance to calm a few liberal voices back home. These efforts of restructuring were ultimately cunningly concluded into more murkiness for subjugated Indians. Sadly today we have inherited a good deal of the legacies and infrastructure from the British and their princely cronies along with inflicted scars of cruelty and exploitation. Adopting a new constitution based on fundamentals of democracy and other egalitarian reforms paved way for a compassionate and humane system of governance. Administrative reforms, change in organization and face of governance are gradual processes and cannot be achieved overnight, but even after a great deal of untiring efforts of perfection, positive changes of compassion and benevolence are evading our system of governance and administration. On ground, administrative organizations and system in the country, particularly in our state, seem to be incapable of adapting the democratic and people’s friendly change in a big way. Today our own people behave like ‘sahibs’ immediately after becoming part of the administration and donning hats of authority. In this contemporary era of equality, self-respect and honour reference to British ‘sahib’ by addressing officers as ‘sahab’ can be heard in almost every establishment and segment of administration. Majority of officers and managers find it alluring to be called ‘sahibs’ and at occasions subordinates and common people are coerced into such acts of abject submission. Almost everywhere managers of our government who are otherwise paid from people’s money and are supposed to serve within the set rules and norms behave like regents. In rural areas, particularly in the remote areas of the state, situation is much worse. In this modern age people in such areas are scared of high ranking government officers. Democracy and constitution empowers every citizen irrespective of cast, colour and creed to get not only justice but better service as well from the administration, but on ground it is not. Decades after empowerment only selected few, elite, politically well connected and influential people got benefited in most respectable manner, rest are either ridiculed or have to go through a painstaking grind of delay and manipulative rules. A simple visit to any office of authority or officer will take one back to the British era of pomp and show depicting an atmosphere of overbearing and repression. Pretentiously attired people with affluence and power at their command are welcomed over and above the heads of many hapless people waiting outside the government offices for hours. Poor and powerless are made to go through a routine of delay and deceit. Another menace of recommendation (sifarish) has further eroded the creditability of administration and its officers. For a little administrative facility, recommendation of people with authority and influence has become mandatory. This nasty sequence of recommendations has created a vicious circle of benefactors, thus eliminating the miserable class from the process of social and administrative justice as enshrined in the constitution. With indistinct influence, political clout and intruded authority affluent and mighty dominate and change the course of justice in their favor leaving the underprivileged in lurch. Facilities meant for public are either misused or bartered against recommendations and favors. Misuse of official authority, machinery and facilities is a routine; government facilities are abused brazenly and with impunity. Government vehicles and other amenities, otherwise meant for public convenience are very often put to personal use and to please masters. While experiencing and facing hostile behavior and attitude of unprincipled elements within the administration for decades, we cannot generalize the situation of organizational decline within our administration. Presence of a substantial number of honest, dedicated, caring and kind officers of repute cannot be denied. Hypocrisy and corruption are the chief factors of the bewildering situation in administration, while nepotism and sycophancy are instrumental in creating a class of exploiters in administrative structure of our state. Present leadership holding clear mandate to provide transparent, accountable and considerate administration should put in its extra efforts to mitigate people’s sufferings at the hands of such insensitive elements of the administration.