Change is the only constant thing. But to find out what kind of change is more suitable for particular context and condition is very difficult preposition. It is dynamic and complex process but sometime the pace of change is clearly visible and people adore the change (or new system). The recent trend in recruitment of Political leadership and Bureaucrats is one such visible change. The recent state elections have brought some innovation is process and similar seems to be case with changed pattern of civil services exam. The method of recruitment along with rules of games plays a very important role in creating the incentive structure of any institution. It also have impact on the behaviour of position holders. The final outcome delivered by any institution depends on such incentive and institutional structure.
Many pundits have lauded the emergence of New Political front Aam Admi Party(AAP) in the recently concluded Election of Legislative in City state Delhi(Officially Delhi is still a Union Territory not a state and Subjects like Police and Public Order comes under the Union Government rather than Delhi Government). The reason for fascination of people is that notice something new (whether it is something new or just the old wine in new bottle will be tested in coming times!). The newness and freshness is most of time welcomed , many times without going into the nuances or details of such institutions & without close scrutiny of propositions offered by such players or institution or process, by many people.
On closer examination the Innovation observed in political recruitment process are following:
1. It is clear mandate for the strong leadership which can feel the pulse of grassroots workers and people. The importance to the local leadership (Effective delegation and Decentralization) rather than focusing on the Central leaders may work more effectively in future.
2. The local leadership is better able to capture the imagination of people. They sense pulses of common man on street much better than people imposed by High Command or Central Leadership.
3. Aspirations of People are rising. The people are not satisfied with the status quo rather they want the more from governments. But increased demand focuses on the quality rather than quantity. They are not just satisfied with manual work (under MNREGA) but they want skilled jobs. They are looking for social mobility which is impossible with manual work. They are also looking for good provision of public amenities like 24 hour electricity.
4.It is mandate for the good governance . The people are demanding effective and good governance. They can’t be fooled by loosely and vaguely designed welfare schemes launched to gain the electoral support during fag end of tenure of government. The voters can no longer be intimated by doling out the money or benefits, people prefer the government which implement the well designed welfare policies. The governments which are able to maintain not only the Rule of Law but also ensure the social security with long term prospective in mind are rewarded.
5. In terms of rule of game the transparent political funding can play a very important roles in combating the menace of corruption . The retail funding of election over the wholesale funding may provide the incentive for talented and capable individuals to enter the arena of politics. Some of view regarding the increasing the transparency in political funding are outlines earlier by me were used by the AAP. It was good step in right direction which can level the rules of game for all.
6. The other visible factor used by AAP in Delhi was offline utilization of online media. The social media can play multiplier role when it is utilized to harness the people’s energy for offline activities. The combination of online and offline method of mobilization of support is going to be potent factor in future election processes. This connect will also bring the different strata of society more closed and provide them better understanding of each other.
The Civil Services Mains Examination (CSM) got concluded on the same day the counting for four states was going on. As election brought new legislatures with new vision, energy and enthusiasm. Similarly, hopefully, the New CSM pattern is expected to bring new set of permanent executives with vision, capability and mindset to implement the new visions of political class. The harmonious relationship is very essentials for any successful implementation of policy. The Indian civil servants are considered the paragon of virtues of handwork and process driven. But if measure the success of bureaucracy in terms of output, the results has been dismal. Especially if we consider the risk taking and innovative ability, ignoring the sporadic and rare successes, there has not been many break-through in Independent India.
Failure of Independent India in providing the dignified lives to the Indians needs to be shared by both the political class and bureaucratic class. Bureaucracy has been mute spectators of everything what is going on, rather than being change makers. They become a vested interest in existing system, first in ‘License Raj’ and later in ‘Inspector Raj’. The method of recruitment may have played a very important role in shaping the attitude of people and selecting the people of that particular attitude. The conservative mindset of bureaucrats can be attributed to the kind of selection process.
It was first Mains after introduction of new pattern and overhauling of previous pattern. The process of change was not a smooth sailing and it involved lot of dialogue, negotiations and give & take between different stakeholders. The tussling and muddling through may have increased the anxiety of of aspirants but it is reflection of reality of diverse society like India. The Some of Changes observed in New Pattern are:
1. It would disrupt the traditional candidates who preferred only a fixed pattern or thing. The changed pattern provides the equal opportunity to the new entrant and old guards. Levelling of field would bring fresh minds.
2. It is transitory phase but lack of predictability and kind of orientation of exam would encourage the people who are inclined to join the services but don’t want to dedicate the full time for preparation. (This would result in better utilization of talented youth in other sector rather than just preparing for a particular exam)
3. Such kind of pattern would bring people with open mind. By de-emphasizing the factual or bookish knowledge it would encourage the people with aptitude for innovation and having a pulse of surrounding.
4. The questions asked were mostly from the current trends. The candidates are expected to have a holistic perspective of surrounding and able to navigate the complex and fast demanding job profile of administrator in contemporary India. The administrator doesn’t have luxury of time and expertise of others to take the day-to-day decision.
The role of Political class and Bureaucracy is complementary in nature. but lack of compatibility or synergy has also been issue since Independence. The difference in social background and outlook of politicians and bureaucracy has been one of issue. The difference in attitude is exacerbated by the different incentive structure of both classes. While the harmonious relationship is prosperous for the people, the lack of trust & compatibility bring the disaster. The continued tenure of various governments (or Pro-incumbency) across the state is seen where bureaucrats are generally offer the freedom in policy implementation. The role of political leadership is not to set the vision and direction and it should be left to experts to design tools and techniques to meet the desired vision.
The effectiveness of such change or impact of such changes on wider society can be judged only as time pass. It’s difficult to predict whether the changes would really bring the benign people who are more empathetic to the public interest. The real challenge for intellectuals or Pundits is to scrutinize the impact these kind of changes make on the wider society rather than just concentrating on the process. As the saying goes,’ Road to hell is paved with good intention’, so its better to focus on analyzing the impact rather than judging the someone by just intentions.