Will New Politicians and Bureaucrats have better vision of India?


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.

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Independence Day : Reflections on Economy , Politics and Society


I am writing this post after about 2 years of hibernation from writing . As we are approaching another Independence Day I would like to reflect on the current status of Economy, politics and Society.

We Indian used to brag a lot about our economic performance but sky-scrapper with shaky foundations are rarely able to withstand the storms and cyclones. While Amartya Sen may have rightly project Indians as “Argumentative Indians” but he just stopped there. Just the Arguments are not enough to win the game. To use diplomatic parlance, you may win many arguments in room but that doesn’t ensure victory in game. To win the game, you need to have a clear vision , know your strength and shortcoming and use the strategy to achieve your full potentials while exploiting the vulnerability of opponents. To cut short, implementation is key in winning the game. This is where we fail miserably.

Tough some people have rightly identified the implementation gap and are working to bridge the same. “Ib-In” or India Backbone Implementation Network is case in point

On economic management India is classic example of “To kill the Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs“. While India was struggling to climb the stairs of growth the ‘coteries of crony capitalism’ disguised as voteries of inclusive growth killed the Goose in search of a Golden Egg. They advocated re-distribution giving a scant regard to sustainable revenue generation or growth.  While they may advocate that  programmes like MNREGA has doubled/tripled/quadrupled the wages for Rural and Urban Manual laborer for whom only source of subsistence is their wage and this has actually led to inclusive growth. what they ignore is productivity increase of Economy which has actually declined in recent years  indicating loss of competitiveness in Economy. This is hindering the growth of India as a manufacturing hub , which can create large employment opportunities to effectively leverage the Demographic dividend, at a time when MNCs are looking to diversify their manufacturing base as china is becoming costly. To grow at a rate that pulls more people out of poverty, India needs to invest more, create more non-farm jobs or manufacturing jobs . but who cares about growth as long as they are able to grow their personal empire  classic example being crony capitalism witnessed in series of scams from 2G , Mining, Commonwaelth , Sarkari Damaad & list goes on….  A very good technical analysis or procedural details on working of crony capitalism can be found in Sarkari Damaad case aka Rober Vadra land deal case.

This loot of national resources will go unhindered as long as public doesn’t understand or care about their rights and duties and continue to think on basis of their own short term interest /benefits /advantages (by demanding reservation/ subsidy /allowances) rather than keeping public interest(which would includes demanding governance, basic infrastructure, accountability from public officials including politicians and bureaucrats) in mind. As in case of change of presidentship from George W Bush to Barack Obama has demonstrated, behind much of the chest-thumping of politicians, there usually lies a continuity of policy between different administrations.” This is where the vigilant , conscious public & citizenry come into picture. We have every right to know the vision and strategy of our political leaders which includes government as well as opposition. In this hyper-informative digital world we can hardly remain aloof from Public affairs , but consciousnesses of public affairs also bring with its own set of views, prejudices and biases. But we can greatly overcome the shortcoming of these biases and prejudices if we make a conscious efforts to make us aware about them. As rightly & timely inquired by one sympathizer of Mr. Narendra Modi in a column in newspaper, we need to ask tough question from our politicians rather than believing in spin given by their sympathizers . This is kind of vigilance we required to make politician accountable to general public. While many present their views through columns as done by one of MP in today’s paper on foreign policy but nuanced , critical public discourses on issues of relevance are largely missing from Indian Public life.

On the social front we have witnessed huge churning happening in last year which included mobilization on the issues of corruption, anti-rap protest. but we are yet to see any impact of these mobilization on actual social life. while reporting of corruption & rape cases may have gone up temporarily but we are hardly seeing any change of heart in general public or increased morality in public life. We have scant regard of sensibility of others. we are not used to think critically during our socialization process whether it is at home or in school and society.Only a enduring, sustained long term efforts on the parts of public to create awareness accompanied by institutional change can bring a societal transformation.

India is society of confrontation and conflict. There are ideological, political, religious, regional and caste based division present at every moment in every hook and corner of country ample evidence of which we see in form of communal violence(whether it is in J&K, UP or Assam), political blame-game( on transferring of bureaucrats to who is writing the speech ) , Caste rivalries or honour killing which are just another manifestation of existing wide gulf in different castes  in society, Regional movements for creation of new state of Telenagana, Gorkhaland , Bodoland & half a dozen others. This list is unending and ever expanding.

In spite of these division , conflict and confrontation, what had united the people living from Kashmir to Kanyakumari , Silchar to Porbander – this is Idea India and belief of people in this Idea of India. Some discomfort and struggle makes us comfortable & tough, removing every discomfort make the species fragile. e.g. extreme hygiene , by destroying the body’s natural ability to fight with germs and adapt to environment , we become vulnerable. we counter it by ingesting probiotics , the good ‘dirt’ that we denied the body in first place. Similarly we can’t just wished away from reality and live in a Utopian world but we can achieve a true Independence for India only if  the “common problems of India” could become “common concern for all”. This will create shared sense of understanding and give all of us a stake in progress of nation . only then we can prosper, develop and realize the true independence, independence from our ignorance, our hatredness towards other, independence from our parochial thinking , independence from dogmas, independence from bad habits and above all independence of mind.

Jai Hind Jai Bharat.

Independence Day – Time for Introspect


Today we will be celebrating 65th Independence Day. Most of us will be greeting each other with message of “Happy Independence day “ but actually many are not happy with present situation of country. Governance is in state of disarray, no measure development work is being undertaken and above all Inflation has made life measurable for million of common man (Aam Aadmi).

The increased awakening about prevalent corruption in political and administrative system has created a feeling of self- guilty among many elites and middle class. Magnitude of loot by politicians and their cronies has increased many folded in recent past or may be earlier general public was not being able to track such huge loots.

Inflation, corruption, black money, poor Governance has made life a miserable affair for both Aam Aadmi and Khas Aadmi. Aam Admi has been at receiving end in form of inflation & poor governance. The growing frustration with government and administration was channelized in form of protest, Candle Marches & heated TV Debates. The public support for Anna Hazare & Baba Ramdev is case in point. The successful mobilization of public anger & judicial activism has been able to make troubles for Khas Aadmi. This has created a state of panic among cronies (or Khas Aadmi). First times in independent India, the khas aadmi, were competing with each other for a birth in EXECUTIVE SUITE of TIHAR ASHARAM. Others also started to realize that their turn may be next. Suddenly the TIHAR ASHARAM becomes the hot destination for the Business honchos & political mavericks. The public anger and judicial activism was being able to put VIP (Khas Aadmi) behind the bars for time being. But it seems all is not well with this approach. It has been creating anarchy like situation than a ideal democratic state. People are being made scapegoats & real beneficiaries are still outside the Net. This all is just a stop gap arrangement rather than systematic reforms to address the root reasons for corruption.

All said , what can we do to improve this situation ? what can be our role in Nation Building ?

We, Citizens of country, irrespective of caste, creed, religion and region needs to adopt following things in habit in order to make India a better place to live:

1. Recognize responsibility as citizens before demanding any rights

2. Criticize but don’t blame – Be a constructive critic – propose the solution

3. Be vocal – express opinions freely without considering the political correctness

4. We have to be proactive not reactive if we want a prosperous nation in next 10 years

5. Be empathetic not sympathetic with underprivileged

6. Society is made up of individuals so don’t just blame others for wrong things happening in society. Accept the fact that we are part and parcel of problem.

7. Need to re-look and introspect “Chalta hai attitude”

8. Give preference to merit over connection/acquaints

9. Rational before emotion in decision making (day to day or political decision or Business decisions)

10. Be part of process of change

We as a nation need to introduce the following systematic reforms with urgency to ensure a prosperous future for our next generation:

1. Transparency in government decision making

– What is need of RTI if process itself is transparent?

– What is need of Ombudsman (or Lokpal) if big contracts are made in transparent manner and arbitrary discretion power to Ministers or Senior Officials are removed

Technology can be a leading factor in bringing transparency in government system.

2. Education reform – not just passing Right to Education bill – Need for Quality

Education is backbone of any society. We need quality education with universal access. Education creates the opportunity. it is the greatest equaliser for income disparity.

3. Focus on Basics

– More people have died in Rail Accidents than the terror strikes in current year. Yes we may not be able to stop all terror attack but can we stop every single rail accident?

4. Revival of Agriculture:

The One very important and crucial segment of our populations is Kisans. They provide the food to eat. Both these segments have been ignored by the leaders of country and the representative class. Farmer’s constituent more than 50 % of our population. We set the target of Agriculture growth to be 4 % while the overall growth target is in double digit. This way we are systematically creating a gap between Rich & Poor. This could be in future utilised by same political class for electoral gains as seen in case of Garibi Hatao & Inclusive growth slogans. Only few states like Gujrat have been able to put agricultural growth on par with overall growth rate. No fresh investment has been made in the agriculture sector. Even the irrigation projects are also put aside. There is an urgent need for second Green Revolution or “EVERGREEN” Revolution with increased focus on productivity with no harm to ecology.

5. Address the leadership vacuum

Leaders are called leaders because they are supposed to provide much needed direction and leadership to masses. “If leaders fail to lead, their followers will take over the leadership and lead instead.” It seems to perfectly suits in current situation of India. Political class has failed to provide the needed leadership to carry the country forward. There is need for youth who can provide the much needed leadership in this process of development. The emergence of a vocal and assertive voice against the political elite (dynasty) is essential for healthy democracy.

We need to avoid falling in trap of fake leaders. There is need for independent thinking for every individual before accepting anyone as our leader. We, the youth of Country, have stake in future and needs to take active involvement in day to day happening and take leadership roles otherwise usual cronies will continue to rule the country.

We always focus on problems without proposing any solution. I have tried to propose one solution for ending or reducing the corruption in public life.

Problem

– The main source of Corruption is political

– Politics have become a family business (irrespective of party line except a few)

– Big Mullah are spend on election – No retail contribution here only wholesale ( So you don’t have any right to ask for detailed funding and cost of political party as you rarely contribute )

Solution – Individual contribution from able citizens and Supporters

Why this will bring down corruption

1. Stakeholders will demand more transparency as their money is involved

2. Politicians will no longer be able to give silly arguments like money is needed to fight the next election

3. Capable, Honest candidates (without financial capability) will also be able to come to parliament

4. As a stakeholder we can ensure that our interest are protected – Concerned issues are raised by our party (No rant of serving only corporate India)

5. Last but not the least sense of participation will awaken the ordinary men making him more honest in day to day conduct.

All is not well with our country but this everything is also not bad. Growing anger and different voices are sign of change and its upon our hand to decide the future. Whether we are happy with status-quo or we want a better India- Its upon us to decide and make that happen.

We need to realize our potential and there is a big opportunity to make this nation a ideal place to live.

Jai Hind Jai Bharat!!!

Making the meaning of Independence


What does Independence mean for us ? What is importance of Independence day for a common man ?

Are we really Independent ?

Jawaharlal-Nehru

Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru looks down on the crowd during India’s Independence Day celebrations at Red Fort, New Delhi, India, Aug. 15, 1947

Today is 64th Independence Day of India. British left India on 15th August, 1947 after the centuries of colonial raj and looting of natural resource and India became a sovereign nation.

So what had changed after the independence? What does Independence mean for us? Does this mean 1.Economic Independence 2.Social Independence or 3.Cultural Independence? What is importance of Independence Day for a common man? Are we really independent (as a nation and as an individual)?

Yes, we can beckon of emerging global power of world but what about the plight of 40 % population which is living below the poverty line and lacking the access to basic amenities? Well, such an occasion helps in sustaining the general euphoria of “Mera Bharat Mahan” among the public. It’s good to have  a sense of proud in one’s own country but this shouldn’t be a momentous phenomenon. Are we really proud of present status of country? (Crippling with tonnes of problems like widespread poverty, terrorism, internal security, corruption, inefficient governance, price rise and lack of efficient and affordable education and health care etc). Some may argue that “Cribbing about the inadequacies and shortcomings is never the solution. It’s up to you to make the best out of this situation.” This confirm to saying of Gandhiji “Be the change you want to see in world” .Don’t like it change it!

I agree to them to a certain extent. We (the common citizens) are responsible for present status of country (Good or Bad or whatever). We need to take responsibility for everything that happened around us and can’t remain a silent spectator for changes taking place in and around the society. There is no shame in accepting that our country in not the best in many areas (like Governance, security, infrastructure, and education, healthcare) but as the same time we should also rejoice our achievements. Acknowledgment of failure and strategies to improve on failed (or weak) frontiers are need of hour. There is always a scope for innovation and improvement.

It would be wrong to undermine the progress made by India in last 63 years after the independence but there is need to raise the concern about the way of development and unfold the truth about the real beneficiary of development. We need to ensure the accountability at each and every level and it shouldn’t stop at the “lofty promises of inclusive development”

I have tried to present my own perspective on few areas which would be crucial in shaping the future trajectory of India.

1. Education

Education is foundation stone of any nation. There has been an increase in the spread and reach of education in various hinterlands of India but we had failed to provide quality education to a larger section of people. This had undermined the growth potential and marginalised some section of society from mainstream growth story. Continue reading

Election results postpartum


A Great Election period is over and now the market of some MLA  is picking a new height particularly in the Haryana.There were not many surprises except the Haryana where the INDL had buried all the pre-poll estimation and exit-poll results.

Well,this was a first major election after the Loksabha election and many people took interest in it.Some of Enthusiastic people volunteered and tried their best to educate the people about the importance of their vote.This helped some young minds to get their electoral Id first time and some also exercised their option.Some loudly announced after the results "why No-Vote were not taken into consideration".

Well,this will continue to happen in every election and stories will keep repeating with some twists.

Here are few my observation from this election

  1. Dynastic Politics is OK-After the victory of many political successor of their family people (Specially media and elite class) started to believe that Dynastic politics is here to stay(in India) .People with desirable credential without political backing of family have very little Chance of survival in this political battle.
  2. The Haryana poll has shown that Caste based politics is here to stay and Media has very less sense of people’s thinking in the Rural and Non-metro areas.Omprakash Chautal’s Journey could be  described as "Rise from ashes like a Phoenix".Where the Exit poll results gone?This can be related to some extent to the influence of Media over the decision-making power of public !Media play an important part in opinion making