Managing bureaucracy the Narendra Modi way

We are seeing the seeding of a remarkable shift and modification of some archaic structures and mechanisms in the country. These were clearly archaic, reflective of the Raj and exploitative to the extent that they enslaved the country’s population. The masters of this were none other than the bureaucracy, which had become the epitome of morally corrupt across the world.

What we are seeing is a re-look at the governance structures and rightfully so. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has driven home the point quite clearly. The core belief on which the prime minister is acting is that the central government’s work culture is archaic and we need to remove the layers that have been created in decision-making. The layers were a way of the bureaucracy to not function in a transparent manner and create procedures to cover its tracks.

For me, the bureaucracy has been a system that constricted the minds of the people, had a free run, was clearly arrogant, did not want to learn, use its powers to settle scores, morally corrupt and reflected a pervert thought that would give them control over the masses. They were a class of people who had a free run, wrecking the lives of the people. The less said about the great bureaucracy the better it is as it ended up becoming the masters of non-performance who had colluded to form a cartel of the unfriendly.

I couldn’t have agreed more with Mohan Guruswamy, who was recently quoted as saying: “I hope he cracks down on the receiving of gifts at Diwali and other festivals. They all have Mont Blanc pens, suit fabric, cases of Glenfiddich whisky and golf clubs. We have a bureaucracy which is undisciplined, corrupt and venal to its core. It’s about time it was shaken up.”

What matters today is that the country is seeing a point in time in history wherein the sowing of the seeds for dismantling this gargantuan structure has probably started. People across the world have stood up and taken notice of this change.

The prime minister has set a process in motion that is clearly about managing the brute power and unprincipled behavior of the neighborhood unfriendly man – the bureaucrat. Some of the significant steps taken are:

* Make rules people friendly

* Gag on the bureaucracy

*Reduce procedural red tape

*Changing the way senior bureaucrats are selected

To begin with I could strongly suggest that we need to get rid of jokers in the system to build trust in bureaucracy. The trust in bureaucracy is important as they are the people who reflect the will of the government and they are eventual custodians of the governance mechanism. What matters today is an additional step to get rid of such people (clear weeding out) from service and do away with the constitutional privileges they enjoy. This could be the most important step in building up confidence in the bureaucracy, restoring faith in its functioning and building a people-oriented system.