DECISION MAKING SOPs
Decision making in the government is done for the benefit of and on behalf of the people of this country. All decision making happens through a process and that takes into account all parameters needed to evaluated and then decided in public interest. The country needs to know how it happens in each of the areas and exact nature and system which is prevalent. Democratic decision-making process needs to have two main elements – transparency in the merits of the decision taken and complete openness in the names and designations of persons who have been a part of the decision-making process.
The share of each one’s responsibility in the decision-making process needs to be detailed for public consumption. When the decision making Standard Operating Procedure, SOP, is in place and adhered to, what is the issue in making it public. The moral of the story after the decision is done, the quantum of information regarding that decision, should be the same, inside and outside the government. That is the only way there can be faith in the system. Making it opaque also leads to any number of aberrations of very serious nature. Slowly that becomes the norm. This is called power in normal parlance.
While there would have an inherent utility is the colonial days, somebody signing on behalf of somebody is antithetical to democratic existence. But for couple of functionaries who are too tied up with the job, authorized signatory system need not need be adhered. The name affixed to an order, adds both credibility and accountability to the order, both. This also wards off the danger of the lack of ownership of the order. It is not only important that decision is taken through the right process, it should also seem to have been done in that manner and there is not better way than the one suggested. Having the capability to manage the backlash of a decision should be inbuilt into the decision enforcement.
Hiding the flaws of the decision-making process has been the favourite pastime of the governments. Going to any length to achieve the same, governments have risked everything. Affidavits has been used as an weapon to achieve the same. It generates more doubts than it sorts out. Governments refusing to divulge information to the courts, is not a very welcome trend. People have not in any way been able to get information to the facts that matter to them through any source inclusive of the RTI. The sealed covers have added another veil of secrecy to the decision-making process. While everyone wants to decide, they don’t want to divulge and certainly not to an extent, where they can be held accountable.
POWER WITHOUT ACCOUNTABILITY IS AT IT’S NADIR IN OUR DEMOCRACY.