IS STEEL FRAME IN THE VANISHING MODE?
Or has it ceased to exist is the question. The steel frame with no steel, but of steely professionalism, expertise, grit and determination and perseverance to deliver as was legally mandated. What was delivered was of the best possible quality in the world, and kept attracting the best talent ready to work in a country distant by months of sea travel. It became a great institution in itself competent enough to build a nation and run a nation with elan. The human resources were multifaceted, could have done many things in life but decided to get into this prestigious organization.
The exam to get into the steel frame was difficult in the world then and even today happens to be the most difficult in the country. They are permanent; a career of immense perks, privileges, and equally demanding responsibility and accountability. Delivery and successful delivery in most unforeseen and on untrodden path were their destiny. And they happily kept on delivering. The bosses they got changed every five years or so but they were completely dependent on them for expertise, guidance and execution. They could very happily differ from their bosses for justifiable reasons and this was the well accepted norm in the interest of governance and nation building.
They were the men and women of steel who created the steel frame. The steel frame we are talking about is the Indian Civil Services, which we fondly call bureaucracy. What have done with it the last 75 years? Does any of description narrated above match with their current status? Might be the toughness of the exams remains still very high. We rarely hear of the steel frame which primarily means either it ceases to exist, or is on its way out, to an extent that it does not deserve any mention. Even to compare with the past is nor warranted seems to be the situation we have landed in.
Bureaucratic independent mind, legal stance, and methodical execution and planning beyond time and space are things which are more conspicuous by their absence. The ability to put pressure for the right thing to happen based on the strength of expertise and grit seems to have lost in this melee. Soft skills are the hardest of skills have been proven over and over again. The degrees and accomplishments have remained of high quality. The exposure and tools of governance have improved beyond recognition; management process, technology and above all mind boggling communication. What is lost is the complete branding having failed on the legally mandated spine. Today, it is general impression of what the bureaucracy is supposed to do; good, bad or ugly, is someone else’s diktat. Only the political masters call the shots and they have to be at their subservient best. Politicians have become the fate and destiny of bureaucracy. Even investigations are supposed to be dictated. Has the bureaucracy been caught in a bind?
DEGREES, FUNDS AND TECHNOLOGY INDEPENDENTLY CAN DELIVER ONLY A LITTLE. THE MAGIC SAUCE IS MISSING.
Have a nice evening.