DailyPost 2053

Imbroglio is an intricate and perplexing state of affairs, and so it really is and that too when it is the affairs of the state and impacting every one of us, fate of governance and the destiny of the nation. The issue is more complex than we have been imagining, for a long long time, not what they can deliver, the issue is if they can understand. How can you deliver when you cannot understand? Before you can even quantify as to what is the nature of effort needed to understand, you are out. But the reality check will make abundantly clear that nobody wants to understand anything. With the complexities of governance increasing the simplistic paradigm of a few skills, that too outmoded of writing notes, understanding processes, creating budgets, being proficient with approval mechanisms etc are not taking us places.

If you are able to rattle a few facts and figures, update at the meeting, sign memorandums of understanding, be a part of delegations, be fully networked within bureaucracy and with the political bosses, then the job seems to be moving in the right direction. Procurement is a very tricky process even after you become an expert in those items and also on the subject. If with this expertise of decades, you put your heart and mind, you might be able to finalize a request for proposal, RFP. You might need any number of outside professionals’ help and support. From a fighter jet to an irrigation project to a sundry CCTV project creation,* procurement and in project execution, we have seen non-subject generalists struggling, landing into unwarranted situations, to the embarrassment of all. Where do you find the technical project execution capabilities in the non-subject generalists?

The lack of this domain expertise and practice capabilities have put the whole system into disarray. The consultants who come to sort it out, as experts in those areas, are professional document creators. They don’t take any responsibility for where the documents will take you, it is your fate. It might land you into a legal or a financial conundrum, nobody knows. To top it all they are hired to monitor the project too, with even the governance skill missing. All are working for the panacea of the masses called governance. Who will call the shots and how? How to escape accountability is the name of the game. How can procurement and project execution happen in this scenario? What then is the fate of developmental blueprints? Undoubtedly, they have also been created in a similar manner.

With this being the normal conduct of the non-subject generalists, what are heading to, in the age of rampant technology, in an age of digital immersion. Yuval Noah Harari, the leading digital thinker of the world said that the governments would be left with drainage, sewerage type of activities, rest would slowly be taken over by the IT Behemoths. We are seeing it happening all around. Even framing of Intermediary Guidelines 2021 has been an uphill task, leave aside any implementation. The fundamental right of privacy hangs in a balance with the data protection bills missing out enactment session after session. Non-subject matter experts are open to much more pulls and pressures, not knowing the technical complexities and having full faith in the old government dictum, everything is manageable. How do non-subject generalists guide the chip fab, meet supply chain challenges, ready us for industrial revolution 4.0 & industry 4.0, utilize the magic of the blockchain, navigate us through Web3 and usher us into the next universe; the Metaverse, is the biggest question facing the nation.

Sanjay Sahay

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