DailyPost 1818

The battle of Indian bureaucracy has been in this direction for decades together. Democratic governance has a clear-cut goal; maximum good for the maximum people. It also states that the real delivery of justice happens with the executive delivering the services, benefits, utilities, support and direction for whom it is meant. The budget is positioned in that direction and delivery happens with precision through the best delivery machine, democracy has devised; the checks and balances and political executive and the permanent bureaucracy combination. Suffice to say, that it is for the democratic and societal purpose for which bureaucracy exists. Are we fixated with the purpose or we lost it pretty early in our democracy?
Does the purpose of bureaucracy remain unsung in its journey since independence or has it lost its sheen now? Does the purpose of the executive grilled in the minds of the impressionable age children in schools or the young adults in colleges. How do the aspirants to Indian bureaucracy for entry at different levels view bureaucracy, is critical? How do you view bureaucratic success? Have you ever heard of any bureaucrat proudly claiming that he has served the democratic purpose all throughout his career? What has happened in the last so many years or decades is that the posts have become primordial to the existence of a bureaucrat and that is the only way he is defined in service and even beyond that.
The equivalence of posts of different levels is a fact which the Indian bureaucracy is not ready to accept. The non-equivalence of posts of the same level has been decided in practice and that is the de facto order of precedence, rest is only for the books. There are any number of factors for the de facto order of precedence, that it exists is important and not the causes of it for the current discourse. Purpose was neither there at entry nor was it ever created in any number of training institutions meant for the purpose. Granting expertise and professionalism to be given, even then will the gigantic machine remain robust and relentlessly deliver without a purpose. It’s only that intangible spirit that can tie the country together, in heart, mind and then action.
How much of time, energy, focus, effort of all types and also supplication to Gods would be happening all throughout the careers managing the posts without hitting the goal post? You have so save yourself from the goalpost every second / third year when you are transferred, promotion happens and location change comes into play. It becomes a tough merry go round with large numbers being a part of it. The control of the game is generally not with the bureaucracy but in the hands of the political executive. In the labyrinthine administrative  decision making process, theoretically would look like a nightmare, but the masters of the game have perfected it. If you miss out you feel sidelined, or work harder to get back in the game. Hanging on beyond 60 is another game, the extension game and so are the post retirement employments.
Sanjay Sahay

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