DailyPost 2758

Though missing to extremely conspicuous levels, yet it never felt nor talked about. Maybe we have been numbed to it and are forced to believe that there is no art or science of governance and anyone in the government, bureaucrat or politician, can deliver what he has been legally mandated to deliver. It could have been decades back but with the complexities of modern governance taking astronomical proportions, the art and science, had to evolve. That did not happen. The codification of law and corresponding rules, SOPs with mostly run of the mill generalists manning the operations, was not enough for this art first to be created and then become operational.

The political class out of which the political executive is derived is convinced that there is no need of having any education, skills, or expertise of governance, or of any part of it. They also feel that there is no need of even general quality education, and all the wherewithal that is required to do any job, big or small in the modern-day world. This seems to be the very reason why the nature of political class has not changed on this count in the last few decades. It is also precisely for this reason bureaucracy has barely changed in content and value in the last so many decades but for the trappings of it.

The art of governance can broadly be translated into the practice of governance. We have possibly never felt the practice of governance in our lives, but for a few government services / utilities; good, bad or ugly. The practice of governance needed to have the adapted management theory and practice tested for years in administration and technology enablement at every level in a seamless manner for providing failsafe delivery, documentation and iterative evolution. This together with core values, and practice of what we call as public administration, and it getting mapped to the nature of qualifications, skills and expertise of the human resources involved in it, its capability building and its progression over thirty / thirty-five years of career would have delivered the first cut of the art and science of governance.

The academic bulwark of governance is missing. Anybody can try anything with the system that has been mandated to deliver everything to the nation. Tweaking happens on whims and fancies. This academic bulwark neatly created and structured and improved upon by practice could have delivered all the by-laws, subsidiary rules, enforcement mechanism etc; all that is required to make a law robust in operation and follow it up for operational improvement in a consistent and a qualitative manner. Currently, all the operational learnings are going to waste from an institutional point of view. Individual officers make the best out of it for their gain. Creating a robust governance system with inbuilt learning and improvement, leave aside true checks and balances in no one’s business.

Sanjay Sahay

Have a nice evening.

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