Discuss the steps taken by current NDA Government to reorient the work culture of bureaucrats and ministers. To what extent, the steps taken so far have been able to change the complexion of relationship between bureaucracy, political executive and citizens of the country? Critically analyse.
Published: April 11, 2018
Sardar Patel had called the civil service as iron frame of India. But it is said that in 21st century the iron frame is rusted. And there were frequent calls to reorient the work culture of the bureaucrats and executives.
The various steps undertaken by the current NDA government to reorient the work culture of bureaucrats and ministers include
Replacing Planning commission with Niti Ayog
The planning commission role had adversely affected the working of constitutional bodies like finance commission and ministry of finance. The Niti Ayog being an Independent think tank is aiding the ministries and bureaucracy with expert advices to make the administration better. It has also become a pillar of cooperative federalism by effectively engaging with states to give a new approach to the working of ministries and bureaucrats by acting as bridge between the units of federation. Thus giving a boost to cooperative federalism.
But often criticisms are levelled against Niti Ayog that it has become mouthpiece of government rather than dealing with the things with objectivity. No much breakthrough in the approach towards administration since its inception. Niti Ayog is still at an infant stage. It would be unwise to pass judgements about its efficacy at this stage.
Digital India has components like e-Kranti, e-governance to enhance the quality of service and decision making. This has aided in reducing discretions and increasing objectivity in governance.
The slow pace of BharatNet has again resulted in rural urban divide in the efficient delivery of services. Lack of digital literacy coupled wi th poor penetration of internet and relatively high cost of data when seen in terms of price parity has resulted in disparities across sectors.
Pro-active governance and timely implementation an e-governance initiative driven by PMO to monitor the progress of various projects has aided in addressing various issues of status quo. The active intervention by Prime Minister’s office and PM himself has brought a new vigour on part of bureaucrats and ministers for effective implementation of the work.
The bypassing of state political executive and direct intervention has caused a dissent in the state executive. But the active involvement of PM himself has aided in rapid implementations and addressing status quos.
Social media engagement
All the ministers and ministries are active in social media. Rail mitra seva by railways, Minister of external affairs addressing various concerns of overseas Indians and engaging with officers directly in Twitter has brought a new synergy in governance.
Increased visibility has also resulted in enhanced responsiveness and inclusiveness of governance.
360 deg feedback system
In order to address various issues of bureaucratic efficiency, productivity, accountability and performance appraisal a new 360 deg feedback system was introduced by the NDA government. Earlier system was based on what the boss thought about subordinates, now even the subordinates are asked to provide feedback about their superiors. This has resulted in drive towards behavioural changes and better assessment of each officer.
The parliamentary standing committee has brought out various lacunas in the project and has asked government for addressing the issues of various discretionary mechanisms. The discretions can erode the trustworthiness of the system.
Lack of effective channels of communication between the executive and the people has resulted in lack of empathy and sympathy in governance. The government has taken various steps to reorient the work culture of the bureaucrats and ministries through the behavioural change. Combining these measures with the social audit can make governance more inclusive and responsive.
Model Questions Category: 052 - Role of Civil Services in Democracy