India’s Chronic mis-Governance
Due to Politico- Bureaucratic Nexus
India’s ascendant trajectory in the global strategic power calculus and her economic resurgence is not a product of good political governance supported by strong and effective bureaucratic administrative back-up. Unlike the Indian Army which by building itself on the strong traditions and legacy of the British Indian Army to emerge as a globally respected entity, India’s bureaucracy the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) stands degenerated as a disreputable service in the average Indian’s eyes and more so perceived as a willing or at times the instigator of the all-pervasive corruption that plagues India as a result of the politico-bureaucratic nexus.
Personally, I would like to feel that the average Indian politician to begin with was not corrupt by nature but was led on the garden path of corruption by the new civil bureaucracy that emerged as the successors of the reputed Indian Civil Service that the British created as the steel framework of administering India
The IAS as the successors of the Indian Civil Service seem to have soon jettisoned the traditions and the value systems of their progenitors and started positioning themselves as the real rulers of India by getting themselves co-opted by the second generation of Indian politicians as the perpetrators of the ‘permit-quota raj’ that was to dominate India till recently and was a vehicle of politico-bureaucratic corruption bestowing limitless largesse on both the political leaders and the civil bureaucrats of the IAS, with very few honorable exceptions.
In the last sixty years India could have made much more significant economic and social progress if only the political leaders held the IAS bureaucracy accountable for good administration and development works of their districts, divisions and their States. Indian political leaders never took this recourse as it was the bureaucracy that was the vehicle for personal aggrandizement of both.
It needs to be noted that in any democracy the political leaders come and go and the continuity in governance is and should be provided by a strong and vibrant bureaucracy as in the case of Japan and other advanced countries. The civil bureaucracy should be the custodians of the Indian nation state’s good governance and should impede any mis-governance arising out of political shenanigans. Sadly for India the IAS as India’s civil bureaucracy became the willing accomplices of the Indian political establishment.
In the last sixty years of India’s governance no Indian civil bureaucrat has been held accountable for lack of administrative performance or outbreak of violence or adverse law and order situation. No civil bureaucrat has ever been so far held responsible for non-implementation of development schemes. No civil bureaucrat has ever been held responsible for not taking floods preventive measures or working out disaster management schemes. Yet all of these fall within the purview of their administrative functions.
In crisis situations of terrorism attacks or communal riots no IAS officer is ever seen or been visible at the crisis site to take personal charge of the crisis situation. It is left to India’s over-worked police or para-military forces or as a last resort to the Indian Army.
Yet with every new Pay Commission that the Government sets up including the recent Sixth Pay Commission, the Commission is overwhelmingly staffed by civil bureaucrats who promote substantial pay increases for themselves and the Government of the day accepts the IAS raises without demur but stalls and rejects comparable raises for the Indian Armed Forces, Police Services and Para-Military Forces
If so dismal is the performance of the IAS as India’s civil bureaucracy establishment as outlined above then what justification exists for India’s political leadership to place them at the apex in terms of financial emoluments outstripping the Indian Armed Forces, the Police Services and the Para-Military forces who day in and day out hold the Indian State together.
It can therefore be said with some justification that the Indian political establishment’s preferential and exalted treatment of the IAS can be construed as a ‘pay back’ to the IAS for being willing accomplices as part of the politico-bureaucratic nexus to perpetuate India’s mis-governance for their respective ends.
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Dr. Subhash Kapila
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