|Prime Minister Narendra Modi with secretaries to the Government of India.|
Whenever I meet senior bureaucrats at the centre, I always ask one question. So what has changed with the Modi Government? Almost in unison the single biggest change that they talk about is that all crony capitalist pulls and pressures are off and now they actually feel that they are working for India and not for a person. There is a new - found sense of empowerment and most believe that the government will stand behind their decisions and they would not be hauled over hot coals for bona fide mistakes.
With a view to cut red-tape and bring transparency in decision-making, the government has made several amendments in the All India Services (Conduct) Rules, 1968, that lays guidelines for the conducts of IAS, IPS and IFS officers. The rule seeks to streamline bureaucracy and reduce the chances of misuse of power for personal financial or material benefits of officials.
The change is visible in the corridors of power. The files are now moving faster. Officials are not scared of taking bona fide decisions any more. The focus on new technology will also help bring remarkable improvement in the governance process. Our lead story focuses on the state of governance. It highlights the good governance initiatives taken across the country at all levels of government – the centre, states as well as local bodies.
However, in Modiji’s resolve to make the existing officers deliver, some rotten tomatoes too have slipped through the chinks and are still selling their old wine in new bottles. Unlike the earlier dispensation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s patience is likely to run thin soon with this lot of rent-seeking bureaucrats who are promising him the moon on some of the schemes.
While the powerbrokers, economists and other Delhi cabals have been shown the door, the capacity within the government is inadequate on domain issues and there is a pronounced need to engage with practitioners and domain experts if Modi government truly has to bring in a transformation.
(Sameer Kochhar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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