As effective steps were not taken to bring about distributive justice the lion's share of the enormous wealth created has accrued to the affluent section of the society. This is obvious from the Arjun Sengupta Committee?s finding that some three quarters of the population lived on less than Rs 20 a day. The objective of attaining social and economic justice could not be achieved because of our failure to make the much - needed institutional changes, in particular the poor implementation of measures of land reform and the neglect of the well-designed Community Development program. Other fatal weaknesses include the failure to provide adequate employment opportunities at living wages to a rising population, the tragic neglect of school education and the adoption of a clutch of ill conceived measures of affirmative action aimed at hoodwinking the disadvantaged without conferring on them enduring benefits.
This is the dismal background against which some tenets of neo-liberalism have emerged as a deadly threat to our quest for social and economic justice.As one who has seen at close quarters the men and women who served in the AllIndia Services during the last fifty years, I can say with confidence that even today the Services have in their ranks a large number of outstanding persons. It should be possible to revamp the administration by adopting a sensible personnel policy. The essential elements in that policy will be the ruthless weeding out of unsuitable persons, firmly linking preferment to performance and strict enforcement of transparency and accountability at all levels. There should be an end to the chaotic conditions prevailing in personnel administration.
Political interference should end. Selection for key posts should be on the basis of ability, experience and suitability judged in an objective manner. By adopting a set of sensible policies it should be possible to revive the morale of the Services and forge them into an adequate tool for effective democratic governance.In recent years quite a few high-powered committees have made numerous suggestions in the matter of recruitment, training and cadre management.
It is beyond the scope of this essay to make a comprehensive analysis of those recommendations aim comment on them, I shall content myself by making a few simple suggestions that can be implemented quickly without incurring much expenditure. The policy of recruitment on the basis of open competitive examination has stood the test of time. The only minor change needed is that the maximum age at recruitment should be 24 with two-year relaxation for reserved categories. The training of All India Services has improved beyond recognition during the last five decades. Still there is the need to improve further both post-induction and in-service training. Considering that the majority of the present day recruits are engineering graduates, the probationers should be given a good grounding in humanities, particularly History, Economics, Political Science and Sociology.
The present syllabus in Law should continue with added emphasis on the Indian Constitution. By the time the probationers complete their professional training they should have acquired a thorough understanding of the Constitution and a clear perception of their role as envisaged by the founding fathers. A professionally competent and politically neutral bureaucracy is a sine qua non for the smooth and efficient functioning of a democratic polity. These services owe their existence to the administrative acumen and fortitude of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel. For some two decades the All India Services, by and large, functioned as envisaged by the Sardar. Then the decline started, first slowly, and then at an accelerated pace. The nadir was reached in Gujarat in recent months. The IAS and IPS were laid prostate. The once superb administrative structure lies in ruins, reduced to shambles.
Evidently the Services no longer serve the purpose for which they were constituted. Is there any need or justification for the continued existence of the All India Services? I shall argue that serious efforts should be made to rejuvenate the Services.Though the Services have miserably failed on numerous occasions in recent years there are some good reasons why they should continue. The first reason is that even in their weakened state, the All India Services offer some resistance to the arbitrary actions of the cynical politicians. Things would worsen in the absence of the All India Services. Secondly, the recent events in Gujarat demonstrate the need to retain these Services.
When all over the State the, police acquiesced in the criminal activities of the Sangh Parivar, the young Superintendents of Police of Kutch, Bhavnagar, Banaskhata and Bharuch firmly dealt with the criminal activities and saved the lives of thousands of Muslims. If only the top officers had displayed the same degree of fearlessness the tragedy could have been averted or at least mitigated. Furthermore, consider how after the notification of elections, the Election Commission headed by the resolute James Lyngdoh, has succeeded in ensuring that the administration function efficiently and impartially. There is one more ground for retaining the All India Services.
The President is the guardian and the Supreme Court the very Palladium of our Constitution. But they are beyond the reach of ordinary citizens. It is the civil and police administration, fearlessly upholding the Constitution and the law, that will enable millions of Indians to enjoy the rights guaranteed under the Constitution.The root cause of corruption is the role of black money in politics Elections have become extremely expensive and all political parties spend huge sums in every election. The need to incur colossal expenditure during election is often put forward as the justification for making illegal collections. That is, of course, a lame excuse. Rampant corruption is not merely a moral issue. It has resulted in all-round inefficiency and brought the system into contempt and ridicule.Criminalization of our public life is another ominous development Close connection between the political bosses and the denizens of the underworld is not a new development. In the sixties this malady was largely confined to the Metropolitan cities of Bombay and Calcutta. The political bosses involved could be counted on ones fingers and the criminals were only mercenaries.
Since the mid-seventies the evil has become widespread and criminals have gained access to the levers of power. Some have entered the legislatures and a few have even become ministers. A firm nexus has been established between amoral politicians, ambitious bureaucrats, unscrupulous businessmen and hardened criminals.An important development during the last three decades has been the growth of a malignant syndrome embodying pervasive corruption, criminalization and electoral malpractice. The noxious sociopolitical environment facilitated the emergence of high profile, cynical politicians with no faith in the Constitution, he laws of the land and the basic tenets of democracy. They look upon electoral victory as licence to abuse power, help cronies and amass huge fortunes. The total absence of transparency and accountability in our system facilitated these tragic developments.
The supreme need of the hour is to push through a package of reforms inclusive of thorough going political and electoral reforms, drastic devolution of powers as envisaged in the 73rd and 74th Amendment to the Constitution, transparency in the management of public affairs and strict enforcement of accountability at all levels. There is little hope of all these things happening in the near future. Only the generation of intense public pressure can lead to the necessary reforms being introduced. The significant failures include poor performance in the fields of education, health, poverty alleviation, land reforms, democratic decentralization and management of public enterprises. Despite these failures, on the whole, we did reasonably well during the first twenty-five years.
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