Suggestions for Administrative Reforms – UPSC GS2

  • SD Shibulal, Ex-CEO and founding member of Infosys, has been appointed chairman of a three-member task force to bring about “major bureaucratic reforms through Mission Karmayogi”.
Why is corporate management not a panacea for the administration?
  • The ultimate goal of every corporate manager is profit maximisation. However, the scope of government responsibilities is much wider.
  • A civil servant has to produce outcomes that are equitable and not only efficient. For instance, the focus is on providing health services to all citizens and not merely selling medicines to only those who can pay the price.
  • Further, civil servants need to have a touch with grassroots reality, which is not a necessary condition for a corporate manager.
  • Civil Servants bring to the central government, knowledge about the social, political, economic, and cultural peculiarities of states and diverse ministries. This knowledge is far more valuable when it comes to successfully designing and implementation of schemes for public welfare. Rather than the domain expertise which a private sector individual brings to the table.
Way Ahead:
  • In the last seven decades, several governments have launched hundreds of programs and missions. Many of them had been successfully steered by a resilient and adaptable administration.
  • The Shibulal task force should understand that the problem lies not with individual players, but with the team and the management of the team. This includes the political, judicial, and investigative arms and the whole gamut of laws, rules, and jurisprudence.
  • Governance requires a system change, not really a change of personnel. It can improve if goals are clear and well-defined. For this to happen, a continuous engagement with the states and with political parties is desired.
  • Once there is consensus on goals, the administration can be channelled towards their achievement.
  • The task force should also suggest ways to bolster the sagging morale and pervasive fear that seem to haunt top-level administrators today. There has to be clarity of purpose, confidence in political support, and the return of professionalism in administration.
  • The task force should confine itself to overarching changes, not bits and pieces reforms, as many commissions and committees have attempted to do in the past.

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