As a young man in the sixties, for the first time I heard about ADMINISTRATIVE REFORMS.Late Mr Morarji Desai had submitted to the government, the voluminous report [ first of its kind?] on Administrative Reforms.That was 50 years ago.Since then, we have produced tons of written materials on the ways of governing or "administering" ourselves.Results are there for all to see.
Administration, is Anushashan as per Bhishma Pitamaha in Mahabharata, which has a full chapter devoted to this aspect of the state craft, known as Anushashan parva.So, we Indians have been at this since last 5000 years.We should have the best administration in the world.We have got the worse, if not the worst.What can we do?
" That government is the best, which governs the least" That was Mahatma Gandhi.
Modern nation states or ancient empires were founded on two basic principles.
1.Security, 2. Revenues to provide for this security.
So the rulers need to have,
[a] Security apperatus that protects the geographical boundaries and protects the people.In modern context,this will mean external security [ standing army, espionage, strategies, & diplomatic corps]
[b] Internal security systems that maintains law & order, prevents crimes through effective jurisprudence & judicial processes and protects individual liberties
[c] Revenue collection system to provide for [a] & [b] above.
In our last central budget [ of Rs 12 Lakh crores] 1.7 L crores were provided for armed forces and about 25,000 cr were provided for internal security]
This works out to less than 20% of the total budget and does not include the budgeted amounts for policing by various states of our union.
Besides above two basic aspects, modern state is also responsible for following additional aspects of public life.
[d] Establishing,operating & maintaining nation wide infrastructure of roads,raiways, ports, air ports,power plants,their transmission & distribution systems, irrigation systems,communication systems,warehousing etc.
[e] Systems for education, training and effective deployment of our human resources
[f] Systems for primary health care.
[g] Systems for preventing disasters, both, natural and man made and mitigating their effects, upon failures to prevent them.
In the present context, we, as people need to ask the state, and its administration,how are they DELIVERING on aforesaid basic issues? They number only seven.
Refer to the central budget figures [ 2011]of Rs 12 Lakh crores above.If we add yearly budgets of all the states, this figure will be around Rs 30 Lakh crores.So out of these 30L crores, how much is being spent on above 7 aspects?
We know for sure, that the state has failed us [ the people] on all those basic aspects of governance or administration inspite of having about Rs 30 Lakh crores as the revenue collected from all of us.Why ?
Reasons are as follows
1. Electoral politics.This forces an honest political activist to become a morone , whose sole purpose is to get elected to a body and then STAY elected to this or that body for his/her life.This prevents fresh talents from emerging at grass root levels
2. Dyanstic politics.This started with late Motilal Nehru.It is part of all political parties now, except probably communist parties.This too has dried up emergence of fresh talent in all parties .Only cronies try to get in to a political party.Sole purpose of dynasts in all parties is to retain and strengthen their positions in all parties through their cronies.
3.Corruption.No need to elaborate.
4.Expansion of the government since 1950.We have 1 crore men and women as our public servants now.At the center,in the states, in local self government bodies, in PSU's.They are everywhere.Do they join governments to serve the public? Out of 30 lakh crores mentioned above, the governments OFFICIALLY spend about 70% OFFICIALLY on themselves.This is due to the pay commissions that they appoint every few years to REVISE their pays and pensions.Last one was the SIXTH in line.Next one is due any time.After spending so much of public money on themselves, do they perform as true public servants? If not, why should we have them?
That is the issue.In the short run, we should tell these governments to reduce their size and thus their expenditure on themselves.In the short run, people will have to learn to live without their governments! Can we do this? Why, we are already doing this.We don't have this government when we need it most! In the short run, we should tell them to do following.
1. Reduce your size.Reduce your expenditure on your selves
2.Suspend, sack, punish corrupt and non performers
3.Work 24/7.All departments.For you have not worked for even 100 days in a year, all these years.Work to clear all 3.5 crore court cases.Work to clear all pending projects.Work to clear all pending files.
4.Work to reduce waste.
[a]We have 1.5lakh MW as our installed capacity for power generation.On any given day, we need less than 1.2L MW.Yet, we have power shortage and power cuts.Why?
Ensure [atleast] 95 % operating efficiencies for ALL plants.40% of the power that we generate don't reach the users.It is lost en route! This is highest in the world.Bring this down to 15 % within a year.It is possible.
[b] 55% of the food grains in PDS are siphoned off in the open markets.Same with kerosene.Employees of the FCI [ Food Corporation Of India] are one of the highest paid guys in the government.Every year, they manage to waste lakhs of tons of food grains procured for the poor.We are the largest producers of fruits and vegetables in the world.We waste 40 % of these for lack of cold storages, proper warehousing and logistics of moving them to the consumers.
These are just 2 examples.This does not include the waste of TIME!
People whom we elect and whom we pay, work more to waste the time and national resources.
5. Shake off extra fat.Over 60 years, we have given ALL the responsibilities of managing our affairs to our public servants and politicians.They manage our hotels, airlines, hospitals,road networks,shiping lines,mines,markets,schools, colleges.... you name it. And we have a government department for that.Time to reduce the government functions to aforesaid seven.
Out of these last four [d,e,f&g] can be done better through PPP[ Public Private Partnerships], where government provides funds, while private parties operate/manage the affairs.This is the way to eliminate delays, corruption and attain SPEED.Learn and out source all non strategic activities to reduce armies of clerks.Eliminate institution of peons.Public servants can't have their own private servants!.
6.Reform internal security systems [ refer my previous blog],implement reforms for armed forces
[a] Fix number of terms for all electoral offices from Sarpanch to PM and President.It should be two terms as in the USA
[b] Election funding through Election Commission, subject to political parties submitting audited accounts, every year.
[c] CBI,CVC,RAW,CAG,TRAI,[ and LOKAYUKTA !],.... all such bodies should be made truly autonomous and made accountable to the Parliament and not to any ministry or any minister.
[d] Political parties should be asked to publish their membership rolls periodically.This is to ensure that there is continous infusion of new blood.
[e] Right to recall.This should be part of electoral reforms.People should have the right to recall a corrupt or non performaing representative.
[f] 100 % registration of all eligible voters.Cash incentives at the polling booth for reporting and voting[ how about Rs 25/- per each voter? That will pay for his transport,will cost 1750 cr for 100 % voting]