By G. L. Batra, ST Guest Columnist, Writer & formerly Addl. Secretary, Indian Parliament and Chairman, Public Service Commission of the Indian State of Haryana
Removal of trust deficit
People are under the belief that their problems and works will not be done. This feeling needs to be removed. Every work that is genuine, and is permissible under the law and rules, should be done at the earliest possible so that people do not need to frequently visit the administrators or officers who have been appointed by the government to solve the problems of the people. They should realize that the authority of the administrator is derived from the people, and so, they should always be accessible to them. If the work or the problem is not as per the law, they should also be able to convince them accordingly.
Need to remove the disconnect between the government and the people
Inapt performance, in fact, is non-performance. The non-performance leads to disconnect and this disconnect leads to distrust and litigation between the public and the government. There is litigation even between the government institutions. In that case, firstly, there should be reconciliation. If that fails, then there should be arbitration and if that is not agreed to, then the final resort should only be litigation. The social welfare officer, block development officer and the other concerned officers should regularly visit the area of their jurisdiction and educate the people and if possible, resolve the problems of the people on the spot. They should believe that the action taken by them is not at the behest of any political influence and that only what is right should be done. This will help in removing the corruption and avoid litigation.
Non-assurance of the achievement of the social and economic goals cannot be, in the present situation, attributed to the scarcity of resources. It is possible that the lack of governance and inefficient attention has created a disconnect between the people and the administration.
The functionaries of the state have failed to realize that, they are servants of the people and not their masters. Whosoever is invested with the power to perform and exercise their duties, is also accountable. Non-performance or non-apt performance leads to accountability and that accountability should, at the earliest, be fixed on the non- performer and the punishment, as envisaged under the rules, be awarded to the delinquent officer/official.
Decentralization of power
There should be decentralization of power at every level, at the Centre, State and at the District level. The State should not approach the Centre for everything and the District administrator, similarly should not approach the state for everything. There is always a feeling that, whenever we approach any officer at the District level, he would always say that he /she is to seek permission of the Deputy Commissioner or District Collector.
Appointment of Lokpal and Lokayuktas
There should be the appointment of a Lokpal and Lokayuktas with constitutional status. These bodies should be a team of a small number of eminent persons, educationists, legal luminaries and from the Judiciary and they should be provided with efficient staff and their orders should be implemented forthwith. And there should be a careful consideration that the Lokpal and the Lokayuktas should not be constituted in a manner so as to form a parallel government.
Enquiry Commissions are essential in a given situation, but it should not be done in order to avoid or delay the situation. The report of the commissions should be placed before the Parliament or the Legislative Assemblies as the case may be and should be binding.
Session of Parliament/Legislative Assembly
There should be regular sessions both of the Parliament and the Legislative Assemblies, with regular sittings. The time spent in the Parliament and its cost is countable in seconds. There was a time when there used to be regular sittings, with no uproars, no boycotts, no walkouts, and no unnecessary adjournments. If this is done, it will generate great confidence in the mind of the people.
The Parliament is a supreme body; it legislates for the people and the Cabinet, in fact, is the sub-committee of the Parliament and is accountable to the Parliament, which in turn, is accountable to the people of India.
Management of institution
It would be worthwhile to debate whether it is institutions provided in the Constitution which have failed or the men who work or man these institutions have failed. It is probably both.
While we cannot abolish the men, we can, at best, improve the environment and the circumstances under which these men function, hoping that a more conducive environment, with respect for the men, may help to improve their behavior and performance. It is essential that whosoever is at the helm of affairs should be duly recognized, accepted and given reverence, corresponding to the strategic heights they hold.
Revamping of All India Services
Our country is governed by the All India Services, and the men who are appointed after proving their intelligence and wisdom, do occupy important offices, and august position. They are the advisors of the political bosses, and, how they act and react in a given situation, depends upon their political bosses. People call this class the bureaucracy.
In fact, they are also the servants of the people and not the masters. They are also the people of this country under the Constitution and they contribute in giving power to the political bosses. They are expected to realize the sufferings and the difficulties of the vast masses of the country and solve them. Their duty is to advise their political bosses but, it is up to the political bosses whether they abide by this advice or not.
We have in this class, men of great integrity, who are steadfast, honest, intelligent and sagacious, but this category also requires revamping in order to bring efficiency in the implementation of the policies of the government. They are to ensure that the benefits reach the doorsteps of the poor and needy with speed and in full, without the intervention of any political influence. The politician should take care only and should not interfere.