Lax Governance Hurting Modi’s Mission to Transform
Prof N.K. Singh
Former Chairman International Airports Authority of India
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is articulate leader and a thinker whoconstantly imagines creative projects to transform India. In theprocess, he strategizes his mission in different communication andadministrative initiatives to bring changes. I believe anytransformation needs a capable organisation to deliver the projects.In my studies abroad during first visit to European cities, Idiscovered we can change and become progressive but our organisationsare too poor to deliver.
I founded Foundation for Organizational Research (FORE) in Delhi which is a premier educational institute and did organisational design work. We worked on the organisations of major public sector corporations like ONGC, NTPC, SAIL and BHEL. While doing work with them, we realised that government too needs organisational redesign but no one in the government was interested in it. Instead bureaucracy took it as an assault on their citadel. Long after, I had an opportunity to study city organisation of Varanasi which happened to be PM’s constituency and send a report of study to PM. We did not receive any response from the PMO.
* At present, it is too heavy, too fragmented and no one knows who is responsible finally to answer on dozens of projects going on different directions on the ghats.
First thing which we recommended to usher in smart city movement was to redesign the organisation of the city management. At present, it is too heavy, too fragmented and no one knows who is responsible finally to answer on dozens of projects going on different directions on the ghats. EvenMayor told us that when foreigners come they ask for Mayor. And when hemeets them they find he has no authority on the city to answerquestions. We needed complete answerable authorities who would beaccountable but our system divided it that made it difficult to pinpoint the gaps for improving performance.
This lack of focus is major drawback in Swachhta Abhiyan or Smart city management. Result is 72% citizens feel municipal bodies are not responsible and public toilets not functioning. 62% of them also feel that civic sense of the residents has not improved. Take the recent case of Elphinstone foot over bridge station in Mumbai. Widening of this over bridge one project was sanctioned for Rs. 12 crore, 18months back but work never started at all due to sheer negligence and laxity. I recollect how in 1989, I constructed logistically most difficult airport in Agatti in the sea within six months as I was given accountability by the then PM. Here after sanction there was nothing to oversee and hold the engineersresponsible if the work is delayed or not done. Minister cannot absolve himself as he had already sanctioned and delegated the authority. But he could not delegate responsibility and had to account for it as to who was at fault. There should have been continuous reporting and checks.
By quoting anecdotal evidence, I am only pointing out how Modigovernment needs to oil is machinery after fitting it in new orderdepending on their mission- objectives. Leadership under Modi jihas raised a lot of expectations of the public and all the good workinitiated by him need thousands of torchbearers as he alone can’t accomplish it. But who stopped him from redesigning the organisation. He must control bureaucracy and introduce industrial management cadre.
We are fighting against the monopoly of Judges appointing them without any one check, but the same is going on in administration where administrative service select and appoint its own people. Although ministers do finally approve it but it is a cooked meal and nothing much is changeable at last stage. Even processing must be through participative or multidisciplinary teams. Principle of appointing oneself or one’s own colleagues must be opposed in judges oradministration.
Take the case of slew of measures announced by Modi and theirimplementation. I watch Delhi Railway station that is being renovatedat a snail’s speed causing so much inconvenience to the pubic. The GST hascreated a lot of hiccups in implementation. It is necessary to simplify it and make user friendly. No doubt both Demonetization and GST are major reforms in economy but implementation should be smooth and not based on thumb rule creating public inconvenience. Most distressing problem is that few people understand and traders are totally in quandary about how to do.
Even accountants and government people can’t explain it. Sufficient communication and transferring data on net is needed. There is bound to be temporary discomforts but any change can cause it. Laxity in implementation can kill golden dreams. We are surely moving towards honest economy rather black money supported high GDP rate economy. It is high time to bring reforms in the government working to make it more efficient to deliver.
First Passenger: Why Congress is selling forms for assembly electioncandidate @ Rs25000?
Second Passenger: A leader says It is protest against Modi governmentthat made party “bankrupt”.