[Answrered] “Traditional bureaucratic structure and culture have hampered the process of socio-economic development in India.” Comment.

Demand of the question Introduction. Contextual introduction. Body. Discuss how traditional bureaucracy has hampered the process of socio-economic development in India. Suggest some measures. Conclusion. Way forward.

The bureaucracy is a crucial pillar of the Indian state, and has been given the responsibility for administering the country. It was supposed to participate in the socio-economic development of the nation. Unfortunately, traditional bureaucratic structure and culture in India led to inefficiency, corruption, and red Tapism and is considered to hamper the socioeconomic development agenda.

  1. Corruption: Bureaucratic structure has been criticized for the strong protection it provided under the constitution Article 311. It has acted as shield for bureaucracy which led to lack of accountability and transparency. This has also been the cause of rising business-political-bureaucratic nexus and consequently wide spread corruption and, hence, hampered the process of socio economic development.
  2. Political interference: Sometimes there is “unholy” nexus between unscrupulous politicians and officers leading to poor governance. Transfer and location posting being in control of political leaders bent the working based on performance to appease the politician of the day.
  3. Red Tapism: Red Tapism and unnecessary complex procedures add to the hardship of citizens. It has made doing business in India a difficult task. Development has been hindered by delays in processing, approval of the project.
  4. Grievance redressal: There is a perceptible lack of commitment in public servants towards redressal of citizens’ grievances.Lack of empathy, indifferent attitude towards the public are still present in the bureaucratic structure. This has hampered the process of inclusive development as bureaucracy hasn’t been to redress the public grievances completely.
  5. Lack of coordination: Bureaucracy has been mired by lack of coordination among various services. Interservice rivalry between IAS, IPS and IRS exits with special preference in compensation and powers to IAS. This is a constant source of social tensions while working together.
  6. Rigid hierarchy: Hierarchy in bureaucracy slows down implantation of policies & decision making. Government servants are rarely held to account and complaints to higher authorities usually go unheeded. Frequent transfer of officers reduces their effectiveness and also dilutes their accountability.

Way forward:

  1. Citizen centric administration: The 2nd ARC report has pointed out the need to make citizen centric administration as a Priority. The priority need to be shifted to citizens and making administration pro-poor.
  2. Attitude change: Attitude change through linking service conditions with outcomes and reforming policies to appreciate/reward proactive civil servants is needed.
  3. Focus on Outcomes: There is a need for a result oriented bureaucracy which focuses on outcomes, is people-centric, participatory responsive and focused on effectiveness and equity rather than merely efficiency.
  4. Bottom-up approach: Socio-economic development requires bottoms-up approach and therefore sensitization of bureaucrats towards problems faced by people is very important.

The bureaucrats have struggled to change their mind set to the new scenario after independence. The needs of the current administration has grown in complexity and requires specialisation for effective governance. The age-old habit of posting generalists to top positions of administration has not yet changed.

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