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Synopsis: Outdated nature of public bureaucracy has to be accounted for the ineffective response to the COVID-19 crisis in India. A new public governance model based on collaborative governance need to be institutionalised.
What are the issues with Weberian model of Bureaucracy?
The Weberian bureaucracy model that India follows suffers from the following challenges. It needs improvements to make Indian bureaucracy more efficient.
- One, Weberian bureaucracy still prefers a generalist bureaucracy over a specialist.
- Two, Weberian bureaucracy prefers leadership based on position over leadership of function.
- Leadership of function is when a person has expert knowledge of a particular responsibility in a particular situation.
- In leadership of function, every official involved in a particular role responds to the situation rather than relying on directions from above authority.
Implications of Weberian model of Bureaucracy
- First, the rigid adherence to rules has resulted in the rejection of innovation.
- Second, the hierarchical nature of work flow and cumbersome clearance processes even during the period of crisis results in delayed efforts.
- Third, negligent of Specialist role results in policy failure and ineffective planning
What are the reforms suggested to address the issue?
- The reform often suggested in India is new public management. It promotes privatisation and managerial techniques of the private sector as an effective tool to improve public service delivery and governance.
- However, failure of private sector in public service delivery as witnessed during Covid19 and wide spread social inequality and regional variations in development had made this idea infeasible in India.
What is the Way forward?
- The model of new public governance based on collaborative governance will be the most appropriate solution.
- In this model, the public sector, private players and civil society, especially public service organisations (NGOs), work together for effective public service delivery
- All agencies will be involved in policy formulation and implementation.
- To institutionalise the model of new public governance, the behaviour of bureaucracy needs to change. It needs flexibility in hierarchy, a relook at the generalist versus specialist debate, and an openness to reforms such as lateral entry and collaboration with a network of social actors
All major revolutions with huge implications on public service delivery have come through the collaboration of public bureaucracy with so-called outsiders. These include the Green Revolution (M.S. Swaminathan), the White Revolution (Verghese Kurien), Aadhaar-enabled services (Nandan Nilekani) and the IT revolution (Sam Pitroda).
Source: The Hindu