How vikasvaad has lost out to centralisation of government

Source: The post is based on the article How vikasvaad has lost out to centralisation of government” published in The Indian Express on 24th February 2023.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Governance

Relevance: issues with bureaucracy and elite institutions

News: India has taken up the G20 presidency and there have been talks about changing India. However, even among G20 nations, the condition of India is dismal.

This article discusses the reasons behind the dismal condition of India and provides an analysis of the vikasvaad of 2015.

Where does India stand amongst the G20 countries?

India’s per capita is lowest within the G20. The life expectancy in India is second lowest. More than 30 percent of jobs in India need just primary education and 70 percent of those in the workforce have no contract.

Hardly 35 percent of male population and 18 percent of the female population attain secondary education. India also has some of the most polluted rivers and cities.

Girls do not go to school in some areas while most cities remain unsafe for working women.

In all these matters, India stands at the bottom amongst the G20 nations and these all have brought into attention the vikasvaad of 2015.

What was Vikasvaad of 2015?

It was aimed to reform of the top bureaucracy of the country and revamp the central scientific agencies. Because, it is the top bureaucracy which determines the quality of people’s lives.

In India, through the IAS, IITs, IIMs and a network of central agencies are available. Power is concentrated in a few hundred top functionaries.

They are responsible for the conduct of most state functions such as managing irrigation systems, making railway engines, running universities or regulating hospitals.

The scientists and professors are responsible for the measurement, analysis and upgradation of most practices like estimating groundwater and tackling pollution.

The elite institutions, through their graduates, create new professionals, companies and agencies that bring modern services to the citizens of this country.

However, these institutions and top functionaries have not performed up to the expectations.

What are the issues with these top institutions and functionaries?

The IITs today are the same as in the 1990s, because they remain disconnected from the states they belong to. Most professors have little understanding of regional problems like floods and droughts, pollution, etc.

The IIT graduate is a global brand with little training or interest in nation-building or the temperament for working on hard scientific problems.

Further, the current IAS officers are incapable of performing well and as per changing demands of society because of their old-fashioned training and work culture.

This has been one of the reasons behind the failure of most of the departments in several states.

This has ultimately led to the coming up of a contractual system for government works. These are mostly taken up by the politicians and big contractors who provide low grade services.

Hence, the aim of the vikasvaad of 2015 was to dismantle this system. That could not be achieved.

Why were the aims of the vikasvaad of 2015 not accomplished?

There were various political reasons such as – a) it would diminish the power of the government by creating a more elite society, b) it would strengthen a diverse civil society, enhance awareness and free thinking on issues of education, health and culture, c) it would further develop the southern states which might affect the supremacy of central government controlling those states from the North.

Print Friendly and PDF