Strange ways of Governance

Each day brings some new revelation about the 2-G scam, impacting otherwise good reputations. People of extraordinary intelligence, knowledge and integrity come under some cloud on each occasion. How does it happen? So many people can’t be dishonest at the same time, particularly when they belong to rival political camps. The 2 G is a perfect case study for students of public administration and management of public affairs. It happens due to the overwhelming influence of the parallel government over the “government as by law established”. There are no records of decisions or processes of decision making in the parallel government. So the official file contains one thing but the decision is just another, and the surprising element is that there is no inkling of how and why such a decision was taken. It is violative of rules that lay down that each order shall be recorded in writing on the file. Oral orders have to be followed by written orders by the secretary or the minister or the prime minister, as the case may be. In the parallel government each authority avoids recording the orders in writing and putting his/her signatures on the file. So we have unacceptable situations like “non paper”; routine note; keep the PM at arm’s length; I have not seen it or seen by the minister/prime minister kind of fishy notings. The officer attending the inter-ministerial meeting is chosen with care and sounded not to “speak” but just “hear” them and simply brief the secretary/minister/PM. No need to even record the gist of the discussions-the minutes will take care of them, which will be sent to the officer dealing with the subject. How else is a minister under any obligation to “consult” his colleagues when he is equal to them and not their subordinate? Why should he avoid adhering to the rules and make an inter-ministerial reference for consulting concerned ministries? Why should he just inform the PM and why should the PM(O) simply “vet”? Is the PM supposed to simply vet notes from his colleagues or discharge his official duty as laid down in the Transaction of Business Rules? Admittedly, such simple facts are known even to all these authorities. Obviously it is the “parallel government” that is directing decision making. This parallel government is both visible and invisible (depending on the beneficiaries and enemies) as it is both sagun(physical) as well as nirgun(a-physical), sthool (palpable)as also shukshma (nano), and can only be felt but not proved, like a ghost( Hamlet saw one). However, there is no need to jump to conclusion. Like the apparition which supposedly exists between the “here” & “there”, this parallel government too lives similarly. It designs, plans, implements, executes, monitors, reports, evaluates and decides on behalf and in the name of (this can be anybody according to the needs and the occasion). It is this parallel government that ruins reputations otherwise perfectly venerable and sends to jail only the loyal party workers and their loyal bureaucrats, who have no qualms in crossing the Laxaman Rekha or Maryada in serving such illegitimate interests to get suitably rewarded in return. It is no wonder that today’s bureaucrats get derisive looks even from the employees because their character is known to everyone in the ministry/department/office/organization. There used to be times when senior officers used to earn respect of their subordinates, now they get  only contempt, even as they may display all marks of religiosity! They were not recruited or trained to spend time in jails, but that is becoming common each passing day! A good subject to pursue research in Public Administration.

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