In our country, ministers are supposed to give policy directions and rest of the work has to be done by respective departments/ bureaucracy. That is the reason why we have so many government departments and officers. They are supposed to be the executive arm of the government.
Recent media articles blaming Mamata Banerjee for the rail accidents is a classic blame game. It is like finding a target to attack while the real issue gets hidden. When we have a full fledged railway board should the minister alone be made a scapegoat? If the system is derailed (pun intended) then what is the role of the Chairman of the Railway Board? Is he simply taking instructions from Ms Banerjee and doing as per her instructions? If she spends more time in Bengal, then will the Railways stop functioning? Given the way bureaucrats function, the entire wheels of the railways should have got jammed by now. It has not as still trains are running, although late.
Let me clarify, I am no big fan of Ms. Mamata Banerjee but I strongly believe it is time for us to stand up and find out who to blame. It is like asking for the Chief Minister of Maharashtra to resign when Bombay gets flooded instead of finding out who in the BMC has not done his or her job properly. Politicians make easy targets for us to vent our rage and make them the butt of jokes but it is the bureaucrats who are the executing arm of the system.
This is similar to putting the entire blame of the Bhopal disaster on Keshub Mahindra, who was the non executive chairman, unless you can prove that it was he who stopped maintenance work as a part of overall organization strategy.
Too much has been made of the politicianâ€™s interference. I think the system is using that as an excuse to cover up incompetence or laziness. In places where the bureaucrats are smart and effective, we have witnessed progress.
The immigration desk of Bombay airport is a very good example - whoever the bureaucrat, deserves a big round of applause. In the last one year or so, immigration in Bombay has become much smoother, cleaner and faster. In the last two or three times that I have travelled, I was pleasantly surprised to see the immigration officer displaying consideration instead of the arrogant attitude we were used to earlier. This is a clear example when the bureaucracy or the system wants to work, it works. As a citizen, it is important for us to know who in the system is doing what and take on them instead of chanting slogans, taking out morchas against the minister who is far away from reality.
That aside, my only request to the immigration department is to make us stop filling forms. I wonder what happens to the forms which we fill and give to the immigration officer. Also, a small counterfoil that we give to the security guard standing at the gate, where does it go? Does anyone look at it or does anybody do any data mining out of it? Will be glad if someone could supply answers.
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