Thursday, May 14, 2009
Civil servants as a species are notoriously reticent to write about their experience of governance, says Vice President of India
Civil servants as a species, particularly the senior most ones, are notoriously reticent to write about their experience of governance and statecraft, said Vice President of India M Hamid Ansari while releasing a book entitled “GovernMint in India – An Inside View” authored by former chief secretary T S R Subramanian at a function in New Delhi on Wednesday, May 13. His observation on civil servants’ reluctance to narrate their experiences in power corridors was made when he argued that those who were willing to share their experiences need to be read “both for what they say and for what they knowingly refrain from saying.” Interestingly, Mr Subramanian in his book, argues the rule of law in India is under serious threat. Vice President particularly mentioned the author’s conclusion that “the disease is well advanced. However, it is not too late to make serious attempts to cure it”. But can the bureaucracy apply pressure for reforms? “This is a laughable thought in the present context. The business community is irrelevant to the debate on this point. The media is interested in conflict and in ‘news’ – they have no real interest in reforms. The judiciary indeed has the ability to force reforms. It is however highly unlikely that they will bestir themselves in this regard,” said the author in his book. The book has, however, given a surprising solution on page no 197. Hope is expressed for “a new messiah who will rise from the political class to deliver the nation… Once a person like this emerges, the whole country will rise up to support him; the era of coalitions at the Centre would end – the country then will be on its way to reach its tryst with destiny”. Babu Blogger’s take: Sir, I fully agree with your diagnosis and the necessity for a future vision. But Mr Subramanium, your theory of an end of coalition politics is well ahead of time, and is rather out of place as the countdown for the May 16 results has begun.