Tuesday, June 30, 2009
ONE of my esteemed readers rightly pointed out that I did not write much about my recent experiences in Europe despite my tall promise in my post from New Delhi airport before taking a flight to Amsterdam that I would give a sense of how European bureaucracy works so well vis-à-vis the Indian babudom. Let me be honest with you that I did not have much interaction with any senior government officials in the continent except one with an official at Mayor's office in city of Stockholm who walked me through how the city in Sweden adopted a holistic approach to convert itself into the green capital of Europe. Anyway, based on my earlier visits to Europe in 2001-02 and 2005, let me paint one aspect of European civil servants which stands out all the time. As an ordinary citizen traveling across the continent, you won’t be harassed by any civil servant whatsoever. No one will ask for bribe from a citizen for fixing any basic amenities. I have no idea whether corruption exists at the highest level of European bureaucracy or not, but ordinary citizen won’t find their country’s bureaucracy “suffocating”. In India too, gone are the days when an ordinary citizen had to pay a bribe to get his phone connection, but citizens even now encounter with low-rung officials, mainly police personnel, who ask for bribes to get wrong things right. Though I myself did not participate in BoI’s poll on Hong Kong-based Perc survey’s remarks on Indian bureaucracy, I personally disagree with the report’s terming of Indian bureaucracy as “suffocating”. Yet, I feel that senior civil servants in India who are quite friendly towards aam aadmi and their welfare ensure that their juniors on the streets follow some basic guidelines as they are the real ambassadors of Indian babudom. Babus In Demand Permanent Representative of India, UNESCO: The government has been looking for the right candidate to fill up the joint secretary level post of Permanent Representative of India, UNESCO, Paris, under the department of higher education, which falls vacant on June 30, 2009. The officer must have been empanelled to hold joint secretary or equivalent posts at the Centre, and should be at least three batches below the batch next to be considered for empanelment at the additional secretary level. The officer also must have worked for at least 2 years at the Centre under Central Staffing Scheme.