Friday, January 08, 2010

Academic-turned bureaucrat Kaushik Basu finds Indian bureaucracy slow; terms civil servants ace drivers caught in traffic jams

A MONTH after taking charge as the chief economic adviser to government of India at the rank of a secretary, former Cornell University professor Kaushik Basu said that he had not changed his mind about the slowness of Indian bureaucracy but added that the problem lies with the system and not with the individuals who comprise it.
“It is like ace drivers caught in a traffic jam; a huge waste of a valuable resource”, he said in a guest column titled, “Life in the heart of Indian government” written exclusively for BBC.
He further said that his experience in the first week was “harrowing” as he had to handle questions concerning the economy that came at rapid fire from parliament and from policy-makers. “I was asked, for example, if allowing futures trading in food created inflationary pressure on the spot market price of food,” he mentioned.
After experiencing the life at high-ceilinged North Block office in Lutyens’ Delhi, Mr Basu suggested, “We have to re-examine the structures of decision-making in our bureaucracy so that permits are given quickly for new enterprises to start and bankrupt ones to close, food grains are released promptly when prices begin to rise, justice is dispensed with quickly when somebody is wronged, and visas are given (or not given) as promptly as possible.”
But he complimented the professionalism of his colleagues in finance ministry. “I did not expect the level of professionalism and commitment to work that I encountered in my ministry,” he added.
(In Picture: Foreign tourists walking on New Delhi’s India Gate area amid dense fog on January 6, 2010. The road leads to President’s House and South Block and North Block housing key Indian ministries including PMO, Defence, Home and Finance.)

Adverse remarks in ACR and beyond
After the assessment, officers will receive the overall grading and assessment of integrity, with effect from April 1, 2008. Prior to that only adverse remarks in the ACR were required to be communicated for representation, if any. Now it has been decided that general terms, such as “I agree or disagree with the Reporting Officer/Reviewing Officer” used by the Reviewing or Accepting Authority shall not be construed as sufficient reason for upgrading / downgrading the overall grading given by the Reporting Authority or Reviewing Authority.
Read the Office Memo on modification of adverse remarks, dated January 6, 2009

Action and Appointments
a) Dr Justice Ravi Ranjan and Justice Mandhata Singh, Additional Judges of Patna High Court have been appointed as Judges of Patna High Court.
b) Justice Reddi Kantha Rao, Justice Vilas Vishwanathrao Afzulpurkar and Justice Puligoru Venkata Sanjay Kumar, all Additional Judges of Andhra Pradesh High Court, have been appointed as Judges of Andhra Pradesh High Court.
c) Vinod Kumar Sharma has been appointed as Additional Judge of the Himachal Pradesh High Court for a period of two years.

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