Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Are Indian bureaucrats ace drivers in traffic jams? Murthy, Rajan's take

GONE are the days when India Inc keeps mum on policy bottlenecks that do arise because of lack of decisions. Only a few days ago, Infosys co-founder and poster boy of post-liberalisation era, Narayana Murthy asked in a television show why problems in IT industry are not being considered “urgent” and “solved by 5 pm this evening”. Will Indian bureaucracy be a handicap for celebrity economist and India’s new chief economic adviser Raghuram Rajan too? This is how 49-year-old MIT product Rajan reacted to reporters’ queries:
“Bureaucracy is not completely foreign to me”. In fact, Rajan had earlier worked in IMF and so, he was an international bureaucrat.
Rajan’s predecessor and Cornell University professor Kaushik Basu had earlier commented Indian bureaucracy is “slow”, but complimented them too as he called them “ace drivers caught in a traffic jam”. Narrating his experiences of first week in finance ministry in January, 2010, Basu had complimented the professionalism of his colleagues “I did not expect the level of professionalism and commitment to work that I encountered in my ministry,” he added. (Read: Bureaucrats as ace drivers caught in a traffic jam)
But Murthy is not impressed with bureaucrats. He finds the decision-making is going very slow and that has begun to impact the India story which captains of Indian industry had capitalized on. Murthy told in a TV show that if China was mentioned three times earlier, India was mentioned once. “Now, if China is mentioned 30 times, India is not even mentioned. That tells the story,” he said.
Murthy was particularly perturbed by the fact that despite he wrote a letter to ex-finance minister Pranab Mukherjee about demands of Indian IT industry 14 months ago and met Prime Minster twice on the subject, the urgency was lacking on the part of the government. He argued why the government should not take the demands of the IT industry, which contributes 25% of total exports, as urgent.
But the question remains: how long bureaucrats alone be blamed for slow decisions?

Action and Appointments 
Manbir Singh, 1976 batch IFS and ex-secretary (economic relations) in ministry of external affairs, took oath as Member, UPSC. He had served as India’s ambassador to Hungry, Iran and The Netherlands.

“India is a moral superpower with enormous soft power...China just cannot match it. Whoa, we still have work to do" Nirupama Rao in Twitter.

1 comment:

  1. Criticizing bureaucrats from outside is easier. Once someone becomes a part of Indian bureaucracy, he or she realizes the challenges.