Bureaucracy Affecting Investments?
TOPIC: General Studies 2
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
- Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
The role and function of bureaucracy have increased enormously since the British raj. The normal function of the bureaucracy is to execute the policies of council of ministers. Under the system of delegated legislation, the powers of bureaucracy has steadily increased. As India accepted the principle of welfare state, the economic and social functions of the state have also steadily increased. Every increase in the power of government has corresponded in the increase in power of bureaucracy and this has also led to red tapism.
Bureaucracy affects investments in a positive way. Bureaucracy is an enabler of change. In the British era, they were the regulators whose primary role was regulation in accordance with the government’s policy at that time. Later on, with independence and current regime, they are perceived as the agents of change as in law also, the government services are considered at par with private sector. So the private citizens are at liberty to choose from private services to government services- for eg. education, hospitals, electricity, civil aviation. So it is imperative for the government functions to also improve the standards of their services in the same level.
Government has taken series of steps to ensure that the bureaucrats are responsible to the stakeholders. Earlier, the promotion was based on annual confidential report by superior. Now there is 360 degree assessment which means that even the stakeholders and the subordinates are able to comment on the performance. So the bureaucrats are cautious of their role and thus more responsive. However, bureaucracy has not been able to function in the way it ought to because of regulatory framework. Prevention of corruption act cannot distance the civil servants from possible action against genuine mistakes. The PCA has to be amended because unless it is done so, there will be very few bureaucrats who are bold enough to carry out the action without the fear of prosecution after retirement. There is a need of a strong bureaucracy which can take strong decisions and doesn’t have policy paralysis of decision making. Also, there is a need of proper regulatory framework by which they are protected after retirement or during service.
Challenges for bureaucracy
- The bureaucracy is as good as political masters. As long as communication line, the decision making impetus is clear, the bureaucrat can serve the way he is trained.
- In past few years, bureaucracy is not attracting the best talent as private sector has come up. There is a need to create an environment wherein the younger people are attracted towards the services.
- Bureaucracy should match up with current needs. There should be capacity building of bureaucrats periodically, training and specializing. Technology is a great enabler and bureaucracy has to work along with it.
- There is a greater need for supervision and monitoring with regard to framing of rules on the basis of laws. When it comes to framing of rules, the distortions come in and the bureaucracy wants to do things in a certain way can over run the provisions of the law.
Political will for successful bureaucracy
A decisive government mostly results in a decisive bureaucracy In past three years, it has been observed that as government wants quick results, the bureaucracy is pushed to deliver that.
Indian bureaucracy has got the competence to deliver results if there is a political will behind those policies.
In a way, the bureaucracy is perceived as an enabler and facilitator. It is a reflection of a confident nation. In terms of relative growth, India has one of the highest growth rate among large economy. So there are many positives which gives India the mindset of control.
For investor facilitation, FDI policy has been liberalized, barring few sensitive sectors such as banking, print media, private security, insurance and multi-brand retail. Minimum government, maximum governance- it is yet to be fully realized. Digital transactions have to be encouraged more as and when the services become institutionalized. Also, there is a need for more sectoral experts who can guide the bureaucracy to perform at its efficient best.
Connecting the dots:
- ‘Bureaucratic activism is more of a boon when political will is at peak’. Critically analyse the statement.