- GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Weberian Bureaucracy and its challenges
Context: Despite its efforts, bureaucracy has emerged as a major concern for the ineffective response to the COVID-19 crisis.
- Weberian bureaucracy prefers a generalist over a specialist. Specialists in every government department have to remain subordinate to the generalist officers
- The justification is that the generalist provides a broader perspective compared to the specialist.
- A generalist officer (IAS and State civil service officials) is deemed an expert and as a result, superior, even if the officer works in one department or ministry today and in another tomorrow.
- Pandemic Situation: Healthcare professionals who are specialists have been made to work under generalist officers and the policy options have been left to the generalists when they should be in the hands of the specialists.
- Weberian bureaucracy prefers leadership based on position.
- Traditional bureaucracy is still stuck with the leadership of position over leadership of function
- Bureaucracy has become an end in itself rather than a means to an end.
- The rigid adherence to rules has resulted in the rejection of innovation
- Administrative reform movement promotes privatisation and managerial techniques of the private sector as an effective tool to seek improvements in public service delivery and governance. But this isn’t a viable solution, not the least in India where there is social inequality and regional variations in development.
Way Forward – Collaborative Governance
- Collaborative governance is a model in which the public sector, private players and civil society, especially NGOs, work together for effective public service delivery.
- There is no domination of public bureaucracy as the sole agency in policy formulation and implementation.
- As part of new public governance, a network of social actors and private players would take responsibility in various aspects of governance with public bureaucracy steering the ship rather than rowing it.
- During the pandemic, we see civil society playing a major role in saving lives. As part of new public governance, this role has to be institutionalised.
Connecting the dots:
- Minimum Government, Maximum Governance