Friday, November 6, 2009

Bureaucracy: what it should be and what it shouldn't be

I will write some real life examples (either from my experience or from experiences of someone I know) of bureaucracy with the idea of what it should be like and what it shouldn't be like. Dear readers, please consider providing your experiences (positive or negative) of Indian bureaucracy as well as bureaucratic system of the country where you are living, to make this discussion richer. The idea is to provide readers from India what they should fight for. When I talked with someone in India, they seem to be fine with corrupt, slow and inefficient system until they know how to get around with the system. Their frustration only comes to fullest once the usual things doesn't work or if they do not want to follow the bribe route and still want to get things done in efficient manner.

Positive: example 1

- One of my Indian friend worked in Germany for few years before moving to USA. He contributed to the pension fund in German system while working there. Now, there is a rule in Germany, that you can claim your contribution 2 years after leaving the country if you have no intention to return. He had no idea about the process, so first thing he did was to write to Germany Embassy with his question. In few days, he got response from the Embassy with the links of forms he can download from internet and which he need to submit to the pension office to complete the process.

- He filled the forms (they were simple 2 forms) and send them with necessary evidence of his work to the pension office. Now, there are 5 pension offices in Germany and he had no idea where to send these forms, so he send to one office which he thought might be most appropriate for his case.

- in 3-4 weeks, he got response from the pension office which deals with such case (not the one where he sent the forms, but they forwarded his forms to the right place), and he was asked to submit an additional form. Of course, copy of this additional form was included in the letter. This form needed signature from German Embassy/consulate, or any other public notary from the USA. It was a verification form that indeed this is the person who has requested the pension refund.

- Since my friend lives in the city, where there is a German Consulate, he decided to go to the consulate directly. It took him sitting in nice sofa for half an hour until one officer came to talk with him and in few minutes, she came back with the form signed. Then she asked him- Do you want us to send this form for you to the pension office through diplomatic mail? Pleasantly surprised, he said fine, and his job was done.

- It took another 3-4 weeks, and there was money in his bank account which was transferred from Germany and an accompanying letter explaining the details of money with the contact details of the person in case there is any problem.

Now, can you imagined the process, if there would be similar case with India? Can you imagine if you had actually worked in India and needed to do similar process with Indian bureaucracy?

This is it. Processes could be as simple and straight. These may be the underlying simple reasons for many people not wanting to go back to Indian system.

I will continue this series giving another real life example of Indian bureaucracy in my next post.

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