Monday, November 9, 2009

Indian Bureaucracy

In my previous post, I described an example of efficient and fast bureaucracy. I wanted to give few examples of Indian bureaucracy which is slow, inefficient and corrupt, but somehow I do not feel like writing about it. My this week's feeling is more of sadness than anger. When the whole system is like that, it is wastage of time and effort try to describe that. I will just write few points which I think should be addressed in order to improve the overall quality and efficiency of Indian baburaj.

- Time: Time is an important factor for efficient administration. In most developed country, there is a time limit of processing each request made by public. Once you gave all the necessary document, it becomes responsibility of the office to process it and return back to you within few weeks. Some jobs can be done in the same day and some jobs needs more time. What is needed is to place strict time limit for each type of routine job each office handles or there should be consequences for the office for delay. Can you imagine, that German rails pays 10 euro to passenger for each 1/2 hour delay in trains? In Russia, there is a rule that once you gave papers to the office, they have to give you back needed document within 4 weeks. Its their problem what they do inside the office, but if they don't get back to you in 4 weeks, there is consequences for them. Unless there is consequences, there is no way to insure timely disposition of services.

- Efficiency: Major problem in my opinion with Indian bureaucracy is pyramid structure of system which is most inefficient in dealing with routine tasks. For example, when I was working in government college, most of the paper work had to go to the higher education department at the state capital which causes significant delay and corruption. I had to go state capital or keep in touch with an appropriate babu each time I needed something to be done. This is very inefficient system and way to encourage corruption. If someone needs a birth or marriage certificate from municipality, again the file will run from bottom to top until it gets sign from the top officer for that. Instead, power should be given to the first person who receives the papers so that he can deal with the situation by himself unless there is a complexity in the case for some reason. This way it will be easy to fix accountability and time limit as well. In current situation nobody is responsible for delay or inefficiency.

- Transparency: This one will be most hard to implement given the secret nature of everything in any Indian office. Recently, when we were looking to buy an apartment in my city in USA, we were surprised to find that the prices from past 20 years or so are available online, so you can actually see how the prices grew over the years of any particular property or area of interest. But in Indian offices, so much things are hidden in the name of official secret that it will be hard to implement transparency.

- Parallel Processing (can not find better administrative word for this, I am not administrator after all): Most of the efficient system relies on giving the same power to at least 2-3 people within the office, so if one person is absent, someone else can finish the job. Once you remove all the reasons for delays, system delivers by itself.

I will add more points as it will come to me. But for now, I can only hope that citizen of India get better system which they deserve.

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