India: Civil Servants or Uncivil Masters?

Narendra Modi releasing a book titled "Change Makers", at the 10th Civil Services Day function, in New Delhi on April 21, 2016
Narendra Modi releasing a book titled “Change Makers”, at the 10th Civil Services Day function, in New Delhi on April 21, 2016

Civil servants in India are so unskilled that their behaviour spews uncivil tantrums. Now, they are uncivil masters of the Indian masses.

By Rakesh Raman

If after even seven decades of its independence, India is still an underdeveloped country, it is mainly because politicians and bureaucrats (also called civil servants) are clueless about the evolving paradigms of governance.

While most politicians including Prime Minister Narendra Modi are illiterate, the bureaucrats – including IAS, IPS, IFS officers – lack expertise in the departmental domains that they are supposed to manage.

These bureaucrats somehow clear the Civil Services Exam that has a very low eligibility criteria and a poor assessment mechanism which cannot evaluate a candidate’s ability to manage the affairs of a country or its people. It is basically a clerical test for simple graduates.

In a country where graduates, postgraduates and even Ph.D. holders fail to get even peons’ jobs, these simple graduates become bureaucratic rulers and treat the commoners like slaves.

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While you cannot expect Indian politicians to have communication skills because almost all of them are uneducated, even bureaucrats are clueless about the use of English language to communicate among themselves and with the public.

In fact, bureaucrats cannot write even three original sentences in English. They are mostly dependent on the documents that were created by the Britishers when Indians were slaves to them.

As their language and communication skills are horrible, bureaucrats prefer not to respond to citizens’ requests and the citizen services have always suffered in India.

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Now, strangely Modi is asking these incompetent bureaucrats to help India progress. Addressing civil servants on Civil Services Day (Thursday), Modi asked them to become “agents of change” in their respective organizations and departments.

Modi said that in the 21st century, civil servants need to redefine their role, and move beyond controlling, regulating and managerial capabilities, and think of themselves as change agents.

Can they? No way. Civil servants are so unskilled that their behaviour spews uncivil tantrums. For example, you hardly get response to your letters or e-mails from any government department because bureaucrats and politicians are highly illiterate. They can’t write a proper response to public requests.

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If you are lucky enough to get a response, it will be a very generic response copied from the old letters of Britishers when they ruled India before 1947. And your problem will never be solved. Rather, you will be asked to contact some other government department because government officers never want to take any decision.

When Modi expects civil servants to become change agents, he fails to realize they have already changed. They are no more civil servants. Now, they are uncivil masters of the Indian masses. Let’s get rid of them.

By Rakesh Raman, the managing editor of RMN Company

This article is part of our editorial initiative called REAL VOTER that covers political developments in India. Click here to visit REAL VOTER.

Photo courtesy: Press Information Bureau

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