It is heartening to learn that Assam’s Chief Secretary desigte T.Y. Das has attached due importance to team work for providing good governce. She has also urged every officer and employee of the government to put in their best efforts to deal with the problems faced by the people of Assam. She has pointed out how the State government has attached a great deal of importance to the integrity of all government employees in order to eradicate corruption. She has drawn attention to the fact that in recent times a number of persons have been arrested for their alleged involvement in corrupt practices. There is no denying that the present State government has given due importance to the task of fighting corruption at all levels. The Chief Minister’s efforts in this regard are much in evidence, and one has reasons to hope that those in government are beginning to appreciate that promises of development are bound to remain empty vaunts until very firm efforts are in place to combat corruption. It is an accepted fact of life that no real development can take place if compromises continue to be made with corrupt practices. Every act of compromise constitutes a subtle sabotage of efforts made by others to take the State forward. And that is precisely why the importance given to team work acquires great significance. It is essential to acknowledge the fact that no government machinery is entirely devoid of people dedicated to development and progress. However, much of what they strive to achieve is negated by the corrupt practices of others calculated to ensure the development only of privileged individuals rather than our society as a whole. It is when development projects get undertaken as team work with specific tasks entrusted to specific officers and employees of the government that the prospects of better organized activity become brighter. In an arrangement largely depending on team work, it becomes far more difficult for individuals to sabotage a project solely to benefit corrupt individuals.
The Chief Secretary desigte’s efforts to ensure good governce deserve to be lauded largely because for quite a few decades now we have been saddled with governments that ceased to worry about the most efficient ways of running the administration in order to ensure the greatest good of the greatest number. We have had quite a few governments that have been totally callous to the needs and aspirations of the people. We have had governments run by bureaucrats far more concerned about securing a deputation to New Delhi than about serving the people. We have also had a larger number of time-servers than is healthy for any administration. To make matters worse, we have not had any politicians with the guts to tell the bureaucracy how it should be functioning in the best interests of a democracy. And this is the least that people might have expected from politicians whom they routinely elect to the corridors of power.
The Chief Secretary desigte has also indicated her concern about ensuring that things move within the administration somewhat faster than they had done in the past. While she is keen on the government taking advantage of technological advancements wherever possible, she does not seem to be unduly enthusiastic about fixing a time-frame for the clearing of files as a means of ensuring more expeditious ways of running the administration. “We cannot always compromise on quality for speed, but it is a fact that all the files should be cleared as soon as possible,” she said recently. As for improving work culture in a government that has achieved notoriety for sloth, she is of the view that all officers and employees should be inspired to do their best. What remains to be seen is whether an administration hardened in the ways of inefficient functioning can really respond to an unfamiliar but laudable call for improved efficiency. The very development of the State depends a great deal on the ability of our bureaucracy to do so.