From our Staff Correspondent
Dibrugarh, September 7: The Policy Group for Peoples’ Rights (PGPR), organized the third of a series of symposium-cum-interactive session, themed, ‘Democracy and Indian Bureaucracy’ at Dutta’s Parkland Exotica in Dibrugarh.
Eminent jourlist and former president of Editors Guild of India, Rajdeep Sardesai and noted jourlist Padmashri Patricia Mukhim, and former secretary, Ministry of Coal, PC Parakh were the invited speakers. Noted columnist Patricia Mukhim acted as the moderator of the session. The dignitaries and participants were welcomed by the president of PGPR, Dr. Aradha Kataki, who spoke about the deterioration in the bureaucracy leading to loss of faith among general people in the concept of democracy as a whole. She also spoke about how media could play a pivotal role in creating awareness in civil society to raise voice against bureaucratic incompetency.
Both Patricia Mukhim and PC Parakh shared their views about the deteriorating condition of not only the bureaucracy but also about the entire socio-political system as a whole. Mukhim cited the example of how the nexus between politicians and bureaucrats had been able to bond a strong and corrupt partnership leading to non-deliverance and non-implementation of government schemes. She delved on the important role that civil society could play to reform the system. She further stated that society should play a pro-active role and not be satisfied only by expressing their views from the confines of one’s home.
PC Parakh spoke at length about how Indian bureaucracy was rated among the best in the world during the initial years after independence, despite the doubts about their efficacy in the minds of the general populace and politicians of that time.
According to him, the leadership of Sardar Patel was a contributing factor in the efficiency of the bureaucratic system during that time. But he lamented that gradually, and more so after the death of Sardar Patel, the civil services lacked the desired support and leadership from Pandit Nehru. He further stated that the death knell was sounded for the bureaucracy after the imposition of Emergency in 1975. The issue of political interference took prominence from that time onwards and has at present reached its zenith. He also lamented by the fact that recent surveys had shown Indian bureaucratic system to be one of the worst in Asia. Parakh further urged for reforming both the political system and the civil services by setting up accountability committees or boards and by adopting a code of conduct for politicians.
Rajdeep Sardesai during his deliberation elaborated the role of media in empowering civil society and how it could also play a positive role in publicizing the deeds of the honest minority among politicians and bureaucrats. He also criticized the present trend of jourlistic sensatiolism in the broadcast of issues of lesser importance. In this context, he cited the example of how certain sections of media have been highlighting the Shee Bora murder case and not projecting about the distress of flood-affected people of Assam. He further stressed the need for an accountability watchdog for media as well and also demanded for redefinition of not only the role of media, civil services or politicians, but of the judiciary as well. Sardesai further stated that digital media was going to be the norm in the coming years and this would allow periphery regions like the Northeast, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and others to highlight their issues globally.
The session ended with active participation of the audience in the open question and answer session.