Bureaucracy is a continuity. Governments come and go, but the chair remains the same. It is to the chair that the bureaucrat should remain loyal, and not to the person sitting there. Such bureaucrats must be roped in for an effective and meaningful administration
I t is generally seen that when governments change, there is confusion, fear and insecurity in the bureaucracy. This is mainly due a politics of favouritism. Favourites in the bureaucracy are retained in good positions. Those who are presumed loyal to the previous government are shown the door to punishment postings. This is both unfair and unjust.
Bureaucracy is a continuity. Governments come and go, but the chair remains the same. It is to the chair that the bureaucrat should remain loyal, and not to the person sitting there. Such bureaucrats must be roped in for an effective and meaningful administration.
With the change of government, bureaucrats must not be subject to the usual politics of favouritism. A bureaucrat cannot be shifted out of his position just because he was in good terms with his past political boss. If he has proved his merit and expertise, he cannot be overlooked. Bureaucrats have to be in good working terms with ministers whom they advise on crucial matters of public importance. This is the rule of the game in any profession where one has to be in good working terms with his main boss. Otherwise no organization can function smoothly. What we are saying is that it is merit and efficiency that must count – what kind of track record the bureaucrat has had, and what promise he holds for good work further.
Just because a bureaucrat is merely seen to be having a particular political tilt and believed to be friends with a particular minister of the past, does not mean that he will not be working in cooperation and coordition with his new minister. How can you sideline merit, administrative excellence and proven advisory role if the bureaucrat has all these to help the new dispensation function smoothly and efficiently?
On a lighter note we would say: Do not throw someone away just because you once saw him sipping a cup of coffee with his past political boss. Retain all such civil servants who have proved their mettle in administration to advise you in the right direction. At the same time, prefer local bureaucrats to those from outside. After all, it is the local bureaucrats who can feel the pulse of the people. However, it is not that bureaucrats from outside the State cannot feel such pulse. They can, but only to a certain extent, not to the full extent. Here lies the difference.
The point is simple: Go in for a broader political outlook on governce and administration, and let the bureaucrats who have proved themselves to be excellent administrators and advisers function with a free mind and at their administrative best. A core team that we have talked about in our open letter to the Assam Chief Minister, carried on our front page on March 22, could well be actualized then.