November 25, 2011
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In today’s TOI edit page, there is a opinion column written by a Mr. K J Alphons (Steel frame turns flexible) where he says “The fundamental problem with this country is not the evil politician, but precisely the ‘obedient government servant’ ”
He goes on, stating, “Government servants were expected to be the conscience keepers of the nation. They were expected to speak, write, advise & execute without fear or favor”
How is the bureaucrat supposed to to do his duty ‘without fear’ when the politicians have the capability to induce fear? Discharging your duty when you are constantly facing ‘requests’ from the minister heading your department is tough. After all, how many wish to be in the bad books of their boss? Not many want to make their life a living hell & end up bowing to the pressure.
The minister is there for 5 years, the bureaucrat for his entire life. After the ruling govt. is out of power, the minister is gone, while the officer is left holding the bag. “Why did he sign off on it if he had doubts” they ask. Well what option did he have? Who had his back? You?
An uncle (a district magistrate) was asked to rig a local election in favor of the party ruling the state. He refused. He was threatened. He still refused. His reward? Suspended for over a year & investigated for taking bribes. The irony! The people who asked him to do the rigging? Nothing. They were big fish after all.
This is not to justify the wrong doings that happen, but please don’t preach about doing duties without fear when the conditions are clearly not so.
The ground realities are not as simple as you make it out to be.