A recent social media post on a young IAS officer in Chhat-tisgarh talking to a sick child’s mother in a government medical establishment with his left foot resting on the steel rail of the hospital bed went viral and invited hard hitting comments against him and on the attitude of bureaucrats in general. The energy with which indivi-duals thrashed the youthful IAS officer and his kind was because of his pompous demeanour as well as the repressed resentment against a generally dormant, lazy and inhuman administration in the nation.
The inclination that a vast area of civil servants are useful to no end, degenerate and work shirkers is very general in this nation and in this background news on Centre saying bye to 33 non-performing authorities of income tax office on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s requests would be invited by each one of the individuals who have been casualties of bureaucratic inhumanity and torpidity. It was in January this year that Modi had asked all the departmental secretaries make stern action against non-performing authorities. That the action came three months after the meeting may prompt the assumption that senior authorities are not very keen to stem the decay.
Over the last two years, 72 officials have been dismissed following departmental and disci-plinary action and the government would have us believe that this was the first time action was taken against such a large group. It would be too early to say whether this would change the officials’ perception that poor performance or harassing the public would not impact their job. There is no denying the fact that during the Congress regime at the Centre, as well as in majority of the states, a large section of officials had started believing that nothing negative could impact their job. Even now, many among them firmly believe that they can get away scot-free even if they indulge in corruption or do not carry out their work or harass the public in more ways than one. People know this and they would continue to be sceptical about government’s claim and believe that cracking the whip on 33 officials at one go would have an impact. If the government really means business then it would have to crack the whip more often because there are far too many non-performing officials not just in the central government, but also in states where Bharatiya Janata Party is in power. For that matter the PMO also has to crack the whip on officials, who indulge in corruption.
Government sanction is awaited for prosecution of a large number of officials against whom cases of corruption are pending. All it requires is the government’s nod to allow investigating agencies to go ahead and file the cases in courts. There are many cases which are not even being investigated. So, the PMO has to be proactive in not just dealing sternly with non-performing officials, but also with those facing corruption charges. India does not have a good track record when it comes to corruption. A study conducted by Transparency International in year 2005 found that more than 62% of Indians had first-hand experience of paying bribes or influence peddling to get jobs done in public offices successfully. In its study conducted in year 2008, the Transparency International reported about 40% of Indians had first-hand experience of paying bribes or using contact to get a job done in public office.
In 2015, India was ranked 76th out of 175 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, compared to its neighbours Bhutan (30th), Bangladesh (145th), Myanmar (156th), China (100th), Nepal (126th), Pakistan (126th) and Sri Lanka (85th). This is the second least corruption rank for India in the whole of South Asia. In 2013, India was ranked 94th out of 175 countries. In 2016, India was ranked 76th out of 168 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. To improve the country ranking a lot more whips need to be cracked on government officials, majority of who are no longer government servants but rulers.
*Jinendra Parakh is a law student in
Hidayatullah National Law University, Naya Raipur