No democracy works well if its decisions are not implemented by professionals accountable for results, says Pradip N. Khandwalla.
In his ‘Transforming Government through New Public Management’ (www.amaindia.org). He is of the view that legislators as a body cannot manage the institutions and enterprises of a governance system, be it at the panchayat or the national level.
“Management is a full time job, requiring constant planning and strategising, controlling operations, coordinating, motivating the staff and other stakeholders, resolving conflicts quickly, getting hold of the needed finance and staff, allocating responsibilities, assessing the performance of the staff, getting needed information, building a support network, interacting with ‘customers’ to find out their needs, marketing products/ services, reviewing and monitoring projects and initiatives, brainstorming for options, and so forth.”
Though bureaucracy attempts to manage through its elite civil services, it is usually ‘too wooden to be able to do a good job,’ the author rues. For example, as a cadre, the IAS is not suited for rural development work on account of short, uncertain tenure, inappropriate temperament, and inadequate competencies, he argues.
The IAS, therefore, should be divested of any role in developmental administration at the district level and below, urges Khandwalla. “The replacement of DDOs and BDOs, district planning boards and district rural development agencies, and a host of other parallel development-related bodies should be a development council for each district designed along agencification lines, charged with overall management responsibility for managing rural development at the district level and below.”
The CEO of the development council (registered as a Section 25 company) should be a competitively selected professional with domain expertise, and appointment should be for a fixed term, with remuneration tied to performance, the author describes. He suggests that all development-related Plan funds for the district from the Centre and the State should flow into the district development council for effective utilisation; and that the council should have the power to augment its funds by borrowings and through commercial activities.
Worth a study.