Features » Metroplus

Updated: May 31, 2010 18:13 IST

Public accountability

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C.K. Saseendran
C.K. Saseendran

Sound off! C.K. Saseendran talks about the need to bring in more accountability among public servants

“He is on leave, call tomorrow”, “He has gone out, call later” are some of the stock replies that we often get when we call a public officer for a service that we need.

Their mobile phones are switched off on most occasions. The officers often try to dodge work or pass the buck to ensure that no accountability is maintained.

Public servants are paid salary out of the tax payer's money.

In the ultimate analysis, they must be held accountable to the tax payer. However, the tax payer does not have any direct control over the public servant.

How can accountability be ensured? Only the hierarchy in the system can ensure it.

Higher officials must be role models, who could be emulated by the subordinates.

In case the subordinates lack these qualities, the superior officials can reprimand them.

Else, it will be a situation best exemplified with these words, “Yatha Raja Tatha Praja”, the ruled will be like the ruler.

There are few officers among the public servants who are honest and accountable. However, these officers form a tiny minority.

What is the way out of this mess, one many wonder. Activism is a tool that can be used by citizens.

They must take more interest in local affairs and become more aware of their rights and privileges, observe the going ons in the offices of service providers and raise their voices to get services.

Do you have anything to say? About the state of the world, the city, your angst? Pen it stylishly and you might get it published. And dash off your piece with your photograph. Email it to or post it to MetroPlus, The Hindu, 19 & 21, Bhagwan Mahaveer Road (Infantry Road), Bangalore 1.

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