Friday, January 5, 2018
Away from the headlines, Modi is fighting a crucial war against inefficient bureaucracy
Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have gone to town about his boldest reforms, justifying them and recounting how he overcame obstacles to launch them, there is one reform that he has been working on silently but resolutely — the bureaucratic reform.
Modi has taken several steps to discipline the bureaucracy even though it's a daunting task given that it's the very bureaucracy that has to implement these reforms. That he has been working on silently but resolutely — the bureaucratic reform. PM Modi has taken several steps to discipline the bureaucracy even though it's a daunting task given that it's the very bureaucracy that has to implement these reforms.
Recently, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has written to all Central Government departments, states and union territories asking them to ensure submission of Immovable Property Returns (IPRs) by IAS officers working with them by . All IAS officers have been asked to submit details of their assets by next month and warned that the failure to do so would lead to a denial of vigilance clearances needed for promotions and foreign postings.
An online module has been designed for the purpose of filing of the IPR. Officers have the option of uploading the hard copy of the IPR by This step is one of the series of such steps taken by the Modi Government. in the online module.
The corrupt and lazy bureaucracy that works with little oversight or checks is in the sights of Modi. He is waging his war on several fronts, from tracking performance to punishing the rogues and the under-achievers.
Early this year, cracking the whip on non-performing officials, the Government for the first time prematurely retired 33 tax officers which included seven Group 'A' officers.The Government said 72 officers had been dismissed in other departmental/disciplinary actions in the last two years.
In the last three years, the Department of Personnel and Training has taken actions like premature retirement and salary cut against 381 officers, 24 of whom were from IAS officers, for non-performance and corruption. The Government has also compulsorily retired a few IPS officers for non-performance.
While these actions come in limelight, PM Modi's is fighting bigger battles against babudom which do not come into spotlight. The government has started an online performance assessment system for bureaucrats, which can be a very effective tool to track performance.
Online Probity Management System will help various ministries assess the integrity and performance levels of officers. The government has been assessing the performance of all officers who have turned 50 or 55 or have completed 30 years of service to decide whether they be allowed to continue in service or compulsorily retired.
The new 'Probity' portal makes the process completely online by which ministries can now submit their reports online and the government gets a birds eye-view of the status on one portal.The Government is using a unique system Sparrow (Smart performance appraisal report recording online window) to make the entire appraisal system online and accessible for review by the ministries concerned. The DoPT has recently extended 'Sparrow' from just the IAS cadre to 13 cadres, including the central secretariat services.
The Government's another online system to track babudom is a DoPT portal, 'Solve', a system for online vigilance enquiry for board-level appointees.
The government has introduced another online software two months ago to cut delays and introduce transparency in departmental proceedings against bureaucrats for alleged corruption.
It will record all processes online and use cloud-based technology to provide an interface among all stakeholders.The new system will expedite the departmental proceedings, thus ensuring that corrupt officers are brought to justice without delay even as the honest ones are spared undue harassment and intimidation.
The portal will initially be adopted in respect of IAS officers posted at the Centre but subsequently be extended to all All India Services officers as well as Group A employees serving in the Central government.
The online system envisages use of cloud-based technology and provides interface to different stakeholders like the administrative ministry initiating the departmental inquiry, the cadre controlling authority, charged officer, inquiry officer, etc through separate modules.
All documents required for the conduct of the inquiry will be stored online and authenticated through digital signature/e-signature. Further, all communication between the different stakeholders will be through the system with provision for email and SMS alerts.
Turning the corrupt, lazy and autocratic bureucrats into responsive officers is not an easy task.
Modi's war on corrupt and inefficient babus will be a long-drawn affair.
Only if he comes to power for another term can he make a significant impact.