Appointment Of Consultants In Government Departments Is Wasteful Exercise And Bad Governance !

It defeats the basic tenet of “Minimum Government and Maximum Governance”, Opines C. Srikumar, National Secretary Of AITUC

The buzzword of the present Government is “Minimum Government and Maximum Governance”. After 9 years of Modi Government is there any minimum Government and maximum Governance has take place. Any change in the Government system is visible. Whether decisions are taken with transparency and in the fastest mode. Whether people at large are benefited due to less Government and more Governance. Whether any review was conducted by the Government to find out its motto of maximum Governance is

Whether the Indian Civil Service (Indian Administrative Service) has lost its relevance and importance. These are some of the questions which are now being debated. Therefore, to find out whether the slogan of “minimum Government and maximum Governance” has become a reality or it remains as a myth, interacted with C. Srikumar, National Secretary of AITUC and also General Secretary of the All India Defence Employees Federation since he has got a vast experience of more than 42 years in dealing with various Government Departments and top bureaucrats right from Cabinet Secretary to down below, to find out his reaction on this very important topic. His version is published here for the benefit of our viewers.

“First of all one should understand that Government and Governance are not separate entities. Both are interlinked and interconnected. Anyway the slogan of “minimum Government maximum Governance” remains only as a slogan like many slogans of the Government. One such slogan is “Beti Bachao, Beti Padao”. The 22 Ordnance Factory schools which use to give high quality education for girl children in large number including from the downtrodden societies has been asked by the Government not to admit children in the Ordnance Factory Schools on the plea of Corporatization of Ordnance Factories. What sin the children have committed for not getting admission in the Ordnance Factory Schools. If the Government is so serious in implementing its motto “Beti Bachao, Beti Padao” how they have stopped admission of the children in the Ordnance Factory Schools. Is it the Governance the present Government wanted? This is how they are educating girl children Now, let us analyze how the present Government is being governed?

Government has started appointing hundreds of consultants in almost all the Government departments. These consultants are either retired bureaucrats or big consultancy firms. These consultants are paid hefty amounts as consultancy fees. Is it worth giving? These consultants are neither accountable nor answerable on their advises and recommendations. They are not governed by any conduct rules. Generally, they write whatever the Government or the Senior Officers who appointed them says as their advice and recommendations. Many of the recommendations of the consultants have gone to dustbins and wherever such recommendations got implemented it has only boomeranged on the Government since those recommendations failed while implementing.

Another area is the lateral induction of private sector individuals at the level of Joint Secretaries in the Government departments through lateral inductions. While it takes in Government 15 to 20 years for a Group ‘A’ Officer who was appointed through UPSC after passing one of the top most competitive examination in the Country and after undergoing classroom and field training to become a Joint Secretary, Private sector individuals are appointed without all the above process.
This is another misadventure. These private Joint Secretaries can serve in the Government for a maximum period of 10 years. What interest they will have to do any innovative things in the Administration / Governments. The private Joint Secretaries cannot do any miracles since they also have to follow ultimately the Government rules and regulations including CVO guidelines. Let us now analyze here how the KPMG consultants have damaged the 220 years old Indian Ordnance Factories through its recommendations to splinter the 41 Ordnance Factories into 7 Corporations. The Government, while appointing KPMG consultants it has been given more than 50 terms of reference which includes “ Better utilization of capacities and assets of Ordnance Factories” “To create surge capacity to meet war requirements” “Create 5 years strategic vision and roadmap for Corporatized OFB to address long term requirements of the Country”. It is now almost 2 years after the Ordnance Factories are converted into 7 Corporations.

The 7 Corporations are suffering and struggling for its existence. None of the bureaucrats who appointed the KPMG consultant and took initiative to implement the KPMG’s recommendations are no more in the Ministry of Defence. The KPMG also is not in picture. Ultimate victims are the more than 70,000 strong highly competitive employees and ofcourse the Defence of our Country. Everything is in doldrums in the 7 Corporations. Due to the efforts taken by AIDEF ultimately the Defence Minister has to directly intervene and issued directions to provide certain workload to the 4 Ordnance Factories under TCL. Otherwise what must have happened for these 4 Ordnance Factories. Almost similar situation is there in the other Ordnance Factories also. Based on KPMG’s recommendations the admissions in Ordnance Factory Schools are stopped. Ordnance Factory hospitals are struggling for its survival since its future nobody knows. What is the accountability of the so called consultant in all these damages which has already happened. Tax payers money is wasted to pay heftic amount for the consultants with “Nil output”. For the money whatever they have taken lot of English is written and no solution has been given for the post-corporatization challenges. For all these failures in the Ordnance Factories whether the consultant will be held responsible.

The answer is a big No. There are bureaucrats in the Government who are sensitive towards the country and people, who wanted to do something good for the country and the people for the salary what they are getting. But unfortunately they have to listen to their seniors and satisfy the political bosses for their own survival. Previously every officer in the hierarchy used to contribute in the noting sheets about their views and opinion how decisions should be taken. Now a days nobody bothers to do this since it requires lot of knowledge and idea about the issues which has been put up to them. Majority of them simply put their signature on the noting sheets put up by the Under Secretary / Deputy Secretary. If the top bureaucrats don’t want to take any decision they will simply write “ Pl. Discuss” . This discussion will never take place. If a senior officer writes his considered views on the file which is not suiting the ruling party’s requirement then he become a nuisance value to the Government and he will be shunted out to the least important portfolios. That problem is not with the consultants, because in 99% cases consultants are told in advance that what they should recommend. For the money they are taking they dance to the tune
of the Government. Some of the evils of the Governance is spineless bureaucracy, dependency on “Consultants” and the laterally interacted private individuals at the level of Joint Secretaries. Expectancy of the Senior bureaucrats to become member and Chairman of various commission after retirement etc., If the Government is really interested to see “maximum Governance” then decision making process should be transparent and in a speedy manner. Before taking decisions the stake holders who ever will be affected because of those decisions, they all should be taken into confidence. Government should fully utilize the skill and experience already available with them instead of searching consultants who doesn’t have any accountability and sensitivity towards the people. Consultations and discussions with all concerned with open mind should take place. Opposite views should not be ignored, it should be given due recognition and importance.

Appropriate action should be taken by the departments on any representations with in a month. Several times Supreme Court has criticized that the Government is the major litigant in our Country. Thousands of cases on service matters are pending before various Courts. JCM Mechanism has become defunct. Even Supreme Court judgments are not implemented to similarly placed petitioners despite criticism by the Supreme Court. Many Administrative Reform Commissions in the past have made so many recommendations for effective Governance. Nothing has seen the light of the day. Things remains as it is and no visible change is seen anywhere. Only slogans and attractive phrases remains concluded C. Srikumar.

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