India Uncut

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Monday, April 25, 2005

The babus can't solve the problem of babus

In a fine piece in the Indian Express, Pratap Bhanu Mehta invokes Paul Appleby, "who, in the good old days when Nehru could freely employ foreign consultants, produced a report on public administration in 1953". Mehta elaborates:
This report is striking in many respects. While he was generally complimentary to the government, his Report shows how the constitutive weakness of the government was already an issue in 1953. Too little expert knowledge, inappropriate hierarchies, too much diffusion of responsibility, inability to prioritise, great inter-service rivalry, too many invidious distinctions between line and staff functions (between planners and implementers), too many rules, too much distrust in the exercise of discretionary power, no sense of opportunity cost and, finally, what he called “lack of action mindedness” were already considerable issues. What is astonishing is that, more than 50 years later, the Report still rings true.

Mehta's piece is about the "fundamental fact: there’s no administrative solution to the challenge of administrative reform." Read the full thing.
amit varma, 12:13 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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