Change needs to come from the top

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Prakash Bansal, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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Speaking to bureaucrats on Thursday, Civil Services Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi advised them not to work in silos but as a team; to experiment in order to bring about change. These are laudable sentiments. But the onus of bringing about structural change in the Indian bureaucracy and its methods of functioning rests as much with its political masters.

There have been various recommendations, such as in the Fifth Pay Commission’s 1996 report, for a minimum tenure for bureaucrats. In the absence of such safeguards, and with political interference rampant, a change in the bureaucratic mindset that prioritizes not rocking the boat is unlikely.The Puttingal temple tragedy seems to be the latest example when huge fire broke out during a fireworks show, which is part of the annual festival.

Coordination and cooperation are tough sells when the governance structure is replete with redundant ministries and departments. Modi must start at the top in order to rejuvenate the bureaucracy.

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