Friday, 26 August 2016

Policy Paralysis : Can be Avoided



Economic Times ( 25 Aug 2016 ) carries a news report titled :

"  Charges Against Coal ex-Secretary may Lead to Policy Paralysis "

The report quotes :

#  Shri Amitabh Kant ( CEO , NITI Aayog )

" He is the most honest officer I have come across in my entire career. Real travesty of justice. Sad & tragic. Errors
 in commercial decision making should be decriminalized. There cannot be a more honest person than Gupta "


#  A current Govt Secretary :

" He is more honest than I am or anyone of us here . If he is jailed, functioning of the government will come to a grinding halt . There are already too many concerns . If such things happen , no one will take any decisions "



No doubt , it is very difficult to conclude whether a decision was just " an error of judgment " or whether it was truly , a " mala-fide " decision to benefit the officer himself or his relatives / friends / business interests !



I request that the  Central IAS Officers Association , consider my following suggestion :

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Friday, 20 June 2014 ( source : www.hemenparekh.in > Blogs )


To err is human

To forgive is divine ( provided it was a honest error )


All of us keep making errors , all the time


But rarely same " mistake " twice


Often , decisions taken at a point of time , turn out to be " poor " , with passage of time


Reasons are simple :


*  We never have all the information - relevant to the problem we are trying to solve - available with us , at the time of taking a decision


*  Even when most of such relevant info is available , we may not have the capacity / competence to " process " such info


*  As humans , we have our biases / prejudices , based on our previous experiences , which influence our decisions


*  Quite often , and often against our own better evaluation / judgment of a given situation , we are wrongly influenced by our peers / bosses / subordinates or even voters - all of whom have different expectations / vested interests !


* Additional - and more relevant - information surfaces , AFTER we have taken a decision (happens all the time !)



To encourage Officers and Ministers to take
FAST decisions , Shri Narendra Modi must insist that they carefully " Record " on the files :


*  What are the " Options / Alternatives " available ( with advantage / disadvantage , of each )


* What info / data he wished was available for a better decision



* What different " views / opinions " were presented to him for consideration


* What " Data / Views " he would have obtained if he had more time


* Who all , the decision might offend


* What is the likely " Cost " of postponing that decision,



And finally a
Declaration :


* " This decision is not likely to benefit any of my near relatives / friends , directly or immediately "



After all of this , if the decision appears to be " Wrong " in hindsight , it must be " forgiven " and treated as an honest error


To err is human  !


Speaking at the TRANSFORMING  INDIA lecture ( 26 Aug 2016 ) , Shri Modi said :

"  We cannot march through 21st century with 19th century administrative systems . It would involve transformation of governance and mindsets as well as transformative ideas

Further , it would require rapid transformation and not gradual evolution "


I am afraid , despite all of this motivation / exhortation , no officer would want to stick his neck out for fear of it getting chopped off !


Even a trapeze artist in a Circus , needs a Safety Net before he can be motivated to jump !


My suggestion is that SAFETY  NET !


True , Sati Sita had to prove her innocence through fire !


But , in 2016 , no officer would want to go through the public humiliation of a media trial , till the courts prove him innocent !


For him , " No decision " cannot be faulted !

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27  Aug  2016

www.hemenparekh.in / blogs







  

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