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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Over vigilant vigilance!

That the Anna brigade has brought the issue of corruption centre stage in one of the most corrupt and backward nation of the world is absolutely true. What the brigade however does not know or realize are the complexities of the tantra, complexities that can be appreciated only after experiencing them, not otherwise.

The organizations responsible for eradicating corruption or for catching the corrupt have also moved to the hyper-active zone. Spurred by Anna and also the rising prices, the various vigilance set-ups have also raised their consideration fee. After all the vigilance inspectors and the vigilance officers are also part and parcel of the same corrupt society, so why blame them if they also partake of the loot.

Jokes apart, it is an established fact that the various vigilance set-ups in the nation have with passage of time emerged as the fountainheads of corruption. They thrive on corruption and therefore have no stake whatsoever in its eradication. When corruption thrives, the mandarins of the vigilance set-ups rule the roost and if ever corruption were to be really eradicated, they would not know what to do.

Some organizations like the one to which I belong have taken the vigilance business to absurd and ridiculous proportions. Every single act that is even a minor deviation from the prescribed rules and procedures is sufficient to issue a charge sheet followed by subsequent long drawn out investigations. And the rules and procedures are also many. The massive building that many call as the ministry is busy churning out rules and procedures for specifying almost everything under the sun. Perhaps placing a ban on supply of A4 size paper to the over bloated ministry may be the best thing to do.

Why do we need a separate vigilance set-up is what I have been unable to appreciate in the over thirty one years of my service career. Is it not the primary function of an executive to remain vigilant and prevent corruption in the organization and men under him? Is the executive not to be trusted and every single act of him is to be put under the minutest scrutiny for even a miniscule deviation from the books?

I always wonder what sort of organizational culture we are brewing? Is not deliverance more important than anything else? Or is babugiri the numero uno priority? Let us first be clear and then suitable results that would need to be accepted will follow accordingly.

Having been out of my mother cadre for over a decade, I could never have imagined the extent to which systems have gone rotten in an organization that often calls itself commercial. And amongst the many departments that the mother organization is divided in, vigilance perhaps takes the cake. The best and the most striking example of dishonesty in the garb of honesty.

May God help us!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Untapped Potential

Potential is a dirty word. Unfortunately many of us associate potential with a positive trait that needs to be flaunted. During my stint(s) in the tourism sector, I often came across people, even the doyens of the industry who left no stone unturned in eulogizing the tourism potential of India as if the potential itself is something that if flaunted would fetch both tourists and forex.

In India there is potential everywhere. There is potential in the building of roads, in eradicating poverty, in increasing tourism, in railways etc etc. On the contrary, one would not find much potential in the developed countries, say the United States of America. Lack of deliverance ensures conservation of potential and deliverance its extinction. Obviously, the extinction option is preferable, yet we take pride in tons and tons of conserved potential.

That conserved potential is not the preserve of infrastructure alone also needs appreciation. Most of us human beings who throng the sarkari sector also have vast reserves of untapped potential. The complexities of the tantra ensure that the untapped potential remains well conserved and the sarkar as well as the sarkari mulazims forever remain devoid of the deep sense of satisfaction that comes with the extinction of the vast reserves of untapped potential.

The tantra needs to be unshackled, the earlier the better.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Output sans input

The scenario amazes me no end.

The most common folly of all of us is expecting “output sans input”. If only output could be achieved without any tangible input, our nation definitely would have been one of the most progressive nations of the world. Alas, that is not to be!

Mere advice, suggestions, observations and reprimands are definitely not the only tools available with us for ensuring delivery. This is to be experienced as well as understood, yet it is unfortunate that while we appreciate that for us any output needs a commensurate input, we fail to apply this principle when deailing with others.

And so we have an oft repeated scenario of the officialdom demanding output from the system and also their subordinates without either being prepared or being able to give commensurate input.

Hawa mein nangi talwar chalakar system aur utpadakta improve karna chahte hain. Idiots!

How silly. Besides the so called yearning for deliverance often turns out to be hollow and if probed further is found to be borne out of a desire to impress some bloated ego superior.

And as a bonus we have our vigilance setups. One more naka that often demands deliverance every day from the field staff in the form of hard cash to be delivered to the die-hard inspector and if that is not done, the employee who finds himself tied in a vicious circle suffers. The vigilance setups have with passage of time grabbed a major role in perpetuating corruption, especially in the railway system. Yet we regularly have our shams in the form of vigilance week, pledge on integrity and what not.

The system stinks. What stinks even more is total apathy of the senior management towards administrative issues, even those like the ones described above that are nibbling at the vitals of the organization. I wonder whether we shall ever wake up from our "Kumbhakarani" sleep and then overcome the inherent reluctance to do anything that can even remotely be of help in setting the system right?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Corruption calling!

Time to rejoice, we have been certified as numero uno in the nation by the CVC.

Rejoice because we are now the certified number one in atleast one field, how does it matter that it is corruption that we are talking about. We have beaten the PWD’s, State Governments, DDA and many other veterans in this sport and therefore celebration is definitely due.

India being a nation of crabs, many of the spoilsports from amongst us would try to belittle this achievement by citing many flimsy reasons. They would say that the railways treats malafide and violation of rules and procedures on similar footing and hence the high score. Such spoilsports deserve to be shown their rightful place by all of us who through their rightful and not so rightful actions have brought honor to this great organization.

Jokes apart, the fact remains that we have achieved almost the impossible. And therefore it hardly makes a difference that we continue to have our minor follies that make us the butt of jokes almost all the time.

A once great organization brought to its knees by its own masters, how painful and also how pathetic. A classic case of achieving self destruction by non-stop shooting ones own foot.

Are we really that corrupt? Having served the railways for over three decades, I must have been an idiot of the highest order to have been oblivious to this great reality. I always thought that despite all our ills and there are many of them, the railways are still the finest example of dynamic delivery in our nation where every government department, without fail has achieved perfection in the art of often absent and at times inadequate delivery.

A plethora of rules and procedures, almost all of which border on the ridiculous have brought the railways to this pass. I am presently preparing a compendium of idiotic rules and procedures and am almost certain that the compendium in its final form is bound to be as fat as the Britannia Encyclopedia.

Jokes apart, I must confess that concluding railways as the numero uno can at best be called distorted. Being surrounded by a highly motivated team of brilliant and committed youngsters, almost all of whom do not display any symptoms of being on the take whatsoever, I find it a bit difficult to digest the conclusions of the CVC. The CVC is also not wrong as it is only the railways that has classified every minute deviation from its silly rules and procedures as an act of malafide, leading to the high score that we earlier ridiculed.

Our penchant to structure every single triviality has landed us in this soup.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Nation of Discussions and Ideas!

The recent high court blast took the country by storm. I find it amusing that almost everyday there is something or the other that takes the nation by storm. And then we have debates, discussions, comments, allegations, suggestions by the high and mighty in various forums that we, the common citizens of this nation watch with anticipation but do not really relish. Each and every single one on the panel has plenty of ideas about what others have to do to set things right.

An often touted post blast statement reminds us of the fact that while the united states has been able to prevent any such incident post 9/11 while there are incidents galore in our nation. True, but such indictments have to be viewed in light of the fact that no sector in the nation can excel in isolation. It is also rather unfortunate that each and every single one of us expects sterling performance from others and has advice galore on how matters can be improved in all areas other than the ones under his direct control.

Multiplicity of agencies and diffused authority can only complicate matters, not resolve them. Unfortunately even this basic premise is generally not appreciated by the high and mighty of this nation. And we are going ahead with creation of more agencies everyday. The proposed Lokpal is another example. One more thana, one more naka, one more checkpoint like so many others that demand and receive obeisance from the masses.

Despite regular visits to developed nations, our political and bureaucratic masters pick up nothing from them, except perhaps some freebies. These developed nations have moved forward because they have developed and implemented a governing machinery based on trust. Their machinery is simple and efficient, quite at contrast with what we have. And yet this simple fact is what our high and mighty miss during all their sojourns.

Perhaps there is something wrong with the hindu way of thinking. All of us expect godly miracles without us moving even a finger. And therefore while we have accusations and ideas galore, the nation keeps on sitting tight where it is without moving forward even an inch.