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Monday, June 25, 2012

Making things happen

I often wonder where we went wrong in the last sixty five years. Why despite a stable democratic system inherited after centuries of foreign rule and oppression, Bharatvarsh did not really take off? Why, on the economic front we are still at the bottom of the list of nations. Why even basic infrastructure like decent roads and highways were non-existent till now, and it required a major resolve to start building them at a pace unimaginable, only a couple of years earlier. How is it that every Bharatvasi who leaves our shores becomes a success story, despite being an abysmal failure in his own motherland? Why, Why, Why, Why and Why. These Why’s, I think will haunt me to my grave.

Yes we all have to start questioning and start asking why? Isn’t it ridiculous that in the system we live in, a procedure or a rule or a policy is easily and almost always allowed to take overriding priority over deliverance? Isn’t it equally ridiculous that the same system lays such a strong premium on non-deliverance that at times the achievers stand the risk of being victimized. And in the process, deliverance suffers and has suffered in the first sixty five years of the existence of a free Bharatvarsh.

My first discourse on deliverance was after my visit to Germany in 1991 where I thought, I unraveled the secret of deliverance and then shared the experiences with my wife and all who came in contact with me. During visits to German locomotive builders whose productivity was fifty times ours, I understood why the purchasing power of an average German was as many times that of a Bharatvasi. And this ratio of fifty was not due to just technology. The major factor was an enthused human being who delivered for the eight hours he worked as opposed to remaining or appearing busy for eight hours. The crux is delivery, not deliberation and the sooner we understand this as an individual, as a society and as a nation and relate it to our capacity to purchase even household items of everyday necessity, the better.

Over three decades of being wedded to sarkar has left me thoroughly confused. In the hallowed sector, one is generally assessed by how busy he remains, how rule and procedure oriented he is and how subservient he is. How productive one is, generally remains immaterial unless it is to be twisted and used against him. Procedure orientation is welcome but output orientation is considered an unacceptable trait, and delivery, if at all it happens is always looked at with suspicion. Cutting across a plethora of official buildings spread all over the country, one comes across a sea of babus, who appear busy but have no interest whatsoever in delivery and are therefore not delivering. And if deliverance happens, it is more by chance, less by choice. And so we have become a rashtra of non-achievers. A rashtra where anything happening is considered an achievement and so one has all the foundation and inaugural stone ceremonies galore for things, which should have been there as a matter of routine.

“Make things simple to happen” and then things will happen. Things will happen at the hands of even the so-called average and mediocre and then the country would have no option other than taking off for the big league. Unfortunately the primitive feudal mindset still continues. During the British rule we were slaves, and the system was accordingly designed to make untrustworthy slaves work. Why we are still carrying on with the same system is what I am unable to fathom. The same old system, which required a hundred thumb impressions for a job as trivial as even buying a spoon, continues. The same old system where everyone is considered unworthy of trust and you have to have a countersignature over the signature of every responsible person continues. Somehow we have ended up believing in and therefore practicing “Make things impossible to happen” as the solution to all ills including the all-pervasive corruption. I quite often wonder why we don’t make it easy to do things. Why even simple matters spin out of control requiring phenomenal effort to execute? Why things happen so easily in the developed and even the developing countries and never happen in our motherland? Why our motherland even after fifty years of independence is still grappling with primary issues like water, electricity and housing? Why we can make one rocket and one atom bomb beautifully and fail in mass quality production of even petty items? Why projects initiated with great fanfare are found rotting only after a couple of months? All this, I feel is because we have made doing anything impossible. I really dream that the country would one day adopt the philosophy of “Make things simple to happen”. 

If even buying a spoon is a project, how will factories and powerhouses get built? And therefore as a first step there is a need to de-complicate the over complex decision making process. And I am not talking only about the big decisions. Even petty decisions at the field level also require being de-complicated. Let us reduce the number of thumb impressions per decision. Let us if possible eliminate or drastically reduce files. This will radically improve productivity, fix accountability and in the process eliminate corruption. Everyone will then be fully accountable for his or her acts of omission or commission and will either pay the price for non-deliverance or enjoy the fruits of achievement besides standing the risk of immediate exposure for acts of impropriety. Another step is to de-complicate the complex mechanism of contracting. Our contractual procedures are so harrowing that ultimately one ends up purchasing poor quality products and services at unreasonably high and sometimes unworkable prices, and also in the process creating ample opportunities for loot. Let us for once accept that our decision-making processes and the contractual mechanisms have failed the country and therefore deserve to be overhauled.

The remarkable book “Maverick” by Ricardo Semmler tells us about a multi billion dollar organization, which has no policies, no rulebooks and believes in absolute delegation. The employees decide their own wage, decide their timings of work, take decisions about production and create their own working environment. And instead of bringing about a chaos, which we Bhartvasis believe such a system shall, the organization is growing at an annual rate of more than 40%, besides being rated as a model organization in Brazil. If structured and complicated decision making systems, strong procedure oriented budgeting systems, elaborate vigilance setups and an over bearing bureaucracy has brought the country to the present situation, we would be better off without them.

Let us make things simple to happen and then they will happen. 


  1. Why, why are u so puzzled Mr Turnaround? The reason is so obvious and anybody and everybody knows this. CORRUPTION, CORRUPTION AND CORRUPTION, which has swallowed the whole country.

    From Peon to MD, corporator, MLA, Leaders, even a miniscule political worker...... everybody is having his/her cut, cut from the private service/works provider whether it be for construction of road, toilet, study, training, placement of BPL, getting subsidies, getting simple NOCs from departments for setting up industry, anything you think of, where government procurement (of Goods/works/services) or any government person is invloved (for e.g traffic police, police for lodging FIR, etc). And this 'cut' may vary from 3% to 70%. Yes.... even 70%. And even after paying this hefty amount, there is no gurantee that the service provider will get his money for the task done. How and what do you expect after that?

    If you are not corrupt, your subordinates are. You can keep them under control for sometime.... but not for ever.

    India does not lack anything.... atleast not funds for the development.... but leakages.... leakages are so much.... that hardly anything reaches to the real beneficiaries.

    What can you and i do? We need a Hitler, for the good cause... for the real turnaround of this country. We need courage to openly slap these corrupts.

    How many of us have guts?????? And how many have guts to support them?

    Honest & courageous people command respect.... but these lions often walk alone.... without true supporters.

  2. I disagree with you mr.anonymous ! The key to progress is to keep pushing the envelope ! Not sitting cynical on unwarranted scourges ! It's the 'minisculed' individuals who not only display maverick guts but end up refining their peripheral environment (read system) .

  3. I am more than happy Mr Shobhit, if you are able to clean the system. keep it up. Let us make it a MLM (Multi-level Marketing)- You be honest and encourage atleast 10 people to be honest and ask these 10 to do 10 each and so on.
    Please comment Mr Turnaround!

    1. I agree. But also pl have a look at all the places of my postings where we could affect major changes including cleaning up the places to a major extent. Talk to my men there and you shall get an answer.

    2. Dear Sir, I agree with you. your posting at Delhi division has been an example of how to get things done in the right way. The results were visible even to the customers (which the rlys often assumes to be non-existent).Yes, processes need to be simplified so that it becomes easier for the honest officer to perform effectively without fear of being harassed by vigilance cases tomorrow