Standards that are not: Inefficient Bureaucracy

It is common knowledge that there are a set of standards laid down by the Government, both central and various state governments, for taking up any activity whatsoever in India, may be with the exception of art to some extent.

Take for instance, you want to build a home or a commercial building or a road or a bridge or anything, there are specific standards along with certain mandatory requisites. You want to run a school or a college or a hotel or a bar and restaurant you will encounter set of stringent mandatory govt guidelines, which if not adhered to, can be a source of legal action against you. There is actually nothing in the public space without adequate governmental laid down standards in India controlled both by the state and the centre. Good for ensuring quality and safety, one may think.

There are various govt departments and agencies to monitor all such mandatory guide lines for maintaining laid down standards, There is ISI, BSI to set standards, and whole host of inspecting agencies to verify the standards are met or not and ready to penalize the offender.

Amongst all these stringent standards and mandatory guidelines you will be shocked to know that it is the very govt which is found wanting in ensuring its own set standards and guidelines in all its activities.

Look out for a govt school running without adequate staff and toilet facilities, no play grounds, collapsing walls, no nursery, packed class rooms, unhealthy kitchens for mid day meal, no proper drinking water and many such mandatory standards missing in Toto. But the very education department concerned, both with the responsibility of running and ensuring standards is the culprit with no or little action against the officials concerned. Similar is the case with a govt office. The building will be in a dilapidated condition or will be short of basic facilities or no public facilities available at all. Still merrily the govt offices function. Administration of all set standards goes on uninhibited from such below standard offices. Such a scenario can be extrapolated to most of the govt functions.

If this is not an irony in our democracy what else one can call it? Remember it is the responsibility of the officers belonging to Indian Administrative Service cadre at both centre and states to ensure that first the govt itself maintains the standards and honors all guidelines which has been set up by the very same people of IAS. In fact while politicians come and go, it is the IAS officers who hold the reins of administration continually and continuously throughout their career. Is it wrong to question both their ability to ensure and maintain both the standards and mandatory guidelines when it comes to Govt departments? Undoubtedly failure to maintain the standards and guidelines in govt departments should wholly and squarely rest on the shoulders of IAS officers heading such departments. They should be made accountable. Only then our govt institutions will find some semblance of a school or an office or whatever it was meant to be.
Waiting for that to happen with all my hopes…it may still happen in India if the IAS really becomes true administrative cadre and not Indian Authoritative Service which it is at present.