On bureaucratic reform, the Modi government doesnt have to reinvent the wheel. It could start by implementing some of the exhaustive recommendations of the
15-volume report of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC), set up in 2005 under the chairmanship of M. Veerappa Moily. Even a casual review of the governments decisions on the recommendations is enough to show how little progress has been made. For instance, in order to simplify transactions, the commission recommended single-window clearances and that the principle of positive silence (if an application is not processed within the stipulated time period, the licence is deemed to have been granted) be adopted. Elsewhere, the report suggests each public-facing department make a list of its activities that involve an element of discretion, which should then be minimised.
The focus of reform should not be on the upper echelons of policymaking and bureaucracy alone. Most citizens only ever deal with class three-level bureaucrats.
Service delivery, which impacts the lowest common enominator, needs to be overhauled. In this context, the Modi governments decision to push for self-attestation of documents and minimise the use of affidavits is a step in the right direction.