Project Killers

Sep 18 2013, 03:31 IST
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SummaryBureaucrats are to be judged more accurately, letís rank ministers on the basis of projects theyíve killed

If almost every bureaucrat gets a 9 out of 10, the Cabinet Secretary observed at Civil Services Day in April, and everyone is outstanding, then no one is outstanding. From that has emerged a new ranking system, one we are told is based on the Singapore model. Thatís great news since most concede bureaucrats on the island nation are amongst the most progressive in the world. One of the features of the new model, for instance, is that if an officer is given an outstanding rank, the assessing officer needs to give a specific instance of this performance. More details of the system are to be worked out and explained to all state governments later this month.

May we suggest an easier alternative, at least for critical ministries? Letís rank bureaucrats, and even ministers, on the basis of the value of the projects they stopped, or the NPAs they created by delaying project approvals. If the project is completed on time, these worthies can go out to their constituencies in May and claim they effectively blocked R50,000 crore worth of projects, or R70,000 crore worth of projects in some tribal area for instance. Whoever blocked more projects, obviously, is the more capable sipahi in Delhi, looking after the interests of the tribalsí God. Sadly, the IPCC report on global warming has been discredited, but another winning attribute could have been the amount of greenhouse gases whose generation was stopped with that awful aluminium plant shut down. Green ratings, basically.

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