Letters to the editor
Bureaucracy to technocracy
Apropos of the report “Move to open up govt jobs for technocrats, specialists”, the Modi government is all about removing the usual, dated fetters. The dynamic thinking in the government is evident from its move to identify jobs within the government that require a high degree specialisation and expert knowledge and seek competent private sector personnel to fill these. With all flair for shaking up the structure to rid it of its loose, antediluvian concrete, Modi is raring to bring in a younger, smarter government. But then this is just addressing a part of the problem. Our government functions on leverages—if you know somebody in some government office or have, as it is put colloquially, an “approach”, your work in that government office will get done smoothly, free from all red tape hassles. This has led to private companies and bodies hiring entrenched, seasoned bureaucrats upon the latter’s superannuation, that too for obscene wages. These old babus are not necessarily more technically or knowledge-wise skilled than the corporate personnel whose ranks they join. The only skill they bring is their wile in working the government machinery. This is a shameful and abhorrent lay of the land. If Modi is looking for maximum efficiency, he must begin with clearing out the old bureaucratic methods—a Schumpeterian creative destruction—and make the process of hiring bureaucrats more favourable towards netting technocrats, not students of subjects like history, sociology and what not, which have no relevance in governance. These social sciences students should instead be pushed towards something like research.
Prahlad Bhasin, Mumbai
Taxation is no terror
In his column “Towards a friendly tax regime?” (November 15), Dinesh Kanabar makes a fine point when he writes that accountability amongst tax officials will only be instituted if the pressure of meeting revenue collection targets is dispensed with. But the problem is that if the fisc is to be considered, if the government has to budget for works that the private players, the wounded targets of these tax targets, find unprofitable to do, then setting revenue goals is unavoidable. And if these corporate taxpayers can look for tax holidays, they must also keep to the letter of the law (considering the widest interpretation possible) in calculating the tax they are liable to pay. It isn’t at all unfair or discriminatory on the part of the government to spot an opportunity and act on it. After all, that is the ethos of the private sector too, isn’t it?
Sumona Pal, Kolkata
Lower age cap for UPSC
The proposed move to lower the age cap and reduce the number of attempts for civil services examination is a step in the right direction. It will help induct true talent into the civil service. There are many who spent lot of years to clear the exam, but to no avail. So, lowering the age cap and the number of attempts will help them search for another job. But it would be better if the reforms are implemented from 2016 onwards as many who are above the age bar have started preparations for the 2015 exam.
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