Let us Respond to the Change………….
The recent ruling of Monger District Court on the Gyalpozhing Land scam is a land mark judgment at the District level ever since our country’s historic transition to a constitutional democracy- a transition that we as the citizen have mostly witnessed is the principles of governance which otherwise must flourish along with the democratization of society. A merely five years old democracy has gone to a length to manifest itself many note worthy insights to be served as a guiding principles for charting our future course of action. It is worth noting that Government, judiciary and all forms of socio-political institutions must sail through a democratic culture within which citizens exercise their constitutional rights empowered by information and knowledge driven age. It has been noted that citizens lend more ears to the issues of governance than to their immediate neighborhoods, to their enemies than to their acquaintances. It has also been noted that citizens keep their eyes on every functions of the administrative state unleashed by an idea of ‘welfarism’ hardly leaving any or no tolerance for maladministration, complacency, compromise or status quoism. At times citizens also feel that they must heavily rely on the government for their governance against which disillusionment easily grow if the governance practices are not up to the agreed charter. This is precisely because of growing consciousness among citizens about governmental actions and performance to which citizens harbor their expectations and aspirations. The governance therefore can no longer be a static framework, but must continually subject to redefining, reorienting its goals and objective conducive to the changing social, political, economic and cultural environment. Against this backdrop, let me just humbly comment on recent ruling of Gyalpozhing land scam in the light of behavioral aspect of committee systems in our administration. The archaic style of committee system concerning its nature, scope, role and composition including general notion of committee members still predominates the culture of our committees of today. Institutionalization of committee system for different matters apart from executive power of executives is to see whether the issue at hand is considered with merit of the cases with impersonal rules- meaning whether values exercised by individual member is kept at neutral or not while taking cognizance of the cases. But be it at the Dzongkhag level or at the Gewog, the instrument of committee is just being used as safeguards against possible future reprimand or adverse ramifications of the matters considered unilaterally or by some other means in the name of committee. Generally in our management practice, one way flow of communication- mostly downward in any sphere of administration still persists and this has eluded the democratic way of arriving at the decisions, particularly in our committee system that scarcely tolerated reverse communications. In most cases, decisions taken by committee manifest the nature of unilateral decision of the Chair- in the sense that the chair overrides the member’s opinions and in turn members positively credit the chair with better understanding of the issues. Members may have raised conflicting opinions against the opinion of the chair and often bold members might have done it, but scarcely members refrained it for fear of serious ramifications such as prejudice, alienation from association in their career services. On the composition front, besides being lacking in some elements of consistency and conformity, members sometimes did have participated even without proper understanding on the issues of the subject simply provides his or her endorsement to the decisions. This is what I personally feel about where our committees in most cases stand today. Many such practices (some undemocratic in nature and some non responsive and obsolete practices incapable of changing environment) that does not conform to the spirit of modern bureaucracy yet awaited exposure sooner or later as we know democratic system of governance has all five sensory organs. Let us all learn that it is imperative to accord democratic outlook to any matter we consider and guided by principles of good governance assertions. Further, exposure alone does not serve as remedy for rectification of the system unless we attend to the lapses consistently and provide prescriptive exercises to the observed lapses. In essence, it is a beacon to the nation that appropriate restructuring and reorganization conducive to the changing environment must be considered and initiated. Best practices our OD exercises be continued and in addition to which an administrative reform commission be instituted suitable to our administrative need for reviewing and recommending required changes needed to the existing administrative structure with special emphasis on our bureaucracy. For bureaucracy if controlled and managed well, it is an inevitable carrier of development administration, but it is also associated with multifarious evils, if entrenched, very difficult to reverse.
From: Gandi Nagar: Gujarat, India
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