Former President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said that bureaucracy is the biggest hurdle in development and need to be rectified.
Delivering the concluding part of his lecture series as a guest faculty for the “Public Policy for Inclusive Development of India” course at IIM-Ahmedabad, the former President said, “Bureaucracy is the biggest hurdle of our development, and we must rectify it. I do not mean that bureaucracy has not made its contribution but at the same time it has to keep in mind that the world is changing very fast and we shall have to keep abreast of this change; adjust ourselves, adapt ourselves, make it flexible so that we can formulate and articulate our policy. No system in the world can function without the appropriate institutional mechanism.”
He referred to the civil services as the one that find ways on how to put obstructions, how to find out excuses and not to move.
Another problematic aspect of our governance is the “isolationism” and the bureaucratic system has adopted a system of thinking in silos, he added.
“Bureaucracy, political bureaucracy also has the capacity of creating its hierarchy… In India, real executive is the collective body — the Cabinet accountable to Parliament which is again a collective body, parliament is accountable to people therefore there has to be a massive decentralisation,” he said.
Speaking about the role of Parliament, he said it is to debate, discuss and finally decide. “But what we are seeing in our Parliament instead of debating, deciding and even dissenting we have developed another D-disruption which was never contemplated in the functioning of Parliament,” he said, calling it a “breach of voters’ trust”.
While speaking about the demographic dividend as the country’s strength, Mukherjee underlined a word of caution. “Demographic dividend can turn into demographic disaster if not utilised. This huge number of working forces with adequate training and skill development. In other words, 500 million skilled workers have to be produced by 2022. This target has been reduced, earlier it was more than 500 million this is the reduced target. Only three years are left and we must speed it up,” he said.