How about downsizing the government?
The so called Civil Society guys keep saying we must get rid of corruption. They think Lokpal will help. But I think Lokpal comes into the picture after the act is done! We have to think of how to stop opportunities for corruption.
The best way may be to downsize the government itself! We have to my mind too many ministries at the Central government level and many of this need to be shut down. Recently I asked this question to Dr Virmani who knows the ways of f the government and he said all where the real work is at the state level and I think all administrative ones as well.
So we can do away with I &B, Steel and Mines, Chemicals and Fertilizers, Heavy industry, Aviation, Railways, Telecom, Oil & natural Gas and many others. We can convert Railway into an independent Corporation and slowly privatise it.
The administrative ones that essentially make sure that the PSUs can never function independently are useless. We need to empower the boards of these companies and let them be free. The government should stop giving them budgetary support as they can raise money on the strength of their balance sheet. They can get into partnership with the Pvt Sector if they so desire. Ultimately the government should sale its stake in these companies.
If we do this we can cut a lot of bureaucracy and that will lead to huge savings and will cut off a lot of red tape and that will improve inefficiency.
In the in sectors where a regulator is already in place there is no need of a ministry. We must stop appointing bureaucrats as regulators. Experts must be appointed and they must be held accountable. In telecom for example had the power to decide whether to auction or not should have been with the regulator, same goes for coal.
I believe Modi has turned around many PSUs in Gujrath, will he be bold to do it in Delhi? If he does this he would have done a great deal.
The fifth and sixth pay commissions have increased the salaries of government employees handsomely and now the seventh pay commission is in place. These pay commissions have done some work on administrative reforms but the implementation is tardy or non-existent. I have heard this many times- Since salaries are increased and there is no performance evaluation that will lead to loss of jobs for inefficient the productivity has actually decreased.
We must also stop the present system of increasing pensions by linking them to inflation. The pension must be fixed on the last salary drawn and should remain at that level. Today I know many government employees who are drawing two or three times more pension that the last salary drawn by them.
Once this exercise is completed at the Center it should be replicated at state level. States should be encouraged to do this on their own and if they don’t it should be enforced through the Finance Commission.
We the so called enlightened educated, intelligent citizens must take the lead in forcing the government to downsize itself as the most important reform carried out in our country. Our government servants at all levels are highly pampered and most do not deliver. We have tried the carrot by way way fifth and sixth pay commission now is the time for the Stick.
Any government that dares to do this will have created tremendous support and goodwill for itself amongst the citizens of the country.
The question is will the new government have the guts and vision to this. Will we use all forums to press the government to do this?