By S PAUL
“A vision is not just a picture of what could be; it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more.” Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Professor at Harvard Business School.
A great ‘revolution’ has taken place due to the pandemic. It has brought about many revelations about our current outlook on life that made us take so many things for granted. This nation’s future can now be remodeled based on this new outlook of our social fabric and not on the usual world standard of advancement by way of industrial/ corporate growth. An improved social structure in Bharat can be sans class and caste distinction conducive to a healthy, pollution and stress-free nation. Perhaps a revival of the ancient Vedic culture based on division of labour, gaining expertise in one’s vocation and functioning from one’s home turf to benefit the entire society.
Our focus should now be entirely on the backbone of our society and our economy, which is, our rural based work force and agriculture-based enterprises. For all our urban based ventures, we need both skilled and some unskilled human power. I say ‘some unskilled’ because for all our urban industrial and commercial enterprises our accent should now be on Robotics and IT backed automation; but the unskilled human power is needed as housekeeping help and contracted labour for short term projects. There should be no more ‘migratory seekers’ of a better life. The current mass movement of the migratory work force is such a shameful and unplanned occurrence that shows the capability or utter lack of it’ among our administrators and elected ministers. Can anyone tell us whether any kind of statistics is available on all these unchecked incursions into a planned urban habitat by our ‘better life seeking’ rural population? Why should such migration be permitted from rural to urban areas to start with?
It is also the arrogance of our elected leaders not to pay heed to the expert and experienced advice and warnings of such unplanned movements causing such untoward exigencies in our country. Perhaps they do it intentionally and selfishly to create their vote bank in unauthorised JJ Colonies in urban areas that can be easily and cheaply bought and to save the ‘hassle’ of roaming from village to village asking for votes during elections. The sycophantic bureaucrats let the netas get away with it in order to promote their own interests. The treatment of our labour force who, like any human beings just desired to be back in their homes, is appalling. The deaths caused due to mishandling of this massive movement makes our government as cruel as that of China where millions are sacrificed without batting an eyelid. Rushing to get our NRIs back by air and sea, who actually brought the Virus into our country, was preferred to helping our poor migrants, who were rendered bereft of their residences and livelihood by their employers, trying to reach their rural abodes. The government cared for the cream but neglected to keep the milk from spilling.
We now necessarily need to address this rural based section of our society and aim to keep them in their rural abodes. Merely releasing grants or loans in aid, a onetime measure, is not going to help achieve this. “Give a Man a Fish, and You Feed Him for a Day. Teach a Man To Fish, and You Feed Him for a Lifetime.” This can be achieved by keeping our rural population gainfully engaged in their own villages. Also providing city like facilities in new planned townships nearer to these villages at district levels having educational, skill training facilities and also facilities for loans, insurance and guidance for recruitment of contracted labour. Well educated, confidant, healthy and sturdy youth, both, male and female, nurtured at village levels would then also be a bank of human power for all our ultra modern Security Forces.
A corresponding effort is needed in urban /industrial areas to make this rural based effort a success. The cities must not permit any more shameful mushrooming of slums like ‘Dharavi’. Any contracted manpower must be, by law, provided with proper approved and planned accommodation and sustenance during exigencies as the present one.
Both, the permanent advisory administrative echelon of bureaucracy and their elected bosses, have been functioning on the basis of ‘a peg of all shapes fitted forcibly in round holes’; thereby distorting the shape of the holes itself. Both this essential part of governance needs to be remodeled. The ‘yes minister’ type of administrative ilk as practiced by the British rulers, raised from young brilliant minds with no maturity and experience, does not fit the type of democratic governance of our nation. It needs specialists in each kind of need based governance, the factor that has been used to establish our distinct ministries. Such specialisation can only be available through the managerial staff of ministries with not less than 5 or more years of ‘grinding their heels’. It is this lot that must be given the opportunity to be selected through UPSC and then trained at LBSNAA to be absorbed as bureaucrats. The direct entry of youth for such specialised responsible posts should be stopped and only these staff entry bureaucrats may be laterally shifted after again qualifying through suitable courses/attachments.
The under consideration tenure of civilian bureaucrats to serve for 3 years with defence forces may be a good idea for inculcating and improving their expertise, vision and character but it is not sufficient for the future bureaucrat to become more useful in his/her trade. Three years just covers one type of exposure which is either an executive (field) or a staff posting. They should be given a short service commission after fulfilling the basic criteria and put in uniform for a minimum of 5 years through two tenures. This kind of stint should not be only for those from other ministries but reciprocal for SS and selected Regular officers of the armed forces, too. The SS officers then can be absorbed in the bureaucracy after clearing their UPSC and courses in the LBSNAA. As for the square peg in round hole elected leadership, very drastic election reforms are needed. This aspect is a matter of exhaustive study and has to be very thoroughly thrashed out.
The other very massively contributed national service by our village populace are our security forces. As for the leadership of the defence forces, the officer entry needs a complete rethink. The NDA entry should now be the only source for the hard core officers of the armed forces. The ease of getting through the NDA entrance exams has been made so achievable due to so many training and coaching institutes. Therefore, the quality of officer cadets has deteriorated. Their selection and training criteria need to be completely changed for producing very superior and special genre of soldier officers equipped with physical toughness, high intelligence, knowledge and OLQ (officers like qualities). The last most essential quality may be inherent or inculcated and can be honed with the help of very special training devised by our psychologists, aptitude specialists and veteran officers. In order to attract the youth of today from our civilian society to become leaders of ‘men’ in the most grueling situations, special incentives and perks have to be provided. Such an ilk of officers would be very necessarily needed in future to command highly skilled and educated lot of soldiers of our modern army including the space force, which may become essential for our survival as a nation. I wish the incumbent government lead by PM Modi considers this seriously.
I wish to caution the government that they should stop demeaning the armed forces further. The bulk of them are from this rural back ground and any more neglect or suppression of them may blow up into a peasant revolution supported by uncontrollable soldiers. These thoughts have been penned down for our intelligent readers to mull over and in their exalted capacities infuse in the minds of the planners of our country. “Hold the vision, trust the process.” Anonymous.