Eradicating corruption- new approach

09/06/2011

Corruption at political and official level can be eliminated even without any new laws and regulations,institutions or authorities, if the existing regulations are strictly followed,the audit is undertaken at more frequent intervals and more thoroughly and a few minor amendments are made to the regulations. The office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India should have more staff to have more frequent and thorough audit. In the 2G spectrum case, as soon as the order was issued in the first case, audit could have called for the files and pointed out the mistakes which they have done later, thereby preventing issue of further orders/orders in other cases.

In the name of facilitating quick decisions, initial examination is done at a fairly high level- at the level of Director/Joint Secretary in the central government and decision is made at secretary/minister level. It would be useful if as in the past all important cases are initially processed at the level of Assistant, and pass through Section Officer. Under Secretary, Deputy Secretary, Director, Joint Secretary, Additional Secretary and Secretary to the Minister.

There are various checks and balances in place in the Government. It may not be out of place to mention that all orders are issued by officials in the name of the President and the ministers have no power to issue any order. As of now, a Minister or Secretary to the government has no powers to create even a post of Class IV( Peon.) There is a procedure to be followed for this. Clerical and senior posts cannot be filled up without the consent of the Public Service Commission. No Financial sanction can be issued with retrospective effect. Orders with financial implications cannot be issued without the concurrence of the Finance Ministry or its representatives.

In India, constitutional authorities like Judges of the Courts, the Comptrollrr and Auditor General of India, the members of Election Commission of India, members of UPSC etc are known for functioning independent of government. They are not eligible for further offices either under the Government of India or under the Government of any State after retirement.However,they are eligible for appointment as Governors.(Former Comptroller and Auditor General of india, former Chairman of UPSC were Governors). It may perhaps be useful, to consider if it would be constitutional to make these authorities ineligible for appointment as Governors.


Bharat Bandh uncalled for

05/07/2010

Increase in diesel, petrol, cooking gas prices should lead only to a marginal or negligible increase in overall prices as:

a) The price of diesel was increased by Rs.2 per litre i.e. by around 6%. The cost of diesel in the truck freight charges is only about 40-50%, the balance being the cost of driver, cleaner, depreciation and profit margin. Thus the freight charges should increase only by about 2.4% – 3%.

 b)transport charges in the retail cost of any product is only 5- 10%, the major components being cost of raw materials, interest rates, depreciation, profit margin, wages & salaries, tax, advertisement charges etc. Thus the fuel price increase should lead to general price rise of just 0.12 to 0.30% i.e. if the retail price of a product was Rs.100, it should cost now only Rs.100.12- Rs.100.30 i.e just 12 -30 paise more, which is definitely negligible.

c)In the case of  auto rickshaws, one litre of petrol gives about 25 kilometers for which the charges are around Rs.150. After price increase it could go up to only Rs.152 or just 1.67%.

 d)in the case of private use of motorcycles, assuming an average consumption of 10 litres (traveling about 800 to 1000 km) per month by a person with an income of Rs.20000 per month, his expenses on petrol will go up by just Rs.35 only i.e less than 0.2% of his income which again is negligible.

 e) cooking gas price has gone up by 10% but average consumption in a  family per month is just 1 cylinder or increase in expenses is only Rs.35 or less than 0.2% of the monthly income.

 f) overall additional expenses for a middle class family shall not be even 1% and this every one can easily absorb

 g) the interest rates had drastically come down recently(by about 4 percentage points) as a measure of reversing the economic slow down. Truck owners, auto rickshaw owners, and manufacturers who usually get finance from banks save a substantial amount on this account. They can easily afford to absorb the additional expenses due to fuel price increase, in stead of passing on the same to the customer. Even if they pass on the additional cost to consumer, consumer’s burden is negligible.

 h) the common man, who works under employment guarantee scheme got an increase of 25% in wages, from Rs.80 to Rs.100 three months ago. So he should not have any problem in meeting less than 1% increase in cost of living.

 i)the increase in salaries of central and several state government and public sector undertaking employees on account of 6th  Pay Commission as also income tax liberalization will enable employees to bear the additional expenses without any difficulty.

 In view of the above, it appears that Bharat Bandh is uncalled for. At the same time the government should restrain truck owners from increasing their charges/prices on the pretext of fuel price increase, beyond 3%, auto rickshaw owners and taxi owners beyond 2%, and manufacturers beyond 1%.


Inadequate Government Staff

24/08/2009

The majority of government employees in India is not fully devoted to duty. There are avoidable and long delays in rendering services. However, even if all the staff put in 8 hours of devoted duty, there would still be delays and work to attend to. Contrary to widespread belief, there is need for more public service staff.

According to government statistics, the staff strength in various governments in India is as below;

Source: Government of India Statistics

Source: Government of India Statistics

Consider the central government, the Indian Railways and Ministry of Communications together employ about 2.4 million employees. This leaves only 1.0 million employeesto deal with the remaining innumerable issues!

Unfortunately the 5th Pay Commission, instead of recommending an increase in staff strength, has recommended reduction in staff. Malaysia with a population of less than 25 million has government staff strength of 0.85 million. At this rate, India for its population of over1,150 million should have an employees strength of about 40 million, i.e. about twice the present strength.

Canada with a population of about 30 million employs 28.5 million staff in government services at federal, provincial and municipal levels. For central government service, Canada employs 500,000 staff. At a comparable rate in India, the central government should have 16 million employees, but it has less than 4 million. Similarly, the total government and quasigovernment employees should be 80 million against the present strength of 20 million.

During 1995 in Japan, the ratio of civil servants (employees of national and local governments and public enterprises) to the total population was 3.8%.  The ratio was 7.5% in the United States and 9.7% in France, but in India, it was only 2%.

In order to avoid delays and render quick and quality service, it is necessary for India to increase the number of government employees.