Need to strengthen system, not individuals!

Need to strengthen system, not individuals!

- in Analysis, Governance, Special Post

Indian way of governance has many great features and serious lacunae as well. Its great features keep Indian system afloat against all odds, while the increasing dependence on individuals for miracles is a bad omen for us. A perception is fast gaining ground in the country that the system in India has become ineffective. It is individuals who matter the most. How effectively a hospital or a college or an organisation can be run is dependent on the character and calibre of the individual at the helm of affairs and not the system, which has been put in place in sync with the rules and norms and other Constitutional provisions so that the responsibility is fixed when things go haywire. Since the culture of fixing responsibility is not so strong in India, no one owns up the responsibility if the system collapses.

If miracles take place, then the head of the organisation is lauded. Similarly, if there is a sudden fall in the incidents of crime in the city or the district, the head of the police is lauded and if the situation worsens, then he is berated but the responsibility is not fixed, at best he is shifted and that too when there is so much noise and pressure. Even here the system of policing takes the back seat. In an ideal situation, things should have been entirely different. The system of policing should be so fine-tuned that patrolling, identification of crime prone areas, creating awareness among the people to check minor crimes, ever active vigilance to keep corrupt practices under check and so on. It applies to all other departments too. Such things are never done so prominently and most of the time take the backseat if the boss has a different orientation. As a result, the cult figures emerge where people are forced to worship or hold them in high esteem because they are seen as their saviours.

Unfortunatley even in political governance, individuals are considered to be more important than the system. In democratic governance too, individuals get more importance than the system. In the US, the system and the individuals holding important positions have to work in tandem with each other. Neither of the two is allowed to work in a unilateral manner. There has to be coherence between the two to get the desired results. In China, the system is more important than individuals. This does not mean that individuals do not impact the system or lack
freedom to work aggressively. However, they cannot sit idle as the system does not allow them to be workless, visionless or actionless. The moment you hold a position, the Communist system in China is so fine-tuned, you get into the action mode immediately and remain so till you demit the office.

It is not to suggest that India should adopt China model of governance within its own democratic structure, but the day is not far off when the system will become irrelevant in India if individuals holding executive, judiciary or legislative positions generate more hope than the system itself. It will be disastrous for the nation and the common man. Our democratic institutions are crumbling today. Justice delayed, justice denied—has become the order of the day, while people’s basic aspirations to have minimum quality health and education facilities are dying a natural death. If an orchestrated impression is given about an individual or individuals that they hold the magic stick for our emancipation from the clutches of poverty and all round backwardness, then only God can save us from the imminent ruin.

(The writer is an independent commentator on socio-economic andpolitical issues. Views are his personal)

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