Skip to main content

India’s Bureaucratic Albatross

I am glad to see today (February 22, 2010) a blog by Tavleen Singh entitled India’s bureaucratic albatross in which he describes his frustrations and observations in his dealings with the bureaucracy in government departments in Delhi. As one who returned to India in 1995 after 30 years in the U.S. , and now having dealt with both rural and urban government officials at the state level, you can imagine what I have been going through to accomplish anything that needs government approval or assistance. I have described my experiences in India Untouched: The Forgotten Face of Rural Poverty and subsequent blogs. It is my conviction that the root of poverty in India is set in bad governance – inefficiency, bad planning, terrible procedures and systems, corruption and favoritism. Use of modern technology might speed up some work, but unless bad attitude, lack of accountability and arrogance of power can be offset by the power of the people, there is no hope. When senior officials and politicians are only interested in maintaining their power at any cost, and are able to do so, nothing good will happen.

I started a journalism college – the best in India today (see www.iijnm.org) – to train young people to investigate and write about these and other ills in India. Unfortunately, editors, senior managers, and owners are unwilling to write about government practices beyond superficial reporting on some scandal that is of political interest. The media is also part of the problem – their reluctance to reveal the truth about ourselves.


By Dr. Abraham George. Please visit us at www.shantibhavanonline.org and www.tgfworld.org

Comments

Eapen Chacko said…
So, Dr. George, how does the logjam get broken? You've started a journalism school, but will you have to start your own media outlet so that your graduates can apply their skills to a free and inquiring media outlet? It seems as if we're endlessly talking about the same issues, but where will the changes begin?
The journalism school we started (www.iijnm.org) has already turned out over 500 graduates who were taught the importance of investigative work. Unfortunately, most media institutions do not permit them to write stories that are critical of people in power. Hopefully this will change over time. Change must come from what we, as people, do ourselves to counterbalance the power of politicians and officials.

Popular posts from this blog

Simple Solutions to the Rural Education Crisis

It seems many people are trying to find innovative solutions to improving the quality of education in rural areas, especially among the poor. Since most rural children study at government-run schools, the focus of any effort to improve quality and performance must be on those institutions. Without waiting for the state government to act, NGOs can directly interact with the administrators of those schools, especially the headmasters, and village leaders to implement measures that can yield positive results. That is precisely what The George Foundation has been doing since 2004 in the 17 villages surrounding its own school, Shanti Bhavan.

Three years ago our foundation initiated a community development plan that included working with government-run schools in our area. Deverapalli Government School was the first one we took on, and within two years of starting the program, it was judged as the “best” in the district by the educational authorities. Based on this project and our Shanti Bha…

A Second Front

It has been quite a while since I wrote my last blog. For some reason, I had concluded that there wasn’t enough readership interest in my personal notes and critiques of the country’s system. But recently, a friend of mine who stumbled upon my earlier blogs urged me to continue. Moreover, I had promised in my last blog to write about my experiences as an artillery officer along India’s western border with Pakistan, but I hadn’t kept my word. So finally I made up my mind to venture into writing blogs once again. My medical leave following the dynamite explosion in which I was injured while at Se La Pass was to last six weeks. I had returned home to Trivandrum sufficiently frost bitten to have my large ear lobes and nose turn dark, and skin pealing like a snake’s scales. It was a central topic in several hilarious conversations with guests when they visited our home, and I had a lot of stories to tell about my adventures in the snow-covered mountains of the Himalayas. Everyone wanted to …

Rape, Incest and Other Contradictions

The recent Delhi rape incident has elevated national attention about nonconsensual sex and violence.There is no doubt that most reasonable people disapprove sexual violence against women. Yet, the picture about what constitutes rape is not clear in India. The subject is further complicated without any legal guidance on incest.
For the starter, let me briefly describe the laws in India. Marriage for girls is permitted after 18 (except Muslim girls who may marry at 15) and 21 for boys.  But many underage marriages take place, and the government does not intervene. Sex with a “minor wife” below the age of 15 is punishable. But no one bothers if a man marries a girl below 15 as long as the couple does not disclose that they had sex with each other.
There is no law in India concerning incest, often described as having sex between a parent and a child, or between siblings. If one is to believe ancient Indian writings, incest was not very uncommon. Today in India, sex with a close relative gir…