Friday, January 17, 2014

Not political head

Anything extreme is poison is a common saying that we all have heard during our school days or read it somewhere. In Germany nationalism is not considered good thing because of Nazi’s extremities with nationalism. Not singing national anthem is not a big thing (A link is attached at the bottom you can read it). People are cautious about display of nationalism!

 I believe documentaries can be good tutors. It explains a lot within an hour from spinning electrons to world-wars! Nevertheless the purpose of writing this blog is not to discuss the documentaries. Economy politics and culture are very closely woven knit. I believe fundamental science (and of course mathematics) is the only independent function and to certain extend in long run it is the fundamental science that forms an onto function with politics! I will explain how.

Fundamentals of science are independent of any policies, it has nothing to do with whether a country has FDI or not! It is this fundamental when it translates into engineering works policies are required. To derive E = MC2 no policies were required but to develop it into nuclear power plant policies are required! So from here we can infer that we need policy makers from different walks of life. Certainly a specialist can do the job in better way in much targeted way.

Now lets look at how our government functions. We live in a democratic country so there is no question of other forms of government. Now this can be further divided in Westminster style ( our parliamentary style ) or the Presidential form (eg: USA). Our Ministers are head of the executive i.e. each ministry is headed by a MP. These ministers constitute the cabinet ministers. In USA the President selects his cabinet with the consent of the senate. So the President has a free hand in selecting eminent personalities in his cabinet.
Now our parliamentary system can be very effective if we have very eminent parliamentarians so that the probability of eminent ministers is always high. Unfortunately this is not the case in India. At the time of writing the constitution it was discussed which model to follow Presidential or Westminster. Since we were British colony and in the past during the British Raj seen the Westminster style our framers preferred the latter. But this system has a flaw especially when the parliamentarians are not very eminent. Now lets get into the specifics. In USA the Secretary (Minister in our system) of Energy is Ernest Moniz who is physicist from MIT while in our country Department of atomic energy is with Dr Manmohan Singh! Farooq Abdulla is heading ministry of new and renewable energy!  Their Secretary of education has managed many schools he was CEO of Chicago Public Schools (it manages more than 400 schools). The list is very large.

My point is that neither our ministers nor the secretaries are expert in either of the department. Both of them manage their departments. I think barring few ministries like Finance (Since 1991 reforms) most of the departments are headed by non-experts. Its only the Finance ministry which has seen ministers since 1991 (look at the link below) who had some experience in finance. I think many will agree that E Sreedharan (Metro Man!) who had long experience in railway can be a very good railway minister or railway secretary.
Like I said above it is necessary for either one of Minister or Secretary (who is normally an IAS) to be an expert in that field. Even the finance secretary is not an IRS but an IAS. Same is the case with CAG. There is a different service called Indian Accounts and Auditing Service (IAAS) but the CAG is an IAS. The pathetic case of PSU can be attributed to too much red tapism. Not long back most of the PSU were headed by IAS and not by a person who is expert of that particular industry! Even the state electricity boards in many states are too headed by IAS just like the Delhi Jal Board. The list of such inefficiencies is very long but I hope you got my point.

China too is not progressing by fluke. They too follow same strategy. Their finance minister is Lou Jiwei who too is an economist.

Even in states the government should scrap most of the departments and make it more of Presidential form where CM is more important. This way you can increase accountability and efficiency. Anyways in todays perspective state elections are more or less personality driven. So it should not be a problem. Below i have attached a lecture by Arun Shourie on the same


If we don’t check the inefficiency then we too may end up being Mexico with rich and developed neighbour China.