52. Citizen and Administration: Discussion Questions

We shall discuss the following questions in this lesson:

1. Direct democracy is no longer possible; hence we have Participatory democracy
2. Democracy requires that we should keep a careful watch over the activities of the Administration.
3. Bureaucracy has a tendency to become a law unto itself.
4. Enlightened leadership is an essential element of democracy
5. Bureaucracy was a tool of the Raj during the days f colonialism
6. The concept of the Panchayat Raj is a step in the direction of promoting accountability and transparency,
7. Structural Reforms are aimed at making the bureaucracy responsible
8. The Right to Information , the Citizen’s Charter, the Lok Pal are important factors in improving the relationship between the Citizen and Administration.

19 thoughts on “52. Citizen and Administration: Discussion Questions

    1. Participative Democracy is a setup which allows us to achieve a certain degree of direct democracy i.e. people are consulted and their suggestions and inputs are heeded to, though the law will finally be made by their representatives and not the people themselves. For example, consider the Draft Telecom Policy that was put up on the Indian Government’s website for remarks and suggestion of the people. Similarly, when a section of the people have to be relocated/rehabilitated, they are the stakeholders and are hence to be consulted before any decision is made.

      Direct democracy is possible, but not at all levels. E.g. Gram Sabha

  1. 2. It is said that Eternal Vigilance is the price of liberty (Burke). How are we vigilant? The Arabs were known to be sleepy till the Arab Spring; most Indians do not go to vote. Why should we be vigilant

    1. Had we been vigilant, would the 2G scam have even be conspired? The answer is no. If it was not for Dr. Subramanium Swamy, 2G would have never seen the light of the day and we would have been continued to be fooled successfully. As sir puts it, the more negligent we become, the worse the government gets. “Yatha Praja, thatha RAJA”-pun intended

  2. 3. If the bureaucracy is not to become a law into itself and must get rid of its colonial mindset a great degree of public participation is necessary. Comment

    1. Lord Acton said, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. In an era of rising expectations, the bureaucracy has been thrust with an unprecedented responsibility and along with it a sense of supremacy has crept into the mindset of the bureaucrats. To eradicate this, the common man has to constantly remind the bureaucrats that at the end of the day, he is a civil servant and his job is to serve the people. This can be achieved only by a great degree of public participation, which in turn is a natural concomitant of eternal public vigilance. The mindset of the bureaucrats will not change until the mindset of the people changes.

  3. 4.Citizen participation requires enlightened leaders. How far do we find this enlightenment in our Bureaucrats, Political Leaders and Political Parties?

    1. My question is why have citizen participation if you have enlightened leaders? It is because of the absence of the former that the latter has become imperative. But again, reminiscent of the question that sir has asked in Q2 above, do we vote? So the quality of our leaders is not surprising.

    1. The answer is that there was no relationship. The administration was tyrannical and suppressive. The citizen was not considered to be a stakeholder-what public administration gurus profess. On the contrary he was impoverished by systemic laws and systematic looting. There is one thing which everyone wants to give but no one likes to take-advice. So the very people who advocated involving the citizen in governance were the last ones to implement it.

  4. 6. With independence there came about the need for a change in the relationship between the Citizen and Administration. How far did this change come about?

    1. A major chunk of what we find in the constitution today is taken from the Government of India Act, 1935. Therefore, what we find different in our constitution today is not profound and not much different since independence.Therefore it is not that which is in black and white that matters but the way in which the black and white is implemented that counts. The Indian civil service being a legacy of the British administration, has changed the least. In other words, the need for a change arose even before independence and continues to exist post-independence, but the sad truth is that the change is still due. E.g. Lokpal- the case of politicians censuring representatives of the civil society saying that 4 or 5 people cannot make laws for the country. If that is the case, how do you account for the support that Anna managed to accrue? So it resides within the administration not to include the citizens. This must change.

    1. Panchayati Raj was introduced to achieve the following 2 objectives:
      1. Usher in direct democracy where it mattered the most
      2. Decentralisation

      The irony is that it has not achieved the purpose to the extent it was intended to due to party politics and bureaucratic interference which has not spared even the poorest and the remotest citizen. The Gram Sabha to this day has to wait for funds from the state government and the dispensing authority lies with the district collector.

    1. to reduce the burden of the state-financially and administratively- by transferring certain activities and responsibilities to individuals or organisations who have the potential of fulfilling the same.

    1. The RTI is a brilliant example of what a good piece of legislation is capable of achieving. The next in line are the Lokpal and Citizen’s Charter Bills. My personal opinion is that the post independent governments are trying to emulate the British Raj: giving reforms– which are ostensibly good and sugar coated but in truth are huge gas balloons– in dosages. The more you supplicate, if not ask and fight for, the better the reforms get with each try. So, when will we truly be independent? I find no wrong in calling the anna hazare movement the second freedom struggle.

  5. Participatory democracy implies that the power to make decisions should not be left to a small number of people, but that power should be more equally shared among all citizens, so that everyone has an opportunity to influence collective affairs.In a direct democracy, citizens make decisions directly by proposing laws or referendums on laws which are disliked, voting to determine who enters public office, and recalling public officials who are not doing their jobs,, in case of india it is parlimentarian form democracy,, citizens cannot participate directly ,, so this direct democracy doesnt hold good in india.

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