Lecture by Prof. Yogendra Kumar Alagh on the subject of “Security and Governance in a liberalizing economy”(very long post but its concrete:))

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I am really grateful to the BPR&D for inviting me to deliver Dr. Anand Swaroop
Gupta Memorial Lecture. Since the Police Commission Report and before it, the Indian
Police have had traditional thinking policemen who have made seminal contributions to
the difficult task of maintaining security in a large and a very fractious open democracy
whereas, the Hon’ble Patil knows, permanent protest is a way of life, as the ads of the
incredible India Campaign says everyday. The media is correctly exacting in a
democracy and largely reporting failures to keep all of us on our toes. However, the salt
of the earth are those who just do their jobs well and have the satisfaction of doing it.
While remaining un-surge as Vice chancellor of the Nehru University, I remember Mr
Rao, a senior Police Officer of the Delhi Police, approached me for cajoling forcing a
crowd agitating student not to linch two eve teasers. A large force was kept outside the
North Gate of the Campus, just in case we need. He wrote a case to local authority on
police working together and lifting me, an admirer of crowd control, of cases not reported
in the Press.
Thanking you for inviting me on an occasion to honour policeman like Dr. A S
India is a large federal democracy and is in a questioning mode on government
structures. Many of our established institutions are being questioned. The notion which
the Press sometimes carries that all our problems can be traced back to political
governance and civil service mechanism, I believe, is incorrect. Change has been rapid,
expectations are high, technological and economic compulsions are severe and system
performance of an incremental kind, seems unacceptable. The country use to experience
the freedom movement and the post-Independence decades with idealistic goals is not
coming fully to grips with the operational and functional aspects of coalition
governments and decentralized institutions. In one’s work, dominating trends in relations
to the governance can be seen. Somewhat tentatively I would propose:
There will be a much greater emphasis on the rights of individuals in groups including
participatory forms of decision making. This will demand greater fairness and self-
restraint in the use of Government power. There will be a greater demand on
transparency and the right to information.
To assitate withdraws from direct delivery, governance would need to establish a
regulatory function for the functioning of the economic and social sectors. But also it
must lay down the institutional framework, incentive mechanisms and disincentive
mechanisms not under the words nice bouquets but also punishments, which the Police
does for those who do wrong things. So police is important and the Government
structures for civil society institutions to functions like centralized local institutions,
government co-operatives, NGOs and newer mixed forms of smaller organizations. Long
renewable resources will be far more severe. Scarcities of water, land, energy
sustainability concerns will be acute.
There would be much greater demand for protecting vulnerable groups either
historically under-privileged or the new, which will be the victims of globalization and
marketisation. Concerns for human rights and particularly of specific groups such as
women, children, minorities, adivasis, mentally challenged, these would be important.
Modern technology, which will have at our command, will be seen as providing
cutting edge knowledge based solutions to all these scarcities and problems. There will
be greater use of Information Technology, bio-technology, systems networking, new
materials outsourcing and largely to teaching management responses.
And finally I see thoughtful groups seeing security concerns becoming more and
more acute. I was saying this even before September 11. Arising from the socio-
economic and political dicotism when the world is facing and the resulting tensions also
from the more basic issues of food, energy, security, water security and the institutions to
do this.
I wrote a report on the ‘Examination and Training to reforms of the higher Civil
Servants’. Some of the Press people said that I was very critical of the IPS/IAS and the
IFS. Actually, the critical part of the report was written by a Senior Civil Servant.
Quote from the summary of the Report, as released by the UPSC
“Indian Political System at civil service produce some extraordinary/ordinary
women and men. They have been persons of letters of arts of history. They have
conceived and implemented green revolutions, given extraordinary idea to health
education and literacy. They have protected the tribal and the dalit, fashioned
his/her rights and fought for them. They have developed new concepts of finance
scrutiny and audit of public expenditure. They have given impetus to scientific and
correctional research. They have fashioned and followed through nation’s global
agenda. They have followed through its deepest dreams of multi-religious, multi-
ethnic society, as narrated from its freedom struggle by both creatively its
democratic and reconciliatory edifice and fighting those who have been destroyed
by the violence. They have been at the heart of the young democracy, struggle for
fashioning the velvet glove and the mailed fist. There have been men and women in
India at the highest echelons of ruling classes who have been scrupulous on the use
of every paisa of public money whose picture has never been published in the
newspapers at public expenses. They have, however, been the exception and not the
rule and what we have to do is to see to it that they become the Rule that is the
challenge in the next round. Now India is growing fast. Its growth is most stable
and its growth is fast.”
During the last month, both the International Monetary Fund and the
Harvard Economist have said the same thing. In the paper given to the Bureau, I
have given a table which was presented at the G-20 by a group arguing that India
and China should be a part of it of which CGA Canada has shown that India is now
a fourth largest economy in the world. We are no longer fifth or sixth and really the
issues which I am talking about are important. Now the Economic Survey says
growth has become a habit from 1979 which I have been saying a year and as I
have told now the world has accepted it. But if it is becoming a habit, your habit is
to grow up around six percent. In fact in the Eighties, we grew a little faster than in
the nineties. And if we want to make number three, then we should be growing at 7-
8 percent, which is what the Prime Minister and the others have said recently. In a
study which Tariq have done for the Planning Commission and I have done for the
UN, we have showed that if we want to grow from 6 to 8 then today what happens is
that for every rupee that you invest, you produce one third of a rupee and that has
to rise to 40 paise. The first thing is productivity of the investment has to rise. The
second thing is that you have to be a larger part of the world trade and the third is
that you have to save more. Countries like China are saving 10 percent more than
us. And all of this has to do with the Police, with the more functioning system, the
Civil Service and so on. Now first, the Changing Role of the State – the State is not
going to deliver steel or heavy machinery and all, which was set as the objective,
which the young lady said when I was Advisor in the Planning Commission or a
Member. The State in the next round will be a facilitator and an arbitrator and will
be a Champion of Reform and that means a very different Police from the Police of
the Civil Service that we have in the last thirty years. And these are the problems
which I address to myself. The first is the whole question of my lecture in which I
used a Latin phrase translated into English “Who will guard the Guards?” which is
the first issue. I am so happy that the Prime Minister has mentioned and I am sure
the Home Minister is very keenly involved in all of these exercises. Appointment at
the highest level to regulatory bodies to Public Sector Agencies. I can give you one
instance. When I was the Power Minister, my Secretary was the person who
became later on the Principal of the Administrative Staff College of India and Sir as
you know in the last Government he filed the case against the Government for an
incorrect decision on the Chairman of the Central Electricity Regulatory Body.
Because we had laid down very strong requirements because it is in these kinds of
appointments that you can give either right or wrong signals and Sharma had put
down criteria as to what are the kinds of factors that should be there in this
appointment. As soon as the man leaves we had an identifying spectacle of some
very senior people wanting to get that position. I gave him out printed speech the
Act of Parliament where we have put into these conditions that I had to exchange in
the final Ordinance that was not there. So the kinds of issues which have been
talked about right now ‘appointment at the highest level’ is an extremely serious
issue. Together with that you have the whole question of the ‘Recruitment and the
Training of the Civil Service’. Now most of the reform that is being talked about
now by various groups goes back to the Committee that I chaired in the UPSC
about three years ago. A large number of very distinguished people worked both
with the committee as well as outside. The Hon’ble Kalam gave me days of his
work, designed a new testing procedure where the psychological testing procedures
of the Army are adapted to the Civil Service in the Police because it was found that
there was lot of arbitrariness in the existing procedures in terms of relationships
between the results of the written test and the Interview. Those things the UPSC
have already implemented some of them and the others will be implemented. But
the other issue was as we looked ahead we saw all the problems which I talked about
with you, it is very clear that you do not just want people to read what is there in the
University system and regurgitate it but what you want is a kind of young civil
servant to whom you can train later on but she or he must show aptitude for
governance and governance now is not just a question of hitting somebody on the
head or regulating him. Governance will now be a question of networking of
championing reform, of building up institutions, which will solve problems. Now
those issues then mean that you need a different kind of Civil Servant. In the world
over this is happening. And the kind of exam which we have now, came from
England is no longer there in England because they have moved in a very big way to
management and other subjects but in France which the Prime Minister apparently
says that the Home Ministry would like to copy, is a very good idea. What are the
things they are looking for? They are looking for people who have an
understanding of rights of laws of the emerging environmental scarcities of the
ability to network, to be able to manage things together, to become more powerful
by giving away powers but by coordinating the ability to use technology. There are
some people whose brain is developed in such a way that they are not
technologically savvy. Now that is not the kind of person you want in the Civil
Servant of tomorrow. You can always train her or him in Microsoft or whatever E-
mail that whether the person’s mind left side or right side is developed in a
particular way is important. So these are the things that we said. But then we also
said and people/policemen like Mr. Rebeiro and other have been saying it. Look it
is not just important to have the best youngsters. In any case you get very good
youngsters. I am totally convinced of that. In a three lac people who apply, even if
you have the worst possible examinations system, if you take 200 people, they will be
extraordinary. Anyone of you who has come to the higher service as Civil Services
and extraordinary persons as far as I am concerned, a former Vice Chancellor of
the JNU one lac kids applied at a 1000 and I know what my girls and boys were like
and I mean they have the ability to stand up with the best in the world. The issue is
what do you do with them? And so these kinds of issues. We know that the best
struggler remain the best but what about the average. It becomes 30. So you start
learning to compromise. Now the question is, the management issue is that you
don’t get into all of this. We had a set of policies which have been released in
summary form, but I am sure the report will be available some day and the others
have talked about it, Mr Hota and others will have said. After ten years, look at the
person. Let them specialized broadly on this. Some policemen have been very
angry on me that ‘aap bolte hein we are not IAS Officers’. That is not that I said.
What the Committee said was ‘some kinds of people will have a security orientation.
Others will believe in numbers. Others love to see a University. So put them in
special area, health, education. So decide on a broad kind of specialization after ten
years. Then we said give them the best training in the world. But let them have to
face the music they have to perform. They cannot live by being the authority of
‘Saheb’. Having been to the Secretary to the Government I know what does it
means? Carry on in the emerging period. Let them realize that they have to earn
through networking, through resourcing. Let there be a full review of the persons
by his peer group, by his superior, which has done his confidential report, raise a
proposal, which is very controversial. In the Press we said ‘the public should also be
able to evaluate an officer’. Any SP will put some smugglers in jail and those
brokers will organize a negative protest. It need not be like that. In universities
where the students evaluate their teachers, Mr. Khanna said ‘you can have a group
of senior, who are in the community, who see to it that if there is public evaluation,
it is done in a fair manner’. But you must get feed back on what the officer is all
about. But then there are simpler things which you should be doing in any case.
How can you transfer people? I am so happy that the Prime Minister/Home
Minister have written to the Chief Ministers saying that you cannot do arbitrary
transfers just as you cannot make arbitrary appointments in Public Sector Agencies.
When I was Power Minister I was so fed up with pressures that I set a committee
under a member of Planning Commission, which would advise me on appointments
in PSUs. And that is the structure we put in the Electricity Regulatory Body. So we
made a proposal that if you make an unusual transfer, say less than three years, the
Minister should be required to put on file the note that what is the public interest
which required that this man should be transferred. Because one should do that
and then you will have much less of this arbitrary business that a young man stands
up to somebody in authority. All of these issues are extremely important and in the
next round we must do them.
We are suggesting that the French System should be used and I had been a
visiting professor in politics which is like the Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy or your
Academy at Hyderabad. I think the French system to the extent says involve law,
involve environment, involve technology, management strategies. But France is a
different country from India. It is a highly centralized State. Everybody’s
responsibilities and everybody’s rights are laid down. We are a different country.
They take people after school. But their schooling and our schooling is different.
The point which a psychologist made to the Alagh Committee that for the Army you
might take youngsters but for the Civil Service you will need persons who are
somewhat matured, is a valid point. Change your course-curriculum, see to it that
they are in those skills which you require and the Universities will also help them in
picking them up and choose the best input by training institutions, which should be
globally competitive. These are the kinds of changes that we have to get through.
Now the other question is technology. Technology, the real question in the next
round, we have very good mission oriented technology. We provide enough
resources and supported our scientists have done marvelously well. Whenever we
say this go and do it here is the money, they will do it. That is mission orientation.
That is not the nature of technology today. Technology today is the question of
integrating different skills in a way such that you solve field-oriented problems.
And the technology can do it in a way such that it could not do 20 years ago. I did
not have that choice when I joined Planning Commission. You do have that choice
right now. You can use technology to solve day-to-day problems. This is a question
of networking because the new technology is very friendly to each other.
Computerization, modern communication, modern materials – they reinforce each
other. But that is only possible when you know how to put them together to solve
the problem. Also they are scaled neutral. There is no reason why the most
advanced technologies in the world cannot be there at the level of a Thana. You can
really adjust modern technology but it needs a different mindset. And I would
suggest that the Bureau of Police Research and Development have given some more
thought to this in my published lecture. Does a project on ‘how does one set up
these systems so that some of the impending problems we know we are going to face
in security regime are solved’.
Another problem that I see is that as we go through globalization the rules are
going to change and the law is going to change. For the price fixation, you have rules
which do not worry about the actual cost. In fact any pricing rule which says that the
actual cost of a product is to be given is now a bad rule because what it is doing is
protecting an inefficient person. So you try to build an inefficiency pricing. If somebody
does that in an honest way and you turn back to him and say you are not fair because
your mindset is 20 years earlier then you are not understanding the nature of the de-
regulation that we are doing. So you have to be very fast and need very high level of
expertise not just technology.
Life is going to be very bad for you. Scarcity of energy in land and water is going
to be a part of your regime in way such that was in my regime. You will not be able to
live off the land. As Police and as Civil Service you will have to learn with those
scarcities. The legal environment is going to be very very different. The rights of the
individuals are going to be very important. You will have to protect them. The rights of
the minorities, the rights of the women, the rights of the dalits, the rights of the adivasis
and that is going to be the responsibility of the police and it is going to be a part of law.
Environmental law is coming on its own. You cannot just go and cut a tree. I
cannot cut the trees I have planted because the Forest Officer tells me that you are
breaking Forest Law. You will have to be very sensitive to these kinds of requirements.
What are the attributes required from the system, which would include amongst
others :
A sense of vision and direction in which Indian socio-polity is moving including its very
diverse cultural plurality.
An ability to appreciate some of the real scarcities that are emerging as also the strengths
of civil society. The fact that most of us are law abiding, good people, to cope with them
up, these kinds of strengths we must build up. These are important as India is still going
in a developmental phase. We are going from point 4 to third. We have to become third.
We are in a critical phase in the world history. If we good now, we will become number
six. We will have been a history. The world has changed. When I was a member of the
Planning Commission, the Prime Minister said do whatever you want to do. Today you
have got a 116 billion dollars. You are fitting at the doors of greatness.
You are also saying that you going to do something different of a plural society. Great
cultures always think of pluralistic development going back into the history. So China
and India cannot be the small culture. Otherwise we will become the third biggest in the
world but we will have no message to give. The inheritance taken from Gandhi and
Budha must have to be filled. You must have an ability to interface with the modern
technology which provide a cutting edge to many solutions. At higher levels of the
system there must be an ability to network with Panchayats, with NGOs, with
cooperatives, and professionals and people’s organistions. There has to be a sense
rugged professionalism the heart of a good policeman, persistence and talkedness in
pursuit of objectives and an urge to champion beneficial change. The energy to pursue
such objectives, a sense of fair play of honesty of political and systenic support, a
compassion to the poor who will be the victim of marketization. But we have to take care
of them.
Above all a commitment to India as it was thought of by its founding fathers.
So these are the messages that I have to give. There are many sad stories I could
have talked about but I am an optimistic kind of a writer and with the Government whose
objectives I show fully I want to end with an optimistic note.
Thank you very much.

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