gfiles magazine

August 14, 2012

Yes, Minister

behaviour prabhat kumar
The fundamental problem with the country is not the evil politician 
but the ‘obedient’ Government servant
The recurring theme of the relationship between political leaders in the Government and the civil servants has not been extensively debated. In my interactions with the younger members of the civil service, the question ‘how should we deal with political pressures’ crops up frequently.
My simple answer to the dilemma is that as a politico-bureaucratic interaction is intrinsic to parliamentary democracy, it depends mainly on the civil servant to steer the relationship in the best interests of the State while keeping institutional integrity intact.
A bureaucrat should be able to distinguish between the State and the Government of the day. In my view, it should be his endeavour to protect the interests of the State. The basic constituents of the State are the Constitution, the legitimacy of the political system and the security of the nation. He should not allow the integrity of the State, however imperfect or inadequate it may be, to be compromised.
For example, I consider the revelations of the weaknesses of our defence preparedness to be an act against the State. In fact, the Chief of Army Staff should not have written the letter to the Prime Minister on the subject. While his concern for the security apparatus may be genuine, I think it was a grossly improper move because he had not exhausted the remedies available to him.....READMORE

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