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RTI Ke Peeche Kya hai, Babuji?

Great Indian Babus (IAS Officials) are now trying to hide behind the fine technicalities of RTI – Intrusion of Privacy under section 8(1)(j) of RTI Act. This small piece of interesting news shows up in TOI dated 7th December 2009.

First it was the Judiciary that made every possible effort to keep itself out of the reach of RTI. Call it Public Pressure or Strong Political-will, RTI was indeed enforced upon the Judiciary, in word and in spirit, thereby keeping intact the constitutional values of Freedom, Accountability, Transparency. Never mind the continuous efforts and the hard work that is still being put in there by the CJI to get his team out of the dragnet of RTI.

Now is the turn of our Babus, to look for loopholes and hidden technicalities under the RTI Act and to stay clear of RTI. A public servant’s property & all other financial investments must always remain transparent and in the public domain - it cannot be termed as Private at any given point.

Mango-Man (Aam-Aadmi) – A common Indian, has found the easiest way out in publicly and openly blaming the ministers and politicians for just about everything – from rising prices to civic infrastructure to terror strikes to water to insurgency, even the garbage clearance and the growing street-dogs population in a locality. But while doing so, we are blissfully ignorant of the fact that the Politician is there as an elected representatie, only due to our valued Vote. At least, he offers himself and his candidature to the public service, contest elections, and we send him there as our elected representative. In case our choice of the elected representative turns out to be wrong, it is only us to be blamed and not the politician as an individual. Also, once the politician completes the given term, it is once again back to the electorate to send another one (Read: Unknown Angel) or re-elect the same one (Read: Known Devil).

“Chatteratti-Anger” is the most befitting term I would like to use for such verbal diarrhoea that can be seen across all leading news channels. Page-Three celebrities, the so-called Citizen Journalists & Citizen Speakers, coming from totally irrelevant and unrelated fields, are given a permanent seat, an empanelment to debate and express their unsolicited views & advise on issues related to the Governance, Policy and the Indian Politics. Issues like - 26/11 anniversary, mid-air scuffle among the airlines staff, Climate-Change Summit, PM’s Press Meet at the White House, Water Shortage in Mumbai, etc provide excellent fodder for all these debates which actually lead to nowhere. Pure “TRP” Tamasha and nothing else. A colossal waste of precious hour of Prime-Time news and every Indian household across India.

It is high time all this public anger, the debates and the blame shift completely to the most deserving breed of all times – The League of Extra Ordinary Men - The Indian Babus - The IAS Officials. Who actually get there on their own merits (Read: Resources). The current unethical and questionable selection procedures are an open secret, both at National and State levels. The moral and ethical character of some senior and highly placed and respected people, who actually examine and evaluate these young bureaucrats, is also highly questionable. This is plain simple logic as is evidently clear from the quality of IAS Officers inducted during the last decade or so. How else once could explain the deteriorating quality & increasingly Corrupt, Inefficient, Incompetent and Selfish Babus?

Ironically, IAS officers are supposed to be Public-Servants, but their Master, that is the very Public whom they are supposed to serve, has no right whatsoever to question them or re-call them from their services, unlike the elected representative in politicians & ministers. This is the big difference between the Devil and the Deep Sea, that a Mango-Man finds caught between. While the Minister goes to the election battleground and fights it out hard to be elected for the seat and that too for a fixed term, a Babu simply gets in there, using all kinds of just and unjust resources, and stays there until retirement.

Politics is like a stream. No doubt this stream currently is carrying contaminated & unhygienic product but there is some hope in the Indian Electorate, who would be able to change the course and the direction of this stream in due course of time, for a better quality and a healthier output. But the Indian Babugiri (Bureaucracy) is a pond of stagnated and highly contaminated slush. Ideal breeding ground for deadly germs and viruses, which keep growing but never get cleaned up. It has slowly started entering our homes and personal lives now.

We talk of a Systemic Failure in our country – actually it is the complete Bureaucratic Failure. Every single problem that our country faces today is identified and linked with, directly or indirectly, to an inefficient, incompetent and a corrupt bureaucracy.

We better wake up to this harsh reality and start looking at options and solutions to –
a) Cleanse the System – the corrupt, incompetent & inefficient Babugiri, and
b) Reduce their interference and their role in running our daily lives.

Unless & until this actually happens, we will continue to witness the prime-time debates and the Chatteratti Anger, irrespective of the fact whether or not RTI finally applies to Babugiri - to expose them & their financials in the public domain or to provide them with a comfortable cover of Intrusion of Privacy under section 8(1)(j).