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Why bureaucrats of West Bengal at all hierarchical levels are just puppets

By Harasankar Adhikari 

Local self-government decentralises democratic power at the grass roots through the enactment of the Panchayat Raj institution in India. It is the most important and glorious step of Indian democracy. The purpose is undoubtedly unique, and it has immense importance to strengthen people's participation in the government as their own. But multi-party politics shapes it differently for political purposes. It has become a platform for rampant corruption in almost every sphere of governance. It also teaches grass-roots people how to be corrupted and how to deprive innocent people.
The government of India takes initiatives to implement all developmental programmes at the grass-roots level through the involvement of the Panchayat Raj Institution. It is an advantage to the leaders of political parties in the rule to loot public money for development.
At present, the state of West Bengal is at the top of the list for corruption at different levels. Besides, recruitment scams, coal scams, and cattle scams, a huge amount of public money for different development projects is being syphoned deliberately. For instance, wages under MGNEGRA are one important avenue of corruption. Here, political party leaders at the grass-roots level enlist and provide job cards to people who do not fall under the category of MGNEGRA beneficiaries. It includes working youth and even the elderly population who lost their physical ability to work. There is a secret nexus or agreement between the two parties. That is, after crediting the wages, they have to hand over 80% of the wages to the local leaders, who enlist their names in the pay roll. It is a huge earning for the leaders for their whole-time involvement in the particular political party (particularly in the rule). The enlisted job card holders have no objection because they have to be born with the local leaders for their peaceful living in the area. Everybody tries to avoid any political chaos.
More surprisingly, it has been noticed that a significant number of elderly people within the age bracket of 70–80 years of age are job card holders and the administration knows this. But they have no disagreement with it. The bureaucrats of West Bengal at all hierarchical levels are just puppets. They only serve the political leaders of the ruling government. They work as agents for this particular political party. The political leaders of the particular political party suppress and compress the environment.
They have to set aside the fact that in representative democracy, bureaucrats are responsible for 'ensuring equal treatment of citizens and making policy decisions on their own’. On the other hand, ‘democratic governance is assumed to be able to adjust more effectively to the needs and wants of the public than most other forms of governing'. ‘The relationship between bureaucracy and democracy is both paradoxical and complementary because an effective democracy may require an effective and well-functioning bureaucracy’. So, ‘a well-functioning bureaucracy emphasises equality, and attempts to ensure that all members of society receive the same treatment according to law, even if that style of delivery appears to be inefficient. In short, bureaucracy is put into place to minimise the arbitrary and capricious actions in which governments might otherwise be tempted to engage’.
They are beyond their independent and unbiased nature. They work according to the direction of the political leaders of the particular political party in the rule. Nowhere is there any reflection of democratic rights.
Why are the bureaucrats ‘spineless’ and paralysed?
  • They are under threat and afraid of. So, a suffering person never saves another suffering person.
  • They are afraid of primarily physical molestation and even the threat of murder, etc.
  • They are afraid of punishments like transfers, compulsory waiting, and so forth.
  • They work in support of a particular political party because of the rewards.
  • They have no responsibility to save the interest of the masses, for which they take the oath before joining their jobs.
Now, what would be the fate of people's democracy, and what would be the role of bureaucracy in a representative democracy that should be redefined and clarified? What would be the punishment for violence and murder? And would our judiciary only supplement and complement this democracy and the democratic rights of the people?

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