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Nexus between politicians and bureaucrats

The Indian Administrative Service is passing through a disturbing phase and the services are in a mess. The elite service has become the most corrupt and rates highest in non-performance. Good administration by bureaucrats is unheard of.

A Hong Kong-based agency in a survey has stated Indian bureaucracy to be the ‘worst’, ‘suffocating’ and ‘least efficient’. The unholy nexus between politicians and bureaucrats leads to favoritism, cronyism and vendetta politics. There was a time when joining the civil services was a matter of prestige. Now, self-seeking, greedy and corrupt officials have given it a bad name. The honest and efficient bureaucrats are sidelined. Drunk in power, bureaucrats become lethargic. The honest officers bear the brunt. Chief Secretaries are appointed by political bosses. The ICS officers in the British raj were much better than ‘desi babus’ of today.

M L GARG, Chandigarh


The editorial ‘Reforming Bureaucracy’ (January 14) needs wider and deep attention. Indian bureaucrats’ being labelled the worst in Asia speaks volumes of the inefficient and unaccountable bureaucracy in India. The politician-bureaucrat-business nexus is perhaps the raison-de-etre of all ills and frills in the society. It is correct to hold that ‘greater accountability and fear of law’ in the system of governance can smother, if not kill, the nexus serpent. Many bureaucrats, who hold important positions in governance, delve in many other social activities, without any relevance to their own duties.

Bureaucracy should follow the rules of accountability and should fear the law. Bureaucracy should work as a steel frame, as visualised by Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru for implementing law judiciously rather than playing in self-aggrandisement.

S KUMAR, Panchkula

Educate milkmen

The National Survey on Milk Adulteration, 2011, highlights adulteration of milk with non-hazardous glucose, water and skimmed milk powder as revealed in the news item ‘81 pc milk adulterated in Punjab’ (January 13) and discussed in the editorial ‘Adulteration of milk’ (January 14). The survey though has not dealt with contamination of milk with hazardous germs, drug residues, dyes etc. About 75% of the milk produced in Punjab is consumed in an unprocessed form. Apart from the bacterial count, drug residues in milk are a health hazard for the consumers. Drugs are administered to animals indiscriminately for treatment of various diseases. The residue of the drugs passes on to the milk. The antibiotics, steroids, hormones and de-wormers are being used religiously by veterinarians, dairymen and para-veterinary staff. Milk is required to be discarded for 2-4 days which is not being done.

During collection of milk, dung and dirt sticking to udder and flanks fall into the milk and contaminate it. Hands of person collecting the milk and the udder of the cow are not dry while extracting milk which results in contamination of milk.

Cleaning and sterilisation of dairy utensils is done by uneducated workers unaware of the concept of milk hygiene. During transit, the milk is not kept at the required low temperature due to which bacteria multiply. Flies, dust and other forms of atmospheric contamination at every stage of milk handling contribute to the degradation of milk.

It is essential that the dairy owners and workers educate themselves on correct measures to be taken while milking the cows and handling milk thereafter.


More surveys required

The report of 42% of children under 5 suffering from moderate to severe malnutrition points to a significant failure of independent India in guaranteeing Article 21 of the Constitution to its citizens. The findings have been made by an NGO and there is no data available at the national level to know the exact nature and extent of deprivation. Research work done by the National Sample Survey and National Family Health Survey regarding nutrition indicators is too infrequent. Absence of concrete data led to India not being ranked on the Global Hunger Index 2011. This points to an urgent need of government intervention to carry out a countrywide survey to gauge the problem.

Regarding suitable solutions, it is imperative to make use of all available channels towards tackling malnutrition. The lacunae in the implementation of welfare measures like the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) and the Midday meal scheme must be plugged. Also, these schemes do not cover the children below 2 years of age that form large fraction of the under-nourished kids under 5 years.


‘Animal class’

Looking at the condition of general compartments in long-route trains, one is tempted to call it ‘animal class’ because inside the coaches, the condition of commuters is worse than that of animals. They are so crowded that one dreads the very idea of boarding it even if it is an emergency. Exposing passengers to risk of life is a brazen act of human rights violation. Moreover, these jampacked bogeys are a breeding ground for other criminal activities. There should be a TT (travelling ticket examiner) in all general compartments of long-route trains. A TT is required more here than in the AC compartments. At the most, 20 standing passengers should be allowed in each compartment.




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