Innovation Mantra

The decision of the UPA Government to introduce the Prime Minister’s Awards for excellence in Public Administration to recognize the extraordinary and innovative work done by the officers of the Central and State Governments comes at a time when the Administrative Reforms Commission both at the Centre and the States is working out the ways and means through which the Indian bureaucracy can be reinvigorated to take on the large scale administrative task that it will continue to be called upon to perform. While the global mantra may be to have less government but in a country such as India the bureaucracy cannot be merely wished away. It will continue to have a role as the harbinger of social and economic change. As such the Prime Minister’s award should be welcomed as it is expected to challenge the civil servants in achieving greater merit in their over all performance for public welfare. The award will also no doubt carry with it the added value for any civil servant and may very well push their career prospects a notch up higher. It is also good news for hard working bureaucrats who will feel encouraged that their toil will finally be recognized and more importantly separate the wheat from the chaff and between those who perform and those who do not perform. 

Against this backdrop, the initiation of the new Chief Secretary of Nagaland, Lalhuma to make the bold decision in declaring 2006 as the Year of Innovation for the State Bureaucracy should be welcomed as it is in tune with the concept behind the Prime Minister’s Award for excellence in Public Administration. Lalhuma’s own assessment that there is a need to overhaul the monthly meeting of Administrative Heads and Heads of Departments to make it result-oriented will also push the State administration to work with greater purpose and not just dabble in routine exercise. That from the next monthly meeting three to four departments will be listed to make presentations projecting their visions, innovative schemes, current activities and their achievements is indeed the right tonic to recuperate the somewhat ailing administration. The Chief Secretary’s Office should likewise pass on such information to the media to bring about greater awareness on the working of government offices among the general public. The local media can play a constructive role in highlighting the achievements of respective departments. At the same time it should also be prepared to listen to criticism. The press fraternity in Nagaland cannot be expected to merely sit and report government statements.  

Coming to the problem currently being faced over poor attendance of government employees, one hopes that the slew of measures being undertaken by the Chief Secretary will have a salutary effect in improving work culture among the employees who should have no qualms about being sincere for five days. Having already declared all Saturday’s as holiday, the government on its part can ill afford to allow non-performance of its employees to continue unabated. Having come out with the innovative exercise to push the administration to function in a result oriented manner, Chief Secretary Lalhuma would now have to put his mind into coming up with another innovate way to address the critical issue of office attendance.