Karmayogi<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
The achievement of FREEDOM for India was a labour of sixty years for the greatest stalwarts of the nation over this period. Men of character, having sacrificed their all, stood like soldiers by the side of Mahatma Gandhiji who himself was a rare specimen and worked to rouse the nation to action. The result was a wide, great dynamic movement that spilled over the boundaries of India and embraced the continent.
A spineless nation was called to "awake and organise" and release its energies for the fight against the British. All the newspapers were owned by the Britishers and readers of newspapers were few. The work was successfully done because, contrary to appearance, there was the readiness in the nation soul to seek freedom and the necessary total effort was made by the freedom movement with a leader at the helm who was known for his uncanny perception of the national situation. It was this inner readiness of the nation and the determined leadership based on the very right, almost intuitive, grasp of the national character and the national situation that brought the movement to a successful culmination.
The energy released was one that comes from courage, self-respect, desire to meet the challenge and take over the great burden of administrative survival on inexperienced shoulders. They stem not only from the militant spirit of the nation but from the political consciousness of the masses and the leadership.
What followed was stability, administration in the fresh context, organising the nation on the basis of political freedom and ushering in prosperity. The task of keeping the nation united and stable in the context of the communal carnage and giving her a new political framework in the shape of a constitution of the republic demanded enormous energies, enterprise, alacrity and a continual awareness of the national necessities. The leadership that fought for freedom successfully accomplished all this and moved on to eradication of poverty.
If the freedom fight called for strength and organisation to deliver the strength on to the enemy, the effort for prosperity calls for energy based on skill for work coupled with an idealistic enthusiasm for the accomplishment of it. The aim set for the nation by Nehru was to catch up with the West and the tool resorted to was modern science. The aim was laudable and the tool was excellent but the results did not issue in the measure expected as they were not all that was needed.
To remove poverty from a nation of the size of India and at the rate of her multiplying population the effective organisation must be as wide as the population, i.e. the population itself. In other words, only when the entire population takes on itself the task of removing poverty and is looking for the necessary support from government or its leaders, can the task really move. This presupposes an energy of that magnitude, an awareness of that height and an urge of that intensity. In the late forties and early fifties that energy was there in potential (but not in directly usable forms) as the freedom fight which stirred the nation at depths has done all that it should do to bring the energy to the surface. Nor was it lost in internecine quarrels as in parts of India.
The stir caused in India by the freedom fight and the infectious wave of activity from all over the world whose very springs of energy were opened by the world war, kept the energy level of India at sufficient heights, sufficient for her to embark on the path of nation building. As the leadership was experienced only in politics and the nation building was fresh, necessarily it had to make more than one experiment. The fundamental tool to develop a nation is education which Government of India lost no time to provide and Government of India naturally could not wait for the next phase of development for that generation of the educated to attain adulthood or middle age. Anyway that is a desideratum. (In the late sixties and early seventies this condition was fulfilled). The very first thing to have been done was to convert the available national energies that were the active residue of the freedom struggle into usable national skills and energies for nation building. By a zigzag process this is partially done now and the necessary awakening among the masses for development is now available. Once this is available let us see how and in what fields the work is to be done.
The Work and the Method:
1. The national energy is fully stirred but is partially available for development. It must be made fully available for development.
a. To make this fully available the aim of the nation and the life of the people should be made to relate in a meaningful way for the common man.
b. Such an effort must be made at all levels and in all segments of society.
2. All that opposes such a change either in society or in Government of India must be shown the way out by the people turning away from them and Government of India taking possible measures.
3. Wherever the nation is ready but such an awakening is not stirred, efforts must be made to activate the area.
In a nation that industrialises itself or modernises itself of its own choice, the entire society is the instrument and the particular field becomes the leader of the effort. In India, a country which is trying to catch up with an ideal of the West, as the ideal itself is not born out of the compulsive natural circumstances of the nation, Government of India has a part to play. It is a major role but a minor part. It has to act only as catalyst, a model, a forerunner, and never as the only instrument capable of bringing about the change. This Government of India cannot do and even if it can, should not do. It should be a very active leader providing the leadership and guiding the nation often itself initiating fresh necessary model work.
In the field of education, agriculture, industry and general life, a strong clear move away from socially approved forms (with or without inner content) to realities that have the content regardless of the outer form.
The energies are there and given the right effort using the right principle and right method, the ends can very well be achieved in full measure. Presently we shall consider only a few major fields like agriculture, industry, education and health. The aim is agriculture is firstly to produce all that the country needs and secondly that the farmer's occupation on the field to provide food for the nation should also make it possible for him to move towards a fully cultured life in his home. Now that the general awakening is there, it is not possible to accomplish the first without providing for the second. Food production is presently satisfactory and it may catch up with increased future requirements as great efforts are successfully made. Man, as long as he is not awakened, works for the prosperity of another, often another class. That is a backward state, if not a primitive one. All over the world man has moved away from that serfdom of mind. In India it can be safely said that the rural parts are awakened in the sense man demands as a reward for his work the good things of life. No longer he would drudge for a bowl of rice. He does demand, does appreciate the need for better clothing, good house and some education for his children. He would not put out his best or even would not work if he is not assured of some measure of civilised life. He does this with a vengeance and the affluent class frowns upon this new-fangled 'outrageous' behaviour of the poor. In fact, the hope of the nation for development lies in this felt need of the once downtrodden population. It is for others, i.e. the leaders of the nation to make this felt need be satisfied by his own work. That is real development. He must get a good share of civilized life but out of his own work, out of his own determined endeavour, not from any other agency.
So far this awakening has had more of negative results and less of positive results. This has expressed itself as a demand for more wages for the same work, often less work and more lease value from the landlord. Initially the release of any dynamism can have this insistent negative result but we must channelise this dynamism in the positive line and it is possible. It is simple that when a very large cross-section of population becomes aware of greater personal needs it cannot fully meet by depriving the small privileged section its excess enjoyment. More has to be produced, if more is to be enjoyed by most. And this has to be done mostly by those who need it now. To increase agriculture production, the known and possible methods are:
These are great objects and can be achieved only by equally great efforts at the national levels. Basically a MOVEMENT must make the effort. A determined effort to create a movement on the lines of Freedom Movement is in order. If agriculture should achieve high results, agriculturists should share in good measure the comforts of life, it should be recognised by the educated in agriculture that it is a vocation of pride. The tendency of a landholder's children drifting to salaried employment must be replaced by his educated children taking pride in modern cultivation. It requires a certain idealism and an equal dynamism. Both will pay in terms of life's reward. Gandhiji called for a boycott of British offices, colleges and courts. A good many came out. They suffered outside. Many were later rewarded but many more continued to suffer. It is that nucleus which really afforded inspired leadership to the Freedom Movement. Likewise the prosperity Movement should give a call to agriculture graduates in salaried jobs to give it up and take to modern agriculture. Maybe only a few will respond but that few will count. At other levels incentives to such dropouts can be given. (1) The call should come from the movement, (2) Journals and other publicity agencies should lend the necessary recognition. (3) GOI can do something from their end to encourage such movement, e.g. (a) any government officer, who goes out on leave for a period and makes an agricultural venture worthwhile like producing over an area a certain quantity of grains, can be offered his next promotion regardless of his seniority; (b) any agricultural officer who desires to try an agricultural venture must be given leave for 3 or 5 years on loss of pay. Officers must be encouraged to do this and if they fail to make it good they must be permitted to join duty without any difficulty.
The educated youth, i.e. the agricultural graduate, must know, feel and realise that such a course of taking to cultivation in preference to salaried job is worth his while because (1) it is remunerative and (2) the society does accord its recognition.
Genuinely and not as a policy the Prosperity Movement, the journals, the youth, the makers of public opinion and the society at large, should FEEL the value of this course and express it and encourage it. In today's society the government job which held its great prestige in the earlier decades has begun to yield its way to a job in the Bank. With the right emphasis the practising agriculturist will come into his own one day.
In a smaller way there are a million things that can be done. Perhaps the GOI has taken the first step in choosing a district for integrated rural development. The Science Congress has had it as its focal theme. What the GOI has so far initiated must be continued at the levels of the journals, varsities, public institutions and held up before the nation as an ideal and an aim. The realisation must be genuine and the appreciation too. In the implementation of all government schemes this bias must be there. Though the real energy comes from the FARMER who seeks an improved way of life, all these efforts in a sustained way are essential to set the theme in its right perspective.
The coffee and tea estates have a great social prestige and are even status symbols. It is true people seek them for various reasons but it is equally true that it adds to their social status. It is little realised that cashew and coconut, banana and papaya, tamarind and casurina are equally good earners on plantation scale, often much more. In the pre-boom years coffee plantation were said to be good if they earned Rs.1,000/- an acre in a year. It is common knowledge that will maintained coconut gardens have always given more than Rs.l0,000/-. Cashew, if kept clean and manured, gives more than Rs.15,000/- per acre on plantation scale.
To raise coconut plantations, to reclaim cashew plantations, must be treated as patriotic jobs by the Prosperity Movement. A well maintained (manured and watered) coconut garden of 10 acres can give at today's figures an annual net profit of Rs.100,000/- which is tax free. Surely this is lucrative enough for any graduate but not prestigious today. If this prosperity and this work is afforded the social status it deserves, the fillip such development will receive can be imagined.
An agricultural graduate who on leaving the college instead of taking to a job chooses to try his hand in agriculture and succeeds for a period of 3 years in one of the following:
must be selected to the post of D.A.O. straight instead of his assistant. I am sure it will have a good effect.
Banks have come into agriculture financing to the extent of several thousand crores of rupees but the banker considers this ONLY as a headache. The problems faced by the farmer are many. In many genuine cases where a farmer wants crop loan for 3 acres and the bank finally refuses on some ground, the farmer, in law, must be given the following remedy. Instead of getting an unsecured crop loan if the farmer goes to the Registrar's office and mortgages his 3 acres in favour of the bank, the bank must be under legal obligation to sanction the loan for the crop instantaneously. Also the bank must have the legal right to auction the farmer's property on his failure to repay as the cooperatives are now empowered in Tamil Nadu. This eliminates crippling delays and corruption.
In the election, political parties must come forward to prefer candidates who have distinguished themselves in modern agriculture.
Newspapers which now devote 2 or 3 pages of sports news a day which is not so relevant to national life as development must give a similar emphasis to developmental activities, particularly agriculture. At the national, state, district levels, seminars organised must discuss in detail the positive encouragement to agriculture and the elimination of negative elements. Kamban festival has recently become popular in Tamil Nadu and there is no reason why fresh crops and modern agriculture should not become equally popular.
The rich in the villages must be encouraged to take to simple agro-industries like tapioca starch, fruit processing, tomato ketchup making, mini-sugar mills, etc. This will give an enormous boost to rural life. Presently rice-mill and oil expeller are the only rural industries and they do carry village status. These industries will service the population as well as raise the level of the land's productivity.
One more simple but very significant thing: It is to encourage the REAL interested farmer to visit places like Punjab on his own and at his own expense and further this movement to make him visit foreign countries. Presently many do so at government expense. It does do enough good. The character of his visit will be dramatically different if he is made to visit other states and other countries for the purposes of agricultural study and he is made to go round and share his experience with others. Similarly inviting a Punjab farmer to come and stay for a week in one of our villages will electrify the village life, especially when there is a national movement sponsoring this.
Afforestation and Tree Planting
The value of tree growing for a country dependent on its monsoon cannot be over-emphasised. Surely afforestation has received the good attention of the government. If a national movement sets its heart to the task, tree planting is an activity that can meet with very great success as even planting a tree for fashion, when successful, has in the long run great results. Tree planting, when real initial interest can be given, can do to the nation what big dams across the rivers can do. Afforestation is more difficult to tackle but when it succeeds will unleash national energies that can sustain the nation for centuries. For that the government should adopt an approach similar to those adopted in the previous century to establish tea, coffee, rubber plantations. Creation of fresh forests require massive efforts and the nation will be slow to respond in the beginning. Once it moves and gains momentum the available energy will snowball and spill over into all other fields and sustain itself for at least a century until it is fully absorbed by greater civilised, cultured efforts. This is analogous to the energy witnessed in the U.S.A. in reclaiming virgin lands to build tens of thousands of cities across the country. The settlers came forward to initiate such an effort and found themselves equal to the task at the end of a hundred years. And they succeeded. The chain of energy released itself and found itself moving in ascending spirals. The result is seen in the post-war position of U.S.A. The country has emerged as No.1 in the world of political, military and financial power. After 1945 winners of Nobel Prize began to show a sharp increase and 1977 is unique in the sense all the Nobel Prizes went to U.S.A. And still in the average American national today one can see that exploding energy still abiding. Only higher pursuits like education, culture and finally spirit can really and fully absorb such releases of energy. Sri Aurobindo called America the giant of the future.
The All India Manufacturers Organisation, the Federation of Chamber of Commerce and a few other industrial organisations play a prominent role in national life. In time the aim should be to bring agriculture to that status and in India now and for centuries to come it is right that agriculture should occupy such a pre-eminent position.
There are few walks of life where there is no journal of their own. But agriculture does not have one; rather it does not have a meaningful one.
In sum, founding of a national prosperity movement, espousal of the cause of agriculture by GOI, holding the aims of agriculture and development therein as ideals of the nation, calling the educated youth to lead such a revival, creating great social status for the vocation, adopting a fresh bold policy to initiate afforestation are some of the major outlines in this regard. All these are not merely desirable but are eminently possible today.
Fortunately the GOI has already moved in a major way recognising the importance of agriculture. The establishment of 22 Agricultural universities, the prior organisation of IARI, and lCAR, the adoption of a district in each state for integrated rural development and above all the creation of Food Corporation to secure the farmer a stable, reasonable price are all major steps. The line is to be continued, amplified, intensified and supported by a wider national movement.
India is a country where the tradition of education is a few thousand years old. She has a developed national mind and intelligence and once had gone through a cycle of civilisation where education was prominent. Therefore, the effort of education on the national level will not meet with great initial inertia as in other fields new to her like industry.
Education is the one tool that civilizes the societies and that society where her system of education is integrated with the social aspiration will move forward quickest. It is an axiom that social development issues out of the initiative of the various individuals. The sum total of the individual initiatives or enterprises constitutes the social development. And that initiative based on knowledge and executed with skill is creative initiative. The history of social development in Asia, Europe and in present day U.S.A. has this character.
In India education mainly means a college degree that leads to a salaried job. In the salaried job the employee supports the initiative of the founder of the venture. Often degree holders seek government jobs. That means in practise education is consciously aiming to mutilate its innate powers. Ironically the few successful ventures in India today are by the less educated and the educated subserve the cause of fulfilling aims and ideals conceived by the inferior intellect driven by superior dynamism. The initial shift must be to SELF EMPLOYMENT from salaried jobs. Self-employment means a virtual threat to the degree holder who comes out of the college. It is true that most must seek jobs created by the few. Today the ideal and aim is to secure a good job and one who is successful there is the honoured individual. The aim must be self-employment. The social ideal must be to create a vocation for oneself. A look at any developed nation will confirm this idea. In theory it is only self-employment that demands and brings out the best in the individual and supports the less enterprising members of the population by providing them jobs. The sum total of the individual best is the nation's status of development.
Let us see what can be done here by the Prosperity Movement, GOI, public, varsities, journals, individuals, etc. The Movement should categorically place in an honoured position the individual graduate (or non-graduate} who seeks self-employment in preference to a job. A call to all those presently employed must be given, exhorting them to come out and strike a path of their own. And those who respond and succeed must be held before the youth of the nation as the ideal. Facilities must be afforded to those in jobs presently if they wish to step out and try on this line. For example, bank managers know all about running an enterprise as they are financing such ventures. But very few will dare venture themselves. Still the few who are likely to try must be encouraged to leave the bank and try on their own and must be taken back if they fail. Enterprise is not built in a day. A senior engineer of a 30 crore plant who is himself wealthy hesitates and shakes when it comes to his venturing on a 3 lakhs unit on his own. Enterprise is rare and wherever it is found, it is to be supported, encouraged, and their success held before the nation prominently. Slowly a national ideal of self-employment and prestige for it must be evolved.
At a more crucial level education must be supported for its content and not for its outer form of degree. It is very difficult to propose to those that are in authority today but the core of the matter lies there. Education must move away from its outer form of degree to its inner content of understanding. No university would allow a person, however talented he is today, to register for his Ph.D. with them if he has not passed through the grind of prior courses. A departure must be made. Talents must be free to enter any stage of education on the basis of their being talents. .
The primary effort in education is to create a reverence, an adoration for knowledge as obtained in ancient India and in England in the 19th century. It is knowledge for knowledge's sake, a sacred pursuit in itself. This alone should be the aim in the field of education. That even now the culture of the country permits and is eminently possible.
Our immediate aim in the field of education is its re-orientation to subserve the wider national aim of development. We are confining our ideas to this field now. Presently knowledge based education exists in theory and in practice the best of students are memory trained "Intellectuals". In the recent decades even this is being watered down and the mere form and symbol of the degree or diploma is clung to. A slow but steady shift to knowledge based education must be resorted to. It is common occurrence that automobile Engineers do not know driving and electrical engineers are not able to fix a fuse. They become theory based or much worse, register-maintaining officers. It may be true that a good complement of such officers are required to man the administration but when that becomes the general rule and sometimes the ideal, it is time to cry a halt to this drift. As education is in the stage of phenomenal expansion this dilution of standards can be understood as its result; but a determined effort to change it must be made.
All such changes cannot really be made if the favourable climate in the country does not obtain. Nor can it be made only by administrative measure. Strong administrative measures can have salutary effects and this was seen in the emergency. For lasting real effects the sanction of the participants is necessary. Otherwise, sooner, or later devious ways will be devised to restore the status quo in some good measure. Idealism and appeal to the idealism is good but it is not all. The core of the matter lies in the fact that the realities of life conditions require it. The movement and the administration must decide that such conditions be gradually created. In the field of education such a condition is efficiency. In the office of the Accountant General the post of a clerk for which the required qualification is S.S.L.C. is now filled by people holding Master's Degree. Government jobs being coveted ones and the degree holders available in plenty, such a thing happens. This is one side of highly qualified people filling posts that do not require their qualifications. On the other side in the agricultural department, engineering department, etc. a good number of people who do not have a minimum knowledge of the subject can be found. This is so because their jobs do not require the knowledge of the subjects. This is an undesirable condition and there is an insistent tendency to perpetuate and enlarge this area. This must be reversed. Provisions in the government department must be made to promote people based on their proven performance regardless of seniority or qualifications. It may be said that corruption will rear its head if this is resorted to. Keeping the ideal in view it is possible to work it out. E.g.(l) Engineers in a government department must be encouraged to appear for interviews for well placed private jobs and if they are selected the department must offer to retain them during their service outside and honour him, for being selected. As the government job is having a great status, this measure will lend status to the talented employees and encourage others to acquire talents; (2) Administrators like Deputy Collector, Engineers in the level of A.E., D.E. and agricultural graduates as D.A.O., Deputy Directors, must be invited to offer suggestions and solution to unsolved department problems at a higher level. If the suggestions are found viable and accepted the officers must be promoted to that higher rank. Very few will qualify for such things. Rewards for those few will inspire everyone at every level. The great efficiency the postal department has shown and the public applause it has received is partly due to the fact that even those entering at low levels can constantly qualify for higher posts and be moving so. The incentive of promotion to talents is all-comprehensive and all-pervasive.
Talents must be searched for, talents must be created, fostered when spotted or created and cherished to the end. Human talent is the outer expression of social dynamism in the individual. There is no better or no other instrument of social development. Devising ways and means of doing it is only a matter o£ detail and time.
If agriculture can be compared to the flesh of the body, industry must be the nerves of the system. Industry means enterprise. It is a wonder that the industrial efforts in India is on the present scale. India can be said to possess every ingredient for total agricultural and educational development of a high order. The social infrastructure, necessary to develop agriculture to the full and the psychological infrastructure to develop education to its pinnacle are there in the country. What is needed is the public and government effort to bring together the potentials and the needed results. The same cannot be said of Industry or said in the same measure. Life in general as we knew was limited in geographical area. Nourishment was minimal. Capital was nil. Social support for a fresh venture was available only in opposition. The knowledge of the required organisation and technology were not born out of the milieu. It is exotic and is yet to strike roots in the soil. On top of all this, one who dares venture is faced with a predicament of working in totally uncertain conditions of government rules, available power or transport, trained manpower, communication, etc. This is a field where Indian entrepreneurs have complimented themselves by establishing numerous and being able to export to some extent.
As it is, to plan for ideal industrial development we must rely on the greater potential available in the field of education. The Indian youth more readily receives the higher education and the higher technical education than he is willing to venture. The social, psychological base for industrialisation of the country must come from the training in the past of those who hold large land holdings and the seasoned administrators during the pre and post Indian Independence periods. A study of the present entrepreneurs will somewhat confirm this truth. The maximum industrial expansion would be inherently limited by this factor. Further on, the country must create enterprise and talents in this area mainly through technical education and managerial practice. The GOI is insistently shifting in the field of industry from family management to professional management. The dearth in this profession is proverbial.
As the GOI has set about identifying scientific talents from the high school stage onwards and has come to offer them scholarships, here also a full effort at grass root level must be initiated to identify the talents and offer them graded support and encouragement.
(1) Support and encouragement is best when it is non-financial social recognition and is most desirable if the candidate responds to it; (2) The next best is support in the form of education, the needed information, training with which the candidate sets on his own; (3) Next can be legal incentives as is common now; (4) Financial assistance in the shape of loans is next down the line; (5) Lower still is the institutional support in the shape of service institutions, etc.; (6) Last is the support that comes from grants and subsidies.
The following measures are suggested:
For example, South Arcot is a dry place in four taluks. But this is a place with deep water table and the soil is rich red soil. Vegetable cultivation will very much thrive here. The only industrial enterprise in rural parts here is the rice mill. A list of rice mill owners in the age group of 25-35 can be made and collected. They could be asked to consider a tomato ketchup factory or tapioca starch factory which will serve the aim of agricultural development. As the effort is within their means and ability and most of them would either be good landholders with money or be eligible for available industrial loan, with the necessary support and encouragement from the public movement and GOI, the venture will mature. As a matter of fact, we know of a rice mill owner's son having turned into a successful industrialist after graduation in Engineering. A fairly big starch mill is coming up in this area. Our information is that those who are behind are previous rice mill owners.
Starting from this grass root level of managerial talents it must be searched for at all levels up to the top most area. Earlier we mentioned encouraging bank managers to come out on leave to try their hand at an industrial venture. Many administrators at senior level would like to attempt but they wait till their retirement when their dynamism allows them mostly to be in advisory positions. Such men must be encouraged to leave the job for a while without losing the tenure of the job and try their luck.
Industries, once successfully established, a great majority of people would not want to tamper with. Those who seek multiplying are very small in number. At this stage, entrepreneurs are likely to be more security conscious than when they started. But they too would admit of expansion of the existing facilities. For them, to expand is possible and to start a new line is risky. Resistance to fresh ventures however plausible they are, is a reality among established industries of repute (Tata, Ashok Leyland). The measures taken by GOI for fuller utilisation of capacity in private and public sector has had wholesome results. On the same line these sectors could be 'educated' or gently persuaded to utilise the opportunities for expansion or to start a new one when the market makes it possible. If it had been possible for Indian entrepreneurs to start textile mills in the early part of this century in defiance of heavy odds during the British regime, it is equally possible now to embark on a similar wider effort for nation's welfare and private profit.
On this front there is much that can be done to enlarge the consumption and to increase the number of products consumed. The best market expansion is higher rate of consumption by the existing population out of freshly generated prosperity. In increasing the number of products, naturally the fashionable ones are not meant. For man to develop his faculties, inner self, improve nutrition and health we in India do not have all the necessary accessories. A study of research into these conditions to identify the possibilities will be of great help to venturing individuals.
As it is, all the quantity needed in a particular product is, in many items, supplied by one town or area. E.g. Matches and fireworks from Sivakasi, Banyans from Tirupur. (Even in trucks and railway coaches one or two factories supply the whole country's need.) That shows the enterprise of one person in one place is copiously imitated by many in that place and the result is great volume of same quality. Imitation is there but not innovation. Creativity is presently confined to the level of imitation. There is more than one way of making a product and there is more than one version of it as in pens and pencils. Extending the type of the product to serve a further need is one way of expanding the area of creativity without straining it any further. Identifying fresh areas of service and creating fresh products is a further important small area. (When the typewriter and the printing press were available the cyclostyling machine was invented to serve an intermediate purpose).
Identifying talents, drawing them into enterprises, training managerial skill, expanding present units, creating new markets, creating new products, are some of the major efforts in this field.
Ours is, even after 40 years of Independence, mainly an administration inherited from the Britisher who framed it in the middle of the last century. We have not tried to incorporate even the changes the British system has undergone. It is anachronistic, old fashioned, rigid, bureaucratic and beside the point. But if you meet the officials and talk to them about it after a long list of complaints they often, perhaps always, say that when all is said and done the British system is meritorious and if left to the Indians, in the absence of this system, catastrophe will overtake the country. What they mean is that the system makes for thoroughness and objectivity. Some of the able officers even after retirement are not able to feel that this system of administration is a hindrance to her development. With all goodwill the only thing we can say about it is, it is clumsy and meaningless. The ideal solution will be to create a new system suited to the needs of the country. It is a more interesting and inviting topic engaging one's deeper creative spirits. We shall reserve it for a later day.
Today the positive service this administration can render is minimal. But it can render full throated negative service. We mean if the administration can be rectified at every point it is annoyingly interfering or stifling, the 'service' it renders will be great.
1. Wherever and whenever a certain project is found to be feasible and desirable for the community and the private initiative is not forthcoming, the administration should come forward to run MODELS of it.
(a) Model farms of all sizes;
(b) Model crops for freshly introduced ones in farmer's lands.
(a) Offer administrative support for model efforts;
(b) create areas of co-ordination between education and industry and agriculture.
(a) Extend the idea of the fully equipped industrial estate to creating a facility and offering it on lease to future entrepreneurs;
(b) co-ordinate marketing, exporting, standardizing;
(c) institute or help needed research for industrial growth.
(2) Negative service: Come forward to clear the administration of all stifling anachronisms so that the development effort will bear its own natural fruits.
If we speak to venturing entrepreneurs or existing ones about government supporting them, the unanimous voice is that if the government does not actively stifle their efforts, all industries will flourish. What they mean is isolated government orders in one department not taking into account the needs of the manufacturer results in stoppage of work or slowing of production. All such areas are to be identified and cleared. The best way to do is to enlist the enthusiasm of the beneficiary through organised effort.
Illustrations at Random
1. A farmer wishing to install a pump set and securing a loan for that purpose is required by the electricity department to install a pump set first for them to service it with electricity. A reasonable condition apparently. The loan issuing Bank (Land Development Bank) requires from the farmer a clarification from the electricity department that they would give the connection before they release the loan. An impossible position. Naturally the farmer resorts to corrupt methods. The list of such impossible rules is very long. All of them must be scrapped.
2. The university collects a matriculation fee from every entrant to convert the S.S.L.C. holder into a matriculate; for what earthly purpose it is to be done. It is a procedure that has outlived its day.
3. Electric service connection, phone connection and many such utilities are inordinately delayed even when delay is not necessary. To release the common man from being exploited by the small corrupt men in the department rules must be devised. For instance, in a sub-division when electric connections are to be given to 100 people and only 5 can be taken up at a time, the department must fix a period of say 2 or 3 months for connection to be given from the day of the application. If the connection is delayed for each day of delay the customer must be able to deduct a fixed sum say Rs.10/- from his advance. And if the list of applicants and the dates of granting service are required to be put on notice in the office, the possibility of either delay or corruption will be reduced.
4. To have a lorry registered at the transport office, it is a ritual. Few can escape the blessings of corruption. Provision must be made for the owner of the lorry to have the vehicle certified by any other qualified person so that the erring official will only have the right to disprove it.
The administration today still has a great authority over people and it is often exercised without thought for the right results. As it was inherited from the Britisher, (the authority which was then mixed with fear of the people) the administration still retains the authority. In all developed countries the administration is functional and has the due regard. It is never a source of power. Here in India the administration apart from being functional is authoritarian because the population concedes it and the officers are used to it with the result very often it becomes non-functional and on occasions capable of thwarting any normal routine function. A developing economy can ill afford it. Immediate steps must be taken to bifurcate the non-functional authority from functional administration. THE HINDU in its feature 'Changing Times' spoke of the great good that issues out of small reforms. If reforms are initiated with a view to achieving this, the common man will not suffer avoidable harassment at the hands of the officialdom. Even this one aspect can usher in very great flood of energy into the active veins of the nation. Organisational remedies must be in-built into official procedures to prevent injustices being inflicted on people. For instance an employee was removed from government service. She filed in her appeal to the higher authorities who viewed it favourably. But her immediate superior refused to receive the appeal and returned it to the petitioner. Though the advance copy lies with the superiors who are generally in favour, they expressed their helplessness in the situation. It is for the petitioner to plead with her boss to forward it which she refused. The only alternative now is to move the court which is a costly as well as long drawn process. In these situations the immediate superior must be under an obligation to forward the paper. If she fails to do so in say 30 days, the law must state the order she passed against the petitioner automatically cancels itself. Such a provision in the procedure prevents many an injustice. The offices of the several secretaries and directors at the State and Central levels are half full of such orders and appeals against them. Normally the settlement of one issue takes a few years.
Bank agents receive documents from customers and do not give a receipt for it and if asked they never do so. A customer hands in a sheaf of documents and the authority for that is the banker's word which is very often what is convenient to him. This procedure puts the customer at the mercy of the official and leads to malpractice.
Cleaning the administration of anachronisms, simplifying the unwanted procedures, removing procedures by which the public is at the mercy of the official, introducing safeguards to the public in the matter of services and a host of other things, will go a very long way to make the nation dynamic even as it is. We would rather say, if the government comes forward to do this much even after lifting the emergency, a greater efficiency than during the emergency can be witnessed.
Now the question is -- Who is to do this? How is this to be done? In what measure? What is the outline of procedure?
We shall answer these questions of ours, almost re-stating most of our earlier arguments and illustrations in the context of such answers. Some are to be done by the idealist public, others by idealistic youth, some others by the determined administrator and the rest by the sequences initiated.
He who feels called upon to initiate such a movement with the support of those who subscribe to his ideals should formally inaugurate the movement after generally eliciting the opinions of those who constitute the leaders of thought and action of the country. It is generally true that most movements have a single inspired leader. It can also be true that in a wider effort the ideal assumes a far greater place than anyone single leader or leadership. It is possible that the central aim gives the direction, the ideal inspires and the organisation leads without centering around personalities. It is our belief that this movement will grow and spread on these lines. The ideals, methods, and the immediate and distant aims of the movement must be placed before the public through the press in general.
Seminars and symposia organised for this purpose to discuss in detail the list of requirements of each segment can powerfully stir the thought of those involved and secure the mental sanction of the nation for the wider movement.
Studies and researches into the constitution of administration, banks and other institutions will provide the raw materials for thought.
A national glow of thought when seen on the horizon will mean the country has accorded sanction to the work.
The work itself is to be taken up by the movement at large and in conjunction with whatever limb of the administration or public organisation that lends support to the ideals.