Saturday, March 05, 2005

A great book

I bought and read Arun Shourie's "Governance and the scelerosis that has set within" recently. It is a great book!

Here is the official excerpt:

"Can officers use red or green ink on files? A simple question, you may think. But in government it is enough to set off meetings, letters, references to other ministries that stretch over a year. . . A tree false on to the house of the Indian High Commissioner; memos fly to and fro, and for nine years government cogitates and deliberates, and weighs pros and cons, unable to decide who is to repair the house, and how. . . From such trifles to matters that spell the difference between life and death, the same pattern. . . Environment degenerates. Laws are passed. Rules are formulated under those laws. Boards are set up to enforce the laws, the rules. The degradation accelerates. . . Intelligence agencies, governors experts on national security issue warning upon warning about the peril that the demographic inundation from Bangladesh spells for our country. Political parties keep quarreling about the matter. Ministers keep issuing statements, and disowning them. Governments keep ordering intelligence agencies to prepare position papers, and then up-dates of position papers, legislatures keep drowning the warnings. Courts keep adjourning hearing. The inundation continues. . . .
Governments shut their eyes to a problem. The problem swells. Governments look the other way. The problem explodes. Governments set up an institution to tackle it. Five years later, exactly what had been forecast comes to pass - the problem is still there, and the institution has become another problem. . . . As the institution has not worked, a law is passed. As the law is not enforced, amendments are decreed that make penalties under the law more frightening. Legislation as a substitute for enforcement. Vision statements, plan documents, strategy papers as a substitute for execution." (jacket)

I recommend this book to everyone who wonders why after 50 years of independence, we don't have adequate literacy or access to clean drinking water.

His website:


kattricker said...

Hey Gops, looks certainly interesting. I havent read any of Arun Showri, only knew he was a well educated politician. Can I borrow your book? ;-)

Gops said...

Sure - anytime.