Is Bureaucracy Proving to be the Biggest Hurdle in India’s Development…The Inside Story!

Bureaucracy is not only crippling the Modi administration but also bringing system to halt; this is true at least in the case of the Union Human Resource Development ministry where non-action at the National Book Trust an autonomous organisation of the ministry appeared counter-productive. Actually appointment of Board of Trusty (BOT) and Executive Council (EC) has been pending for over a year despite several reminders by the NBT to the ministry officials. The delay has sent the NBT in tizzy as this might cause a serious financial crunch for the NBT in the next financial year.

Sources informed that the NBT might not get budget for the next financial year as Comptroler and Auditor General refused to accept the annual report sent to it by the NBT saying that it did not have the approval of BOT and EC of the NBT and without that the report did not have any value for the CAG. This has already been convened to the NBT by CAG. Unless the CAG considers the report, there might have some problem in the budget of the next financial year getting released. The last meeting of the EC/BOT took place in July 2015 and its tenure ended in September 2015.

Sources informed that the list for the nomination of EC/BOT members was sent to the ministry sometimes in November 2015 and several reminders have been sent to the officials since then but nothing has been done so far in this regard. Sources further said that as per NBT Act requires EC/BOT to compulsorily meet after every six months as only their decision was final in the case of NBT. But the current status suits the ministry officials as EC/BOT is not in place ministry so officials are not only forcing their decision on the NBT compromising its autonomy but also harming it by allowing corrupt practices.

Some of the names that have been sent to the ministry for the EC/BOT included Brij Kishor Sharma, Liladhar Jagudi, Dr Nand Kishor Pandey, Prof K N Tiwari, Suresh Gautam, Dr Shatrughan  Prashad, Dr R Balashankar, Prof Tribhuvan Nath Shukla, Neerja Madhav, Vinay Rajaram and Prabhat Kumar. The BOT consists of 18 members that included 4 ex-officio members. Additional secretary (higher education), Financial advisor HRD ministry, president Sahitya Academy and additional director general Publication Division are ex-officio members while 14 others are nominated by the ministry on advise of the NBT. Chairman of the NBT chairs both these bodies.

Sources informed that officials were unable to take any decision on the appointment of EC/BOT but big decisions like ending outsourcing of warehouse of the NBT was taken, an official whose appointment was twice rejected by the NBT was appointed to take care of the financial matters of the NBT by the ministry with the special intervention of the secretary (higher education) who is about to retire in February 2017 and chargesheeted people have once again been given the responsibility to take care of the warehouse. A committee in the name of Subhramanian Committee was formed to look for corruption charges in the warehouse to the tune of Rs 63 lakh worth books whose actual price was in crores. The report is not shared with the NBT which actually needed it to correct its system.

Vinod S