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Of Delayed Infra Projects, Non-Performing Babus & An Exasperated Minister

Road Transport & Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari does not hide his frustration with obstructionist bureaucrats. He is vocal and open about it.  From time to time, he has been using various fora to drive home his point. He is furious at the slow pace with which the files move from the desk of a director-level officer to a joint secretary, additional secretary and secretary.  He has warned the bureaucrats that “dead assets in government, who neither take decisions nor allow others to work, would be shown the door.” But, bureaucrats on their part seem indifferent to his threat and insult. Result, Gadkari seems to have given up on them.  At a web-based event, he threw his hands up and said: “After my six years’ experience I have found that in this system people won’t change. I am coming to the conclusion that it is very difficult to change them. I have given up on these people.”  And now, a few months back while speaking at the inauguration of the eight-floor NHAI building, Gadkari said: “The project was decided in 2008. Twelve years, two governments and eight NHAI chairmen came and went before this building could be completed. I am ashamed.” So how do we bring accountability and responsibility among bureaucrats? If a minister cannot fix this problem who can? Can the judiciary (saddled with lakhs of pending cases) play a role here? There are more questions than answers.