speeches are so good that they not only deserve praise but also recollection
and analysis. Shri Nitin Gadkari’s address at the inauguration of the NHAI
building in Delhi on 26th October, 2020 was one such rare display of
unhesitating candour and clarity. The Minister articulated ‘all’ that is
undesirable in the Babucracy of our country. Coming from someone who is
within the system and works closely with this class, it accentuates and
authenticates certain aspects of some people in sarkar.
an inauguration event would have called for a celebratory and congratulatory
tone. But the talk was everything but that. This editorial is dedicated to
paraphrasing some key points:
The Minister expressed a sense of shame and said he was incapable of giving Abhinandan
(joyful regard) when he sees the functioning of the NHAI (the budget allocated
in the F.Y. 2019-20 is Rs. 1.12 lakh crores).
project was started in 2008 and the tender awarded in 2011. The project saw two
governments and eight NHAI Chairmen before being completed! He pointed out that
the Delhi-Mumbai highway project worth Rs. 80,000 to Rs. 100,000 crores, will
take 3.5 years to complete, while this one cost Rs. 250 crores and yet took so
long! Sarcastically, he requested an internal ‘research paper’ to show how
decisions do not get taken for years and how hurdles are created to obstruct
things from happening.
He mentioned the designations of Chairman, DGM and GM and sarcastically
requested putting up the photographs of those whose indecision took 11 long
years for a project (as small as this one) to be completed.
escape route (or excuse route): He predicted that a ‘record will
be created’ to blame the contractor because he went to the NCLT to justify the
It wasn’t just indecision, but while remaining indecisive creating even further
complications instead of getting the work done – this was the attitude (or
attribute!) of such people and they remained stuck at the NHAI for years. He
didn’t doubt their integrity, but their way of thinking was like that of a VishKanya.
of CGM and GM: He called this convention of hierarchy nikammi
(trashy, despicable and useless) and naalaayak (worthless).
raw material: The ‘basic raw material’ (those hired) was bad. We
are not able to hire from IITs and IIMs, while those who are incapable of
working even in a state government are made CGMs and GMs and promoted at NHAI.
accountable: While fingers were pointed at contractors,
engineers, designers and action was also taken, but not against the RO, CGM,
GM, PD and such internal functionaries. Even Members of the NHAI depend on the
GM and CGM and do not know what is going on. GMs do not inform the Members of
even emergency matters. Although the organisation has credibility in the
market, it did not know about its own performance bottlenecks. Akaryaksham
(incapable to act), bhrashta (corrupt) and nikkama (useless)
people are still powerful and act arbitrarily in NHAI.
Cost overruns and futile court cases which when lost award compensation to
contractors and jack up the costs many fold. He even gave examples.
Committees in NHAI rake up negativity, inaction and complicate matters. They
are non-performing assets.
We treat everyone equally (pun intended), give eight out of ten to those who
are not fit for working in the government. We treat donkeys and horses alike.
system that is inefficient, inactive, negative, maker of indecisive committees
and holding up work should be demolished. In spite of several reports on
reforms, no initiative is taken for implementing them.
ended by saying that organisations must be TRANSPARENT, TIME-BOUND,
RESULT-ORIENTED, QUALITATIVE, CORRUPTION-FREE and SMART.
Well, he stated
all that needs to be cured! If this part of Babucracy changes, India
will transform. Faster!