Deconstruction of Nepalese bureaucracy « प्रशासन
१ असार २०७७, सोमबार

Deconstruction of Nepalese bureaucracy

प्रकाशित मिति : 15 June, 2020 10:23 am

Deconstruction is a postmodernism literary theory propounded by French thinker Jacques Derrida, also known as father of deconstruction which facilitates to understand the relationship between text and its meaning. Deconstruction also understood as philosophical movement and theory of literary criticism that questions traditional assumptions on certainty, identity, and truth.

It is a way of reading philosophical texts that subverts the presuppositions of established thought. According to Derrida, in any binary opposition and hierarchy the first term is more privileged over other. Deconstruction critically examines the system of thought without dismantling the perception of reality. It tries to provide the radical alternative perspective. If texts are closely analyzed plurality of meaning are possible. There may be multiple significance, subversive meanings and multiple meanings are possible.

Deconstruction idea dares us to challenges obsoleted bureaucratic traditions and administrative legacies. In governance, new concepts as governance without government, self organizing networks, anti-administration, de-bureaucratization, de-regulation has been emerging. Such emerging concepts are influenced by deconstruction ideas in bureaucracy. In the rapidly changing world to make bureaucracy survivable in the future, deconstruction ideas must be adopted and practiced in any form in the future.

In this context, nobody should misunderstand that deconstruction of bureaucracy does not mean the destruction of bureaucracy. It is a new ways of thinking, doing, practicing and achieving the bureaucratic goals and objectives in the future. Deconstruction of bureaucracy questions the unquestioned presuppositions of the existing bureaucratic system to solve chronic unsolved problems associated to daily operations. The problems may be related to the government or citizens, or employees themselves.

The rampant corruption, social insecurity, instable laws and policies, economic underperformance, are the results of inefficient or insufficient regulations. We are not able to make new federal civil service act incorporating federal spirit to this date.

On the one hand, politics or government is not satisfied with the performance of existing bureaucracy. On the other hand, citizens have long been dissatisfied from the behavior of bureaucratic organizations and employees. Bureaucrats themselves within the bureaucracy are not satisfied from the poor facilities provided by the government. It proves that the existing bureaucracy is being suffered from multi-dimensional problems.

By overseeing the angle of deconstruction, we can see some binary oppositions in Nepalese bureaucracy such as center and periphery (field), officer and non officer, higher level officer and junior level officer, attractive and less attractive office and post, and so on. The employees associated to the first term have been enjoying more privileges than second term. The boundary between such binary oppositions in bureaucracy should be erased. There should not be any superiority and inferiority within the bureaucracy. All the employees are equally important within the bureaucracy. They have to be equally respected, recognized, treated, and equally benefitted.

Similarly, we employees think ourselves as ruler and citizens as ruled. We have been harassing our valued citizens in each and every points of service delivery. The deep rooted thinking pattern is one of the obstacles to serve people. Existing structure do not allow employees to be loyal and responsible to the people. We are shamelessly asking extra money in the name of speed money (bribe). Such types of our bureaucratic practice and legacies must be deconstructed.

Deconstruction concept gives an insight to overlook existing bureaucratic norms, values, cultures, and practices in the different way. It can subvert the presumptions of existing bureaucratic truth such as job security, permanency, higher class, lower class, and so on. Deconstruction attacks all notions of bureaucratic supremacy. Deconstruction can be said as radical change in existing bureaucratic norms, values, culture, system, and structures to address the rampant problems faced by the government and employees themselves, service seekers, and citizens. Cosmetic and incremental reforms are not enough to make bureaucracy well functioned.

For this, we have to reordering our priority from machine to man, principle to practice, process to result, exclusion to inclusion, top to bottom approach to bottom up approach, pyramid structure to project model structure. Focus should be given from hierarchy to network, rule of law to role of law, equality to equity, outputs to outcomes, single responsibility and accountability to mutual and shared accountability.

Nepalese bureaucracy has been accused as slow, lazy, passive, cumbersome, greedy, unethical, corrupt, and incompetent. There are vast gap between promise and delivery, policy and performance, and principle and practice. Such types of chronic problems can be solved by adopting deconstruction concepts as anti-administration, de-regulation, smart bureaucracy and other radical measures.
In this regard, our unnecessary and duplicated bureaucratic structures, our stereotyped thinking pattern of self-supremacy, result unfriendly work culture, and ill intentions must be dismantled. A smart bureaucracy is more suitable than large sized bureaucracy. The rampant corruption, social insecurity, instable laws and policies, economic underperformance, are the results of inefficient or insufficient regulations. We are not able to make new federal civil service act incorporating federal spirit to this date.

The concept of deconstruction is significant to think and practice in Nepalese context. It facilitates de-regulation and anti-administration for the prosperity of the private sector. The concept of government as a business and citizens as consumers can be a new way of remaking relationship between the people and the state.

The existing concepts of merit and meritocracy must be redefined in comprehensive way i.e. based on the academic accomplishments, skill, competency, integrity and ethics, attitude, and performance rather solely depend on the examination of public service commission. In this direction, the 360 degree appraisal concept may contribute little bit. The existing state structures are quiet favorable to certain cluster of people. Within this structure state is not able to hunt diversity talent.

After the establishment of the public service commission in BS 2008 meritocracy has been practicing. But why the merit based bureaucracy could not excel its performance and deliver the result to the people and the government? The overall result of the country is so poor that the condition of public service delivery, economic development, foreign relationship, socio-cultural transformation are not satisfactory in comparison of state’s investment. If the country is run by the merit why the overall conditions become so poor?

Then question arises that bureaucracy is run by the meritocracy or by the kakistocracy? It means the existing concept and the standard of merit and meritocracy should be deconstructed by introducing real meritocracy i.e. the inclusive or comprehensive meritocracy. State should be equally responsible to ensure the overall welfare of the diverse people. State structures should be deconstructed to ensure easy access to all segments of the population rather favorable to targeted narrow segment of the population.

Bureaucratic deconstruction is a new way of searching solution to solve big problems. Deconstruction does not mean the destruction of existing system but means the replacement of the nonperforming system or outdated ideologies by introducing new system and culture. Reverse thinking and practice should be introduced to create its new identity to make existing bureaucracy better, smarter and not for destruction. Anti-bureaucracy, de-administration, de-regulation may be the new ideas to deconstruct the existing bureaucracy. It means all the bureaucratic norms, values, systems, principles, thinking and practices should be analyzed in different way in order to make it more result oriented, efficient, effective, smart, responsive, dedicated, disciplined, development-friendly and many more what are lacking today. The process can establish the new identity without losing its own core ideals.

Traditional roles and responsibilities of each and every individual may differ. It does not mean that there should be hierarchy like corporate boss and servant. All individuals across bureaucracy may have different talent, competency and ability. So, it is necessary to celebrate all accomplishments achieved by the individuals as an organizational accomplishment. It is necessary to dismantle all the sticky floors and glass ceiling for the access of women in the policy making level. Similar steps can be applied to bring other marginalized community into main stream.

Oppression to any individual based on the caste, religion, culture, language, and other means is taken as human crime. Celebration of all cultures by dismantling of human discrimination and other artificial barriers are the real practice of deconstruction of bureaucracy. For the first time in the history of Nepalese civil service, the inclusion policy introduced in BS 2064 was really a step towards deconstruction of bureaucracy. Such revolutionary reforms are waiting to make the existing bureaucracy more accepted, more honored, more recognized, and best survival in the future. Creation of new bureaucracy having new approach, procedures, principles, norms, values, thinking and practices can benefit overall population, the government, the state and beyond.

For this, existing bureaucracy should be deconstructed by means of rebuilding its structure goal oriented, remaking its laws and policies development oriented, and redesigning its plans and programs result oriented, and reshaping employees behavior human friendly.

Political leaders always enjoyed to politicize bureaucracy. Now the bureaucracy has become the right hand of political leaders to fulfill their personal interest rather than to provide quality service to the citizens. Over politicization has condemned the bureaucracy to deliver the service in free and fair manner. Civil service employees’ trade unions are divided on the basis of political ideologies into several associations. Instead of uniting in the common agenda and the welfare of entire employees they are seemed as sister organizations of political parties.

The civil service is not being the first choice of best and bright students from renowned colleges and universities. The examination system of Public Service Commission could not attract the attention of high caliber students.

In the perspective of employees, the existing bureaucracy is not fair. It is full of biasness. There are no chances to develop career with honest efforts. No equal opportunities are available among employees. It depends upon the capacity of bargaining in unfair way. Similarly, in the perspective of people the existing structure is not favorable to the people. The stakeholders are not satisfied with the public service delivery system. The dominance of greedy, selfish, corrupts and dishonest personnel over the honest and hardworking employees are the chief sources of discrimination and corruption in the public sector.

Another changing new trend among young entrants in civil service is mission PSC examination rather being a change agent and the role model and excelling in public service delivery. They have little interest in reforming in bureaucracy, governance and public service delivery but they have strong desire to reach in higher position and grab opportunities. They always run for opportunities by overtaking the colleges.

The very interesting aspect of Nepalese governance system is that the person who used to sit behind the classroom in schools and colleges become the political leader and now in policymaking level.

Those who used to sit in the middle benches, studied general subject and passed in multiple attempts with Gandhi division, now they are managers, administrators and close to politicians. But those students having outstanding academic achievement, studied hard subjects—sciences, medicine, engineering, agriculture, forestry, and information technology, become scientists, pilots, doctors, engineers, technicians. Now they are suppressed, neglected and administered by third and second bench-holders. They are confined with narrow career path. The current scenario of Nepalese bureaucracy is full of such contradictions. So, it is necessary to dismantle these contradictions.

Respect and recognition of creative minds can contribute to stop brain drain. The policy of equal opportunities to all services, groups and subgroups, creative PSC examination system, fair reward and punishment system can attract talent university graduate. It needs to celebration of result and ending glorifying process. Developing the relationship between supervisor and subordinate as co-workers, enhancing team spirit and group dynamism are other means of motivating employees.

Our bureaucracy must be able to address the problems of the country and the people. People are the job creator. Employees have been receiving their salaries and other benefits from the treasury contributed by citizens in the form of different taxes and royalties. So, bureaucrats are not the ruler of the people. So, such types of conventional thinking pattern and bureaucratic legacy should be dismantled.

The demand of the time is that bureaucracy should be more inclusive. So, it should respect the aspirations of the Women, Indigenous people, Dalits, Madesis, Disabled, Deprived, Marginalized and Suppressed groups and communities. For this, the civil service must be inclusive for certain decades. Some seats of bureaucracy must be reserved as well as empowerment campaigns should be launched side by side. All types of provisions related to the discrimination on the basis of economic, social, cultural, political, religion, as well as race and gender must be strictly eliminated.

We have to build hundreds of infrastructure projects, ensure better healthcare and education system, and improve service delivery, and overall governance system to achieve the long term vision- Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali.

From the above explanation of deconstruction ideas it can be concluded that for the sake of country and the people, deconstruction of bureaucracy demands revisiting history, rebuilding structure, redefining norms and values, recreating cultures and traditions, remaking laws and policies, reorganizing tasks and jobs, reshaping behavior and practice, reorienting ethics and integrity, reordering priorities, reestablishing images and identity and so forth whatever barriers and hurdles in the course of reform and development.

For this, existing bureaucracy should be deconstructed by means of rebuilding its structure goal oriented, remaking its laws and policies development oriented, and redesigning its plans and programs result oriented, and reshaping employees behavior human friendly.

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