Kerala Kaumudi Online
Thursday, 13 June 2024 6.07 AM IST

Piling up of files in secretariat; let competent employees take over


Competition between competence and efficiency is present everywhere. It is also common to suspect isn't the basis of one's efficiency based on that person's educational qualification or excellence. However, book knowledge and the ability to perform a work utilizing that knowledge are two different things. The conflict between the qualification and its implementation capacity in the case of government employees did not start today or yesterday. It is only now that we begin to feel that the reason why the files pile up in the Secretariat without resolution is not because those who handle them are not qualified enough, but maybe because they are not competent to decide on the human problems, the technical issues and the legal aspects involved in them!

In the context of that realization, the Administrative Reforms Expert Committee has now recommended that a 'Knowledge Bank' should be formed in every office consisting of people who are capable beyond educational qualifications. This is simply called belated wisdom. The Expert Committee formed under the leadership of Public Administration Department Joint Secretary R Santosh Kumar has recommended that the services of such Knowledge Bank officers will be useful to increase the efficiency of various offices in the Secretariat and increase the speed of work. The committee reckons that they can study files quickly, grasp the subject and take quick decisions. However, a question arises about how to understand the efficiency of the officer.

Legal knowledge, efficiency, aptitude for technical systems including computers, and excellence in competitive examinations will be the criteria for this aptitude test. These special abilities will be considered in addition to high educational qualifications. Making a decision using knowledge and understanding is a mental and intellectual process. In addition to a healthy mental state, it needs an independent mind to make decisions without bias, a good sense of the rightness of one's decision, and fearlessness to take responsibility for that action. That is why interest and practice in yoga, acrobatic exercises etc. are considered as criteria for selection of knowledge bank members.

At present the basic consideration for promotions is the educational qualification of the employees. In the new system, there will be exams to assess the above abilities. Training will come for those who are averse to technical matters. Those who do not respond to the test and training will have to be redeployed. There will naturally be different types of reactions to the recommendations of the Administrative Reforms Commission. There will be objections that it is a move to insert unqualified people into offices. It is the responsibility of the government to select the officers for the knowledge bank in such a way that they are not open to such objections or doubts. That selection should not only be transparent and honest, it should also be free from political considerations. In any case, there is no doubt that the slow nature of government offices will change drastically if smart people who have practical knowledge beyond book knowledge get the upper hand.

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