Monday, January 23, 2012

[HumJanenge] Can RTI Act be Used as a Genuine Tool to Make Govt Accountable

Dear True Honourable RTI Activists,

I wish to share some thoughts with you all who have been selflessly working to make the government accountable by improvement in the governance. I must confess that I have no knowledge of RTI Act or laws/rules/legislations. However, I am fully aware if our country can get true national e governance plan implemented, we would be like top 40 developed countries in the corruption index. The import of Telecom, Media and Technology (TMT) is supreme in quantum improvement in governance which can rid the country of corruption up to 95 % in conjunction with strong Lokpal as the combined deterrent is really huge. 5 % corruption will still remain as extreme of greed surpasses all barriers.

Today's news in ET says that government has backed the candidature of 1979 batch IAS officer Jitesh Khosla as the head of UTI Asset Management Company. The history is replete with failure of all state run profit center PSUs which have been headed by non-professionals. Examples are in plenty, starting from UTI itself, Air India, BSNL, most state SEBs and so on. Behind all these failures, there is only one reason that all these failed units were headed by non professionals. While government servants like IAS are very good in policy and planning but they have absolutely zero experience in handling hard work oriented profit centers. Running profit centers professionally involves burning mid night oil to understand the importance of financial targets, Month-on-Month, Q-o-Q etc, commit to achieve the targets by sound plan, diligent execution and very religious periodic review almost on daily basis. Most successful professionals follow this and deliver the financial performance. We have top examples of Tata, Reliance, Birla, Infosys, Wipro and many more such outstanding companies who reward their share holders with good returns on Y-o-Y basis, Contrast this with the babu culture of government working, no pressure of targets, no time bound  delivery of results, no accountability for failure, job and promotion are intact till 60 and re-employment is assured till 65. It is this reason that state profit center PSUs, leaving a few headed by professionals, almost all have Y-o-Y deprived the share holders of their returns. Putting a non professional as a head of a profit center is like asking an MD to do surgery. The patient would dread the consequences. Worst, these non professionals who lead the public profit centers to recurrent losses just get away without any accountability. While they enjoy the power to sanction finances but have no penalty for financial mismanagement. The professionals on the other hand lose their jobs in less than a year if company goes into successive quarterly losses if attributed to the performance. The country needs to strictly ban the non-professionals from heading the state profit centers. Hard earned money of the public can not be allowed to be mishandled by these in-experienced non professionals who actually are a square peg in a round hole if placed as heads of state profit centers. However, we also have examples  like BHEL, DMRC which are profitable why because they are headed by professionals, thank heavens.

Dear true and honourable RTI activists, please take up the cudgels to ask the government to stop the appointment of a non professional as head of UTI AMC and never to appoint non professionals as head of any state profit centers. I am not sure whether RTI Act can be used to achieve this. 

Jai Hind.

With warm regards,

Col Mahesh Khera

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