Thursday, December 16, 2010

Two little hands that toil all day

Should children only play when they are very young, and as they grow older, either play or learn ? I don't subscribe to this school of thought. Work never hurt anyone, not even children. So right from the day they are old enough to do so, children should be encouraged to particiapte in household work. Whether its making their bed or putting things away or chopping vegetables or watering the greens or embroidering handkerchiefs or doing such repair jobs as they can ------ the sooner children begin, the sooner they will learn the dignity of labour, the sooner they will imbibe all the precious lessons that work alone can teach.

But if the child is made to work to earn his bread and butter, is that conscionable?

If the child begins at the crack of dawn, slaves through the day, and doesn't get to bed till late at night, do we accept that?

If the child is kicked and slapped and pushed around and treated like a slave, do we still say that its not a bad idea if children are made to work?

If the child is put to work in a hazardous environment, which could well cut short his life, or irretrievably damage his health, do we still nod in the affirmative when asked whether child labour is alright?

If the child longs to play in the sun and get wet in the rain and fly with the wind, is it not a crime to make him wait on tables?

If the child is deprived of education so that he remains, even when he grows up, unskilled and unlettered and no more able to earn a decent living than as a child, is that not a life wasted?

If the child doesn't work, he may well starve ---that's an argument advanced by many who find child labour abhorrent but do not oppose it for this seemingly good reason.Why should the child starve? Why should a country that signs multi billion deals for nuclear power plants not undertake to feed every child? Do we not have the resources? We do ---what we lack is the political commitment, which will not come till the middle class that can drive such an agenda is satisfied with the specious argument that the child will starve if he doesn't work.

An equally specious argument is that it is the parent's responsibility to feed the child he brings into the world.I do not dispute the parent's moral responsibility in this regard,  but if the State fails in its responsibility to provide employment to all those willing to work, and parents are therefore faced with the awful sceptre of their children crying themselves to sleep on hungry stomachs, the fault lies not with the parents but with the State. Were this the age of despots and divine rights, the responsibility of the State could perhaps be disputed. However, in an age where all but a small majority of States profess to be welfare States, and in a country whose Constitution makes this declaration in ringing tones, the State's responsibility to offer work to all those willing to work cannot be gainsaid.

There are those who argue that the abolition of child labour and the concomitant implementation of children's right to education should be done in a phased manner. The Western world lived with child labour for centuries, they argue. Why do we wish to abolish it overnight? To impress upon the Western world that our humanitarian facade glitters no less than theirs? To get business from countries that insist on certification that child labour has not entered the goods they buy? We should not get swept away by these considerations, some people argue, but remain firmly rooted in the Indian reality and let child labour die a slow and gradual death.

This argument astonishes me.  We, who pride ourselves in being one of the most ancient civilizations of the world that reached the acme of philosophical thought even before others began living as human beings, need to learn no lessons from the Western world regarding a very fundamental human value ---our duty to cherish our children ----nor to impress them. We must do what we must because we must, and to consider doing it in a 'phased manner" (what dreadful bureaucratese) is to condemn millions of children to misery without even hearing their cry.

Do we also not need to remember that these millions of children are India's future? Do we expect them to know their civic responsibilities, to be as economically productive as they can be , to take fierce pride in their nation and be of firm resolve to solve its problems if we cannot free them from labour, give them food, place them in schools?

Does the middle class, ensconsed in comfort, benefiting the most from India's growth story, and applauding the country's growing presence on the global stage, not have a responsibility towards these children? Will we not hear their cry, even if the cacophony of the Kalmadis and Rajas and Radias and Ambanis drowns it?


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Men may come and men may go

For men may come and men may go, 
                            But I go on for ever.

Tennyson, when he wrote these immortal lines, could not have imagined how aptly they would one day describe the investigations that our agencies undertake into high profile cases of corruption, tax evasion, money laundering etc etc.  When an investigation is initiated, it blazes across the front pages of newspapers, TV anchors gush over the spokespersons of the investigating agency or the officers leading the investigation.  In the agency's Annual Report, or monthly performance report (when there is one), the investigation adds to the tally, and sometimes to the agency's glamour quotient. The top mandarins in the Ministries  concerned talk of it as if the investigation were being conducted under their direct and expert supervision, the political bosses make statements in Parliament, to the media, in all those forums where they need to have their stock raised a little (or more !). Arrests are made, truckloads of documents are seized, summons are issued, statements are recorded. 

One would expect such frantic activity to result quickly in Show Cause Notices, charge sheets, and attachment of ill-gotten property. One would expect the agencies to vigorously and assiduously pursue such cases and obtain conviction of the accused and confiscation of the property involved. One would expect news of such developments to be splashed in the media sooner than later. One would hope that such severe and prompt action would act as an effective deterrent for those inclined to treat the national exchequer as their route to numbered accounts in bank havens. One would be an imbecile to harbour such hopes and expectations! 

What happens really is that such investigations slide softly, smoothly, silently into a twilight zone, and hardly ever see the light of the day. There they rest, year after year, to be pulled out once in a while when some semblance of activity is to be demonstrated. The reasons for such woeful neglect of cases that should have been the focus of the agency's best investigative skills are manifold.

First and foremost, these are cases booked by the investigative agency not because it is fired by the zeal to do its job in the best possible manner, but because these investigations serve rather base political motives or because there is public pressure or an expose by the media. So the moment a compromise or conciliation between political foes is reached or the spotlight moves to another subject, the investigation gets pushed to the deepest recesses of the vast ocean that is "pending investigations". If a progress report is to be submitted to an august body such as a Joint Parliamentary Committee, stock phrases such as “the matter is being actively pursued” are copy/pasted month on month, year on year, and they actually pass muster! Some of these cases do make some headway –--- that’s mostly because the political regime has changed, or the spotlight has returned to an old case.

Even when there ceases to be a reason for the case to linger forever and ever, not much progress is made because most of our investigative agencies, notwithstanding the fact that they are given such appellations as ‘premier agency”, are terribly under staffed, seriously under trained, and lacking in a work culture that places premium not on “resourcefulness”, that euphemistic phrase that describes the ability to have strings pulled, but on delivery of outcomes. The scariest part is that we do not even publicly acknowledge these challenges, and continue to live in a make believe world where our sleuths are no less than the best in the world in terms of knowledge, skills, aptitude, dedication, and training.

Interestingly, at least some of these agencies have been placed outside the purview of the RTI Act. So if a citizen wishes to know 6 months from now what the status of the cases booked today against A Raja is, he could well be told that such information cannot be disclosed under the provisions of the RTI Act, either because the agency is excluded from the Act’s purview or because such disclosure would hamper the investigation!

So citizen monitoring is out of the question, but is any monitoring taking place at all? There are several hierarchical monitoring arrangements in place, including high sounding inter Ministerial Committees, but the truth is that there is scarcely any monitoring because accountability is not a phrase most bureaucrats and politicians are comfortable with.

If our federal investigating agencies could be made directly answerable to Parliamentary Standing Committees and the meetings/proceedings of the Standing Committees thrown open to citizens and the media, perhaps the situation could be redeemed. Perhaps we need the Supreme Court, the only institution with some credibility, to give such a direction.  

Monday, December 6, 2010

The know-it-alls

One thing more than any other which has led to inefficiency in our admistrative set up is the know-it-all attitude of bureaucrats.

Some of us have studied science or engineering, others are from the humanities schools, a few are doctors, still others management graduates. None of these disciplines is really germane to the jobs we later perform. The academic rigour that is a pre- requisite for many of these degrees definitely helps hone the skills of analysis and problem solving that a civil servant is required to extensively use, but just as an MBBS cannot be expected to run a corporation without becoming familiar with the nuts and bolts of the business, a civil servant should not step into office without first undertaking a tremendous amount of learning, given the wide -sweeping impact of the jobs he performs.

We do undergo a year or two of training, most part of which is spent in making friends, having a good time, and perhaps finding the perfect match. Then we get our first postings, and would you believe it, we know it all! How is a district to be run? How are law and order to be maintained? How are taxes to be collected and tax evasion prevented? We know it all! 

We do not even take the trouble of making ourselves well and truly conversant with the laws, rather complex and arcane at times,  that we  administer. On the rare occasion that we do, in the first flush of enthusiasm right after beginning hands-on work, we are loath to continuously learn, to keep pace with developments, with international best practices etc. So if I have learned a little of the Customs Act, I will strongly resist having to acquaint myself with the legal provisions regarding Service Tax.I will be reluctant to familiarise myself what my counterparts in the rest of the world are doing, to attend seminars and workshops (unless these are in a European location or the USA !), to question, to improve. 

Having begun our careers on that note, is it any surprise that we grow more and insular as the years go by?

What trade and industry have to say become anathema to us. No matter how complex the manufacturing or business process or business model  , we sit in our offices, supremely confident that we know it all, without ever asking the specialists to explain, without asking them questions, without actually reading the relevant material. In our conduct towards those we had pledged to serve, we are rather condescending, refusing to hear them, to learn from them.At no cost will we admit that we do not know, that there exist solutions other and perhaps better than the ones we have. Decisions on the most difficult and complex issues are taken without the technicalities being fully comprehended and properly appreciated. On the rare occasion that the stake holders are invited to make presentations etc, our insistence is on getting it acknowledged that we are busy people, with hectic schedules, and that the presentation has to be brief, to the point etc, while retaining the prerogative of regaling the captive audience with long-drawn anecdotes that establish our great administrative acumen, foresight etc etc!

So poor decisions are taken, there are difficulties in implementation, time and cost over runs. Sometimes, projects are abandoned half way through. There are occasions when the intended beneficiaries actually become worse off than before. Are the decision - makers then held accountable, as they would be in the corporate sector? Of course not. Those who have to fix responsibility for delays, losses etc are kin, after all, and extremely sympathetic. The loss is of the tax payer, and the national exchequer should be well able to withstand such losses, enriched as it is by the blood and sweat of the country's bureaucrats.

And so the vicious cycle continues!!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Put out to pasture

What would happen if fifty percent of our bureaucracy were retired overnight? Would work grind to a halt? Would it perhaps slow down? Would the quality of work be adversely affected? No, no and no! 

 There is a large number of bureaucrats who cherish the belief that having worked so hard to enter the charmed circle of bureaucracy, they are entitled to a lifetime of respect/awe/deference from the tax payer as well as a salary (which of course the humble tax payer makes possible!) without really delivering any tangible outcomes in office.If a few perquisites are thrown in as well, such as residential accommodation at a posh address, perhaps membership of the Gymkhana club(or its equivalent), all the better! They devote themselves to doing all those things that they hold meaningful and significant in life, such as playing golf, and glance in at the office for a couple of hours a day, sometimes a couple of hours a week.

Then there are those who treat the job like  the proverbial golden goose, and focus all their energies on securing those postings where they can lay their hands on the largest, shiniest golden eggs. You can't really expect them to put in 8 hours of work a day, can you, when they have better things to do?

A significant percentage of  bureaucrats are too dispirited, too de- motivated, too despondent to really work as well as they could because they constantly compare themselves with the highest paid in the corporate sector, their five star lifestyles, and rue the choice they made to work in the civil services.

If all these people were shown the door, would productivity suffer? Of course not, because the contribution they are making today is nil.

Then there is the fact that many, many of us are terribly under employed. Massive changes in government policy leading to procedural simplification and rationalisation, and the IT -led automation of many business processes have resulted in huge redundancies. However, no one ever admits that. The advice I have received most often from well wishers is that I should never, never say that I don't have enough work, even if I don't. So, there are times when we spend the best part of the day scanning the newspapers, catching up with acquaintances we hadn't thought of for years, and thanking NIC for the terrific speed at which we are able to surf the internet, because there just isn't any work to be done.

Of course, there are also areas where work has  increased manifold and if work studies were the norm in government, rather than the once in a blue moon exercise they now are, a lot of productive re- deployment could take place. What actually happens is that existing posts that have become redundant are neither abolished nor diverted even while new posts are created, so there is a large number of persons at any given time with absolutely no work to do.

So a large part of the bureaucracy is but a parasite in glorious disguise, feeding on the tax payers' money, and no one cares a hoot precisely because it is the tax payer's money, not his or hers.

This indifference is nowhere more evident than in our amazing tolerance of employees who absent themselves for long periods, who make late coming and frequent unuthorised absence a habit, who are simply incapable of delivering satisfactory work, who are prevented by chronic illness or long standing family problems from making any meaningful contribution at work, who carry on commercial businesses from office during office hours, or who simply don't wish to work. If this were a domestic help we were dealing with, he would be shown the door in double quick time. In government, however, we either laugh it off or become the picture of compassion or say a few angry words once in a while --- and then forget it!

Hence my firm belief --- reduce the government by half, and we could perhaps be better off than before, certainly no worse!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The legal eagles

Though the Indian bureaucrat would never admit that he doesn't always know the best, he does have to obtain legal advice sometimes and to engage advocates when the State is the litigant.

Who gives legal advice to the Government of India? Most matters are referred to the Legal Advisers in the Ministry of Law, which is a terribly under-staffed Ministry, housed in dark, cramped, depressing office space. At one point of time, the Ministry's Conveyancing Branch , which vets all, repeat, all the contracts and tenders to which the Government of India is a party, had only 2 officers. I doubt whether any manpower augmentation has since taken place. We do create new posts all the time, but these are in regulatory bodies or enforcement agencies where all the fun is. Who cares about musty old Ministry of Law?

The Ministry's Legal Advisers depend heavily and almost exclusively upon books. Think of the number of laws that have been enacted since Independence, and laws which were enacted before but remain on the statute book. Think of the thousands of amendments that have been carried out.Think of the lakhs of cases that have been decided and have become case law. The Legal Advisers are required to be acquainted with all this massive store house of information, and to keep abreast of developments. 

Do you visualise them seated before their computers, plugged into huge data banks that simplify their task of looking up the law (including amendments and case law) before they give advice? That's a laugh. What you will actually get to see if you step into their offices is the strange sight of the peon being buzzed to unlock the book case, remove the score or so of obstacles such as furniture that's been pushed back because of the paucity of space, and pull out a book or several books, as the case may be, hand it/them to the officer, then wait to put the book(s) back. Obviously, the Government has not chosen to invest in IT applications that would aid and assist the Legal Advisers. There are computers in every room but these are only used as word processors.

Training? Familiarisation with new laws? Exposure to international best practices? Participation in international conferences and workshops? The answer to all these quetions is an emphatic "No". Its as if they were children of a lesser God.

No wonder then that the Legal Advisers  are, by and large, a rather dissatisfied lot. Who can blame them?

When is legal advice sought? All substantive amendments of the law are required to be examined and approved by the Law Ministry. Whenever there is conflict between two or more laws, the matter is referred for legal advice. Sometimes, there are questions of interpretation of law that are referred to the Law Ministry. Of course, all contracts, Notices Inviting Tenders etc are required to be vetted by them.

Given the constraints that our legal advisers are working under, I think they are doing a great job, but we don't always get good advice. That's because we don't want it. What we really want is for the Legal Adviser to endorse the view we have already formed, or to place his stamp of approval on the draft contract or draft notification that's been sent to him.In fact, the endeavour always is to get the file examined by a Law Ministry officer who is either to busy to disagree or is amenable to persuasion and will sooner rather than later endorse the view expressed by the administrative Ministry. So the moment we get to know that the file has been marked to X, not Y, in the Ministry of Law we rush around trying frantically to get that undone.

The reasons are manifold. We don't like to concede that the Legal Adviser knows better than us, at least sometimes. Then, work is always rushed through at the last minute so the luxury of having the proposal scrutinised by the Law Ministry isn't really available. Sometimes, the political bosses have directed a particular course of action so the bureaucrat sees himself with no choice except to get it pushed through in the Law Ministry. Increasingly, the Government is setting up tribunals that provide attractive options for appointments to law officers, so we now see an element of quid pro quo also creeping in.So there we are --matters get referred to the Law Ministry, and are returned either with concurring notes, or rather routine, bland, meaningless observations, and only rarely, good, strong legal advice.

And so we plod along, with laws that could have been better drafted, contracts that needn't have had the loopholes that are later exploited, legal representation in the courts that needs to improve a thousand-fold before it becomes effective. Oh yes! the Government Counsels ---that's another story, deserving a post of its own.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Take arms against a sea of troubles

To quote Hamlet, "Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer  The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (read corrupt bureaucrats),Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them?"

That question has bothered me for a long time.

Is it enough that I don't myself engage in acts of corruption, that I do my duty faithfully and diligently, to the best of my ability, keeping always the interest of the people in mind?

Is it enough that I don't , in any manner whatsoever, promote the cause of colleagues I know or suspect to be corrupt?

Is it enough that I act with utmost caution on directions given by a senior colleague whose integrity is suspect?

Is it enough that in whatever way I can, I encourage and facilitate efficiency and integrity among those whose work I direct?

I suspect it isn't. That is the reason, perhaps, that when I look back on what I have achieved in the past ten years or so, there is a lingering sense of dissatisfaction.So much more could have been done.

Take arms against a sea of troubles? How? I am searching for answers.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Endless love ( the Lallis of today)

Prasar Bharati CEO Lalli's wings clipped, says the TOI headline today. The Supreme Court, the report says, has directed that a three-member Committee should  handle the day-to-day business of the public broadcaster till the Central Vigilance Commission completes its probe into alleged irregularities committed by the CEO.  

Who is B S Lalli? He is a retired IAS officer of the 1971 batch, UP cadre. When was he appointed CEO of Prasar Bharati? In 2006, by the UPA government. His tenure was extended in 2008, notwithstanding allegations of corruption against him.

Why? Well, that's a tough question to answer. The logical presumption would be that he had the relevant experience. What I can gather from media reports on the internet is that he was Secretary (Border Management) in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India before he retired. How that experience would be relevant to running an organisation like Prasar Bharati is something I am still trying to figure out. Perhaps his contribution as Secretary (Border Management) was so outstanding that it weighed heavily in his favour! Hmm --- we all know how secure our borders are.  

Perhaps the reason why B S Lalli was appointed CEO, Prasar Bharati has nothing whatsoever to with his ability and experience. Perhaps the reason is that there is a strong and active nexus between bureaucrats and their political bosses to put in charge of as many organisations as possible retired bureaucrats who are then so obliged for being given the opportunity to enjoy their lives of comfort for several more years that they fall over themselves to keep the bosses happy.

Having enjoyed job security, assured promotions, comfortable salaries, and immense authority for 35 to 40 years, the large majority of bureaucrats are loath to let go of these priviliges. So they ensure that every new organisation which is created by the Government has a slot or two, or more, for retired bureaucrats. Since the Recruitment Rules are not placed in the public domain before they are notified, the public does not even know that the very bureaucrats who have made promotion of their own interest (as opposed to national interest) their life-long mission are going to flourish for another 3 to 5 years after retirement. Even on the occasion that civic society protests, or approaches the judiciary for relief, it isn’t able to secure justice, such is the stranglehold of the bureaucracy over our institutions.

We have seen this happening in the case of the Right To Information Act. The Central Information Commission and the State Information Commissions, set up under the Act, have become happy hunting grounds for bureaucrats on the verge of retirement. So the very bureaucrats who have spent a lifetime withholding information from citizens now man the appellate bodies which decide whether or not a citizen denied information that he sought under the RTI Act is to be provided that information.

If I am a bureaucrat who’s going to retire in a year or so, and I see some very attractive post-retirement options that my political bosses can help me exercise, am I going to be foolish enough to displease them in any way whatsoever? Of course not. Am I going to spend all my time and energy in doing my job? Of course not. Am I going to devote myself to lobbying for a post-retirement appointment? Oh yes!

What if I am also the kind of officer who believes that his entry into the civil services was but the doorway to a Swiss bank? What a godsend I would be to a political boss who wants to place a yes-man in a lucrative post! What a god-send the appointment would be to me, since I would continue raking in the millions even after retirement!

What if I am a bureaucrat with courage and devotion and efficiency and integrity? I wouldn’t be considered for a post-retirement slot in the first place, and even if I am, I would have to sell my soul to get there so I wouldn’t do it!

So the very bureaucrats we would be well rid of are the ones who grab post-retirement appointments!

Is the country so bereft of persons with the right qualifications that it needs to lean so heavily on its so called steel framework for filling up all significant posts? Of course not! It’s just that the steel framework has become a self-perpetuating, multi headed creature, which suffers from delusions of grandiosity. Nowhere is this more evident than the phenomenon of post-retirement appointments of bureaucrats to powerful, lucrative posts.

One of my colleagues suggested the other day, in the midst of a passionate discussion on whether or not India is in a self-destruct mode, that the single most important administrative reform the country needs is a ban on post –retirement appointments of bureaucrats. I whole heartedly endorse that view.

Ironically, the Administrative Reforms Commissions that are constituted from time to time have a heavy sprinkling of the very bureaucrats whose functioning requires reform. Are they going to make recommendations that curtail the perpetuation of the bureaucrat’s power? Of course not. Whatever recommendations the ARC does make are required to be implemented by the bureaucracy, which treats them like a headache which will go away if ignored! The latest ARC has submitted 15 reports, and every GOI Ministry has an officer who has become adept at doing a copy/paste job while submitting Action Taken Reports that could be dated 2000 or 2005 or 2010 or 2015 without any significant, substantive change in content!

So there we are, stuck with the Lallis of the world !

Read more:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Name and shame

There exists in the Customs Act a provision which empowers the Government to name persons who have defaulted in the payment of dues to the Government. The logic is that if these persons are named, at least some, if not all, will be shamed into owning up the liability and will come forward to pay. This legal provision is being made use of by the Central Board of Excise and Customs, and the defaulters' names are made public in several ways, including publication on the CBEC website.

Whether this public shaming has resulted in payment of dues by the defaulters is an issue worth deliberating upon, perhaps in another blog, but it suffices here to say that our attitude to tax evasion being what it is, it is not likely that great results have been achieved by Indian Customs.

The more important issue is that while we do not hesitate to name tax defaulters --- and there ought not to be any hesitation ---- we are extremely wary of naming those amongst us in the bureaucracy who are no better. I would go so far as to call it a conspiracy of silence. 

Among friends who can be relied upon not to broadcast such views, we discuss who amongst are inefficient, lethargic, corrupt, careless, callous etc etc. We name such colleagues, we fulminate, we grow indignant at their acts of ommission and commission. 

Then we step back into our  'bureaucrat" skins and wouldn't be caught dead even nodding acquiescence when an adverse remark is made against the very same colleagues by a member of the public (that we are "servants" of) or even auditors. We rush to their defence or  pretend we have't heard. 

Those who do name names are frowned upon, labelled "eccentric" (so their views don't really matter!)or otherwise discouraged to be so open on a subject we agreed to maintain silence on when we enter the hallowed halls of bureaucracy.

So, its perfectly acceptable, for example, to name individuals and corporates who are smugglers and tax evaders, but it is not OK to name the civil servants who make this possible, either by active collusion or simply by their indifference and lethargy.

Is it that bureaucrats fear that the admission that there a few (actually, more than a few) black sheep in the family will tar them with the same brush, that it will compel them to discard the fondly-held belief that they know better, are wiser, in fact, superior to the public they serve? Its a belief deeply ingrained  in the civil services, a belief that is a legacy of our colonial past, a belief that is so pernicious that its destroying the civil services because if we do not admit there is a problem, we aren't going to address it. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

the buck does not stop here!

It happened when we are all getting worked up about the CWG scam. It is happening again while we get our daily updates on the 2G spectrum scam. Each one of us, including the media, is wielding the stick only on the politicians. How is it that we have we all forgotten the role of the ubiquitous bureaucrat?

Does anything get done in this country or not get done, without the bureaucrat? Big or small, right or wrong, whenever a decision is to be made and whatever the decision to be taken, there is a bureaucrat lurking behind the scenes. Some give no advice, some proffer good advice and get snubbed or perhaps punished for that, some have only that advice to offer which the political master wishes to hear and reward; whatever the case, there is always a bureaucrat involved at every stage of decision-making in the Government.

For the politician, there is at least a semblance of accountability; once in a while, all too rarely perhaps, he is made to pay for his sins. The bureaucrat is another kettle of fish altogether. Almost always, he is a faceless entity, and governments may come and governments may go but he goes on forever. A minuscule number may have the CBI bursting the bubble of anonymity, but for the very large majority, this is a nightmare which never comes true.

So scams take place, one after the another, all the time, and sometimes these get exposed and sometimes not, but almost never does the bureaucrat's name crop up. How many of us know the names of the bureaucrats who aided and advised Kalmadi et al, or A Raja, for that matter ? Why are they not exposed to public scrutiny? No matter how obdurate the political boss, no matter how determined he is to have his way, if even a significant minority of bureaucrats refused to give in, would matters not stand differently? They don't, for a mutiplicity of reasons. Sadly enough, they don't get named either. So behind the Iron Curtain of anonymity, they march on, mostly disregarding national interest but safeguarding the political boss's interest!