Saturday, August 29, 2015

Do You Expect Prime Minister Narendra Modi Resolve the Address Proof Crisis of Indian Citizens?

Have you ever experienced the address proof crisis of modern India? If you have not understood what I meant, either you are the real permanent resident of India or you are one of the invisible kinds for whom such proofs do not have any relevance!

Let me make things clear, if you have not understood what I meant. This blog is of some importance in your life if you have to shift your residences in India on a few occasions on account of any one of the following reasons:

1. You have to change your residence because your employer keep transferring you from place to place and you do not belong to the special privileged category of the ruling class of India such as the Ministers, MP, MLA, Judge, IAS, IPS, IRS, IFS, Political Leader, Prominent Media Personality, Celebrity of India or any one enjoying the government security cover and the like.

2. You are a businessman who needs to change your place of residence for various reasons but neither one holding much influence on the ruling class nor having your own agents to resolve petty headaches that require interactions with any one of the ruling classes.

3. You are a self employed person who needs to change residence occasionally.

4. You are a student staying in hostels and keep changing your residence in connection with your studies

5. You are an young professional who keep changing your job seeking better options.

6. You  have been a non-resident Indian but have come back to India to live here.

7. You do not have your own home and live with some well wisher for some time 

8. You have to live in rented home or room and have to keep shifting for various reasons.

9. You are a Public Sector company executive who needs to change the place of residence for various reasons.

10. You are unemployed and is in the look out for a job and keep changing your place of residence in your job hunting pursuit.

11. You live in the rural area in a temporary hut or in an urban slum.

12. You are land less and homeless.

13. You had a job, but now jobless and no need to stay in the place where you lived in connection with your job.

14. You have retired from active service and now wants to settle down in a new place in a new residence, either rented or purchased or leased or to share the accommodation with some one related to you.

Now for availing the basic minimum services in this country, you need an address proof. But from where you get the address proof? Who is the authority who attests your place of residence? The stupid government authorities who keep drafting the rules and procedures do not foresee this.

The government of India do not have a law which stipulates the procedure to make an address proof by a citizen. Only recently they have come up with the idea of making an identity proof based on bio-metrics called the Aadhaar. But this in itself has no statutory relevance. Our law makers do not see any benefit for them to spent time to draft and pass such laws. Instead, they leave it to the officers to make rules and procedures the way they understand the things only to be challenged by the courts of law.

Now how to get the damn address proof in India? (Click this link to read the anguish expressed by an Indian citizen and the responses in the social media)

The manner in which the stupid Indian civil servants have worked out the rules clearly shows the lack of intelligence in the Indian bureaucracy. The so called Indian civil servants who join the service by passing the most difficult selection tests for the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) cadre seem not so intelligent as we the common folks used to think. Otherwise how could these stupid rules in India? Else, these IAS bosses never bother to read the rules that keep getting issued in India that determine the day to day Indian governance system. Perhaps, these are the brain work of lesser order officers of the government and there is no one who bothers about the bad impact these have on the overall well being of the country as a whole!

When the new Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi ji, keeps talking about good governance, we wonder why such small things are ignored. It is the prime duty of the government to make rules that are practical and workable. It is the right of the citizens to get an address proof document without any hassles. If the government cannot think of a good system, they should simply get rid of the rules that insist such documents for availing simple services such as making a bank account, purchasing a vehicle, getting a mobile or telephone connection, getting a gas connection, etc.

The government should review whether its rules in this context reflect governmental stupidity or not. Why do the government needs to have these so called bureaucrats when they fail to evolve proper rules that helps to achieve good governance?

When privatization is an acceptable principle of the government, why do the governmental systems still try to cling to the pre-independence bureaucratic practices even today? For example, why don't the governmental rule makers do not allow a recent private bank statement from even the most reputed banks such as the ICICI, IDBI, Axis etc as a valid document for address proof? Mere stupidity or irresponsibility? Remember, they had been clinging to the age old practice of attestation of documents by gazetted officers so long. Only very recently, the Modi government could issue a circular that allows the citizens to self attest their own documents!

If good governance to really happen in this country with deep rooted systemic rot, the top boss needs to be an assertive task master. Not only he does that, he should have some real systems to know the real pulse of the people. Often, people fail to respond with their real problems when responses from them are solicited in a formal manner!

Coming to the address crisis of India: Whom do the governmental bureaucrats think as the best person to certify where he or she lives? Is it the person concerned or some babu sitting somewhere? For that matter, how many babus personally know the people other than their households and their offices? 

Some years before, the best address proof document accepted everywhere as the most fundamental has been a self addressed post card posted and delivered by the most people friendly national level government office- the Post Office. Why is it not so now? Why do some of the babus try to belittle one of their own departments? The government which cares for good governance should feel ashamed of this! What is the harm in accepting such a post card as the primary address proof for opening a bank account? When banks can handle and recognize a person for the most important function involving money transactions, why banks should not be entrusted with the task of certifying a person with regard to his or her identity and address?

The first and foremost requirement for good governance is the coordination and inter departmental trust the various governmental functionaries have to develop. If they function with malice towards each other, no one can ensure good governance. Government officers and staff can and will perform well towards good governance when they honestly feel that their political bosses are reasonably good people who could be trusted! But when this trust is broken, they could also work in such a way that peoples' anger is directed towards the political bosses!

When the government employees work in that fashion without any logic or justification, it would be better to remove such a person from government service. He or she is just not fit for the good of the nation! In the long run, it is not the politicians that ultimately brings good governance! It is the millions strong government staff that is government for the people. If the peoples' representatives cannot make the government machinery to work for the people, no good governance can come in to effect!

So, what is your opinion? Will our PM succeed in achieving good governance?