Why Are Public Servants Treated Like Royalty In India ?
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Why Are Public Servants Treated Like Royalty In India ?

YKA   12 Apr 2019

Why Are Public Servants Treated Like Royalty In India ?

Whenever we hear about positions like MP, MLA, IAS or IPS, some of the first words that come into our minds are –  VIP(Very Important Person), prestige, richness, etc.  When in reality, these positions represent the role of public servants who are mandated to work for the public and fulfill their demands. They are accountable to the people which is the essence of democracy. But, what actually happens is that people appointed to such positions end up turning into VIPs. They live a luxurious life, the kind that any common person can’t even think of.

Traffic is expected to stop when their cars with blue or red beacons drive by down the road. They get special privileges at every public place and people salute them by joining hands or bowing in front of them. They attend high profile parties instead of public meetings. Nobody can approach them and they are like celebrities for the people. They are hardly approachable to the ‘common folks’.

What kind of servants are they? Why are public servants treated as VIPs? What is the logic behind this?

Civil servants like IAS or IPS officers are allotted big residential bungalows with multiple servants and lots of security at the expense of public money. I want to know, why? Why can’t they be given accommodation in a normal locality to make them approachable for the public? Why is there a need for beacons on their cars?

These questions also apply to elected representatives like MPs and MLAs. Unlike civil servants, people directly elect them for society’s welfare but there is no direct contact between the people and their representatives. Candidates visit door to door asking for votes and then disappear for 5 years once the election is won. Amid such conditions, how can we expect these MPs/MLAs to work for us when they don’t even know about our problems?

It is common sense, whenever we want to help someone, we meet him/her and inquire about issues to solve them. But, our representatives don’t have time to visit their constituencies even once in 5 years. How can we call this democracy?

It is understandable that the so-called “public servants” have immense power which gives them authority over the public. But, people are scared of them because they can misuse those powers to ruin anyone’s life. The government has not provided an avenue for the public to make these public servants accountable to the people. I believe the concentration of power in the hands of a few public servants makes them VIPs.

I think a public servant should live like a commoner as far as possible. We are often surprised that instead of selecting talented people, our bureaucracy is made up of corrupt officers. In my opinion, this happens because people are attracted to such positions mainly due to the perks and prestige attached to them. Once these unnecessary privileges are removed from these positions, India will get the civil servants who are actually dedicated to the nation.

Some would say that these perks act as an incentive to attract talent. But, why would a candidate who has the intention to serve people need such incentives? The opportunity to serve people at such a large scale is an incentive in itself.

The term “Public servant” should be realised in a real manner in India to root out corruption and improve the quality of democracy. There should be proper checks and limits on the assets of these rich governments servants. The government should impose restrictions on the wealth possessed by them and keep them at the same level as the public in every aspect. My ideas may seem radical or utopian, but this can be done easily. I think it will be more logical when public servants sit with the public and interact in a friendly manner in order to understand their problems and solve them, rather than passing orders from an air-conditioned bungalow or an office.

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