Known to be a city of babus, Delhi’s babudom has forever been perceived as a non-productive workforce where nothing ever moves.
But Internet revolution in India has changed the way the Capital’s bureaucratic circles function. Officers are now tech-savvy people who use the Internet to advantage and most departments respond to e-mail. “There is no other place in the world that has such an elaborate retreat ceremony,” a young Border Security Force officer at the India-Pakistan border at Attari remarked at a tête-à-tête with journalists recently.
“We did an Internet search to see if there was something similar anywhere … there was none,” he added. Back at his Delhi office, his superiors did much the same thing when they received a United Nations request to seek nearly 125 camels from the Force for deployment in Sudan.
An Internet search revealed, that the BSF was the only border-guarding force to have a full-fledged contingent of camels. Central Vigilance Commissioner Pratyush Sinha, who has been pushing government departments to leverage technology, is looking at creating a software that would identify files that have been held up at a particular office way beyond normal duration.
The paperless office might still be a myth but there is no doubt that information technology and the Internet are changing the way government offices in Delhi function. Not only for work, but sometimes just to keep updated on gossip. “When veteran journalist Suresh Mehrotra first started his website www.whispersinthecorridor.com , the first thing I did each morning was to come in and check his latest post. You never know when it might be about someone in your office, one of your friends or even about yourself,” says a senior government official.
On the other hand, several initiatives like the government’s online file tracking system have not only been implemented but have really helped government functioning to a great a extent. “It is very useful,” said CV Padmanaban, a government official in the ministry of road transport, highways and shipping.