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Are Indian babus the worst in Asia?

Last week, a consulting firm rated India’s bureaucracy the worst in Asia. Is our bureaucracy really in the shambles it is widely perceived to be? Two former bureaucrats address the question — and come up with different answers.

india Updated: Jan 22, 2012 01:19 IST
Hindustan Times

Last week, a consulting firm rated Indian bureaucracy the worst in Asia. With a 9.21 rating out of 10, India fared worse than Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines and China, according to a report by the Political & Economic Risk Consultancy Ltd.

The report said India’s inefficient bureaucracy was largely responsible for most of the biggest complaints that business executives have about the

country. These included inadequate infrastructure and corruption, where officials were willing to accept under-the-table payments and companies were tempted to pay to overcome bureaucratic inertia and gain favours, the report claimed.

The report also highlighted onerous and fickle tax, environmental and other regulations that could make business in India “so frustrating and expensive”.

The bureaucrats were rarely held accountable for wrong decisions and it would be extremely tough to challenge them when there were disagreements, it said.

“This gives them (bureaucrats) terrific powers and could be one of the main reasons why average Indians as well as existing and would-be foreign investors perceive India’s bureaucrats as negatively as they do,” it added.

First Published: Jan 22, 2012 01:05 IST