Headless Bodies

There appears to be either a dearth of talent available in Kashmir or the administration is actually clueless about the nature of public administration. This is perhaps best reflected in “headless bodies” and giving additional charges to people to run administration departments. Which of the two is correct, cannot be foretold(perhaps it is a combination of both). But, the prosaic fact is that , at the end of the day, the people of Kashmir suffer. As it stands, the interface between the public and the administration is poor , at best , and even callous , at worst. This appears to accrue from the nature and condition of those who man the administration. Secure in their belief that they are the “untouchables” of Kashmir, in the sense of what amounts to safe . secure and even tenured employment, most of these people take the public for granted. Warped incentives and the chain of accountability compounds the problem as many of those manning the administration feel or even believe that the locus of accountability is upwards( to the power political class) and not downward, to the public. The result is an apathetic nature of administration which redounds negatively to the people. The “headless bodies” and personnel burdened with additional charges aggravates the underlying problems(s). In the final analysis, it is actually the leaders of organizations that set the tone, in terms of efficiency, productivity and efficacy of these. If a leader is absent, or non-existent, the organization in contention becomes an inefficient and unproductive laggard, akin to dead wood. Finding an echo in the “headless bodies” of Kashmir, another layer of problems is thus created , which tends to be self- perpetuating. The broad tenor of public administration suffers and its brunt is borne by the public. How, the question is, can public administration be made to work for the public? There are two prongs to this answer: one is by streamlining administration and make it public oriented. The other is that conflictual conditions in Kashmir make some members of the administration feed of the conflict in Kashmir. This parasitism and the overall lethargy of public administration can perhaps be best addressed by taking measures to resolve the conflict and thereby remove incentives for the parasitic , rentier class, among other things. Public administration is then tied to the conflict in Kashmir. The solution to improve it warrants and merits a holistic program of action , and not mere fiddling or tinkering.