Monday, November 29, 2010
Performance Does Matter!
Nitish Kumar had to start from scratch, and he had a good partner in Sushil Kumar Modi, fortunately. Their administration successfully kept away the bickering of party men and concentrated on good governance. The one good thing they have done to dispose of pending cases is pretty much corporate-like. They had a weekly review with all District Magistrates and encouraged fast-track justice. Police, which was virtually non-existent in Laloo (un)rule, was resurrected and now it is policing the state with the due spirit of the uniformed services.
Education, which was ignored in toto during Laloo's regime, was also given a lease of life. The root cause for not sending children to school was found to be kidnappers and pathetic condition of schools. Kidnappers were dealt with sternly and infrastructure of education institutions was improved duly. They incentivized attendance by given the school going children free bi-cycle, food and money to buy uniform and books.
There was a cry earlier in 2009 that the money given for uniform and books were misused. Books had to be purchased, since parents of children without books were duly questioned by Government officials. An allegation that parents bought substandard dress materials for uniforms and take the rest of the money for their expenses. This too was proved wrong by statistics. (Yeap, they tracked that also!)
Good roads,, non-existent for a couple of decades, were laid and transportation became physically affordable. The unnecessary freebies were scrapped. The Laloo type get-togethers were stopped. (Earlier Laloo used to take bags of wheat, sufficient hen and goats to villages, cook them there and eat with those people during weekends. The villagers were suitably educated that they would get such a good food so long as Laloo remains in power. Laloo's paradise was such.)
But the JD(U)-BJP combine chose the growth path, of course with initial troubles of change management, but they were firm on their goal to get the state on par with others. There is another angle to this vigorously followed growth path. Nitish Kumar didn't have a caste base, nor Sushil Modi had a core Hindu base. This lack of vote bank made them understand the fact that they had to work and prove take the people's confidence to survive in politics. (Nitish had to depend on Sharad Yadav for core caste votes. Modi married a Christian lady hence could not take core Hindu support for granted.)
So, the underlying message of the mandate given to Nitish-Sushil duo in 2005 was to perform or perish. They performed and deformer Laloo perished. This stands proof for a behavioral theory discussed at length in management schools. People would innovate better and work harder when survival matters. This case also could be added to the case study bank on Managerial Behavior in management schools.
Another lesson we could gain from this victory is the handling of the bureaucracy. The man with a master brain behind the excellent execution of this growth idea is N.K. Singh a former Secretary to the Government of India. Singh was instrumental in getting things done with the bureaucracy and materializing the development dream of Bihar. Lesson learnt: Give the ideas and target. Leave the modus operandi to bureaucrats. Constantly check the progress. Wonders will happen! Why not due development?