ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Grappling with Foxes and Hedgehogs of India’s Senior Civil Services

One of the neglected areas of reforms of India’s organised senior civil services relates to the rationalisation of its branching structure and the related debate of generalist vs specialist services. The present structure is a confusing hotchpotch of specialist and generalist branches, at different layers of government, and has largely resulted in inter-branch rivalries,dissatisfaction, and a dysfunctional organisational structure, affecting the efficiency of the senior management and governance. In light of this, a rationalised redesign, effected through a mix of mergers, abolitions, and reinvention and with specialised–generalist branches responsible for broad domains of functions, appears to be the most suitable strategy for reform.

Decoding Disruption

Today, large firms that employ between 1,00,000 and 3,00,000 software workers are in the process of being restructured. Changes in technology, geopolitics and cut-throat competition have unleashed a cost-cutting drive. With respect to lay-offs, companies are resorting to informal practices and coercion due to legal constraints and fear of public backlash.

Public Sector Textile Mills

A review of the productivity performance of the National Textile Corporation in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry presents a disturbing picture of poor capacity utilisation, outdated technology and machinery, poor maintenance and excess humanpower. The situation calls for drastic restructuring to improve the economic viability of the Corporation

Pits and Profits

Lalbandh has been described as a desolate wasteland some 25 km from Asansol in West Bengal’s rich coal belt. It made newspaper columns in the eastern region last week when 30-odd miners were trapped in a coal mine that had long been declared closed. The mine used to be once operated by Eastern Coalfields, a subsidiary of Coal India, which subsequently closed the mine ostensibly because it had been mined out. But evidently that was not the case – the mine was being privately operated, illegally and clearly without regard to the health and safety of the miners. And the fact of its operation was widely known in the area, to the police, to the mine safety authorities, to the local district administration, etc. And yet when the mine subsided or collapsed last week, it was only after the relatives of the trapped miners raised a hue and cry that the local police and the mines safety authorities bestirred themselves to attempt rescue operations. It is now 10 days since the disaster occurred and there is little hope that any of the trapped workers will be rescued. Even extricating their bodies will be difficult because there is little information on the underground plan of the mine or where the miners were working. With no mandatory safety regulations in place – since this was an illegal operation – the miners who went underground knew full well the high risk of the operation. But in an area where employment opportunities are scarce, mining is the only livelihood, however risky and illegal the mines.

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