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Making the Government Efficient

A person was sitting near the window and enjoying the greenery outside. He noticed that certain people were gathered on the road below and cutting a tree. A very highly influential minister was staying in the same building and thought that the minister will take care of the issue.

However, he could not resist himself from calling up a local NGO connected with environment issues and informing them about the tree being down. Within a matter of few minutes the officers of the municipal corporation came to the spot and action was taken.

After a couple of days he got a call. “Hello, I am your local MP and would like to thank you for the addressing the tree cutting issue. Let me know if you have any matters of concern and we will address it”

The man was in a pleasant shock. One phone call from my side can make such a big difference? This is a true incident and a made up one for this article.

What most of us would have done in case of the same situation if we were looking out of our window and saw the tree being cut down? “Its not my issue” “The senior minister staying in our building will take care – after all he knows the rules better” “Oh, probably they must have got permissions to do it. Why bother?” Most of us would never even make an effort to lift the phone forget talking to some one about it.

These are situations that occur to most of us daily in one form or the other. An accident on the road or a lost child on the streets - just one call from our side will make a huge difference in making the government efficient.

So talking about efficiency most of us have taken it for granted that government is inefficient. It may be true to a great extent but do not generalize it to all the people in government. Inefficiency cannot be tackled by inefficiency. We have to be efficient in our own little way – rest will follow.

Chanakya the master strategist on governance once said,

“In any system there are efficient and inefficient people what matters is that the number of efficient people should be more than the inefficient”

It has been the experience of most Indians that people are generally efficient and good. Only certain circumstances make them work as they are. It’s the system that should change and the change should start with oneself with ‘me’

What can we do as individuals do to make the government efficient?


As in the above case as individuals make sure you take the first step. Make a phone call. Go and lodge a complaint with the concerned department. Form a group and tackle it with a positive mind set. Instead of thinking “This does not work” say to yourself, “Let us try at least”


True many times the first step is not the last step. We need to do a follow up from our end. Make sure you document the process. Keep everything in writing. Even if you are given a written complaint make sure you have an acknowledgement. These will help you to make your case strong. When you meet the decision makers documentation finally helps to get success.


If you have succeeded in tackling any such issue – do not keep quite. Make sure you are sharing the success story with others. They will also get inspired and be happy with the fact that “It works!”…..

Making the government efficient is also a process. But the process has to start in some way. And let each of us play a small part in the process – the new approach.

(The author, Radhakrishnan Pillai is a ‘strategic leadership’ trainer and consultant and also the Director of SPM FOUNDATION, the vision of which is to bring back ancient Indian knowledge in modern day applications. Can be contacted at



LISTEN TO RADHAKRISHNAN ‘CHANAKYA’ PILLAI ON RADIO Every week on the show ‘Ask Chanakya’ (Sunday 11-12 noon & Friday 8-9 pm Indian Time) on Moksha channel no 602 of Worldspace satellite radio. For details click below

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