One of the favorite sports of India`s middle classes is bureaucracy bashing. It is an easy game to play and can be quite a lot of fun. Everyone has their favorite, outrageous story about an encounter with the bureaucracy. The inefficiency, corruption, insensitivity, stupidity and Kafkaesque circularity of bureaucratic procedures and rules are legendary. That India`s bureaucracy is one the most stifling and difficult to deal with has now been revealed in a survey. Over a thousand expatriate business executive rated India`s bureaucracy the most annoying in Asia.
The problem with India is no, as we in the middle class imagine, that we have too many idle and corrupt bureaucrats. The problem is that we have too many rules and regulations and too few officials to implement and monitor the regimes, and bring to book those who flout the rules and regulations. As India`s population grows, the disequilibrium is only going to grow: more rules and regulations to be applied to more and more people by a bureaucracy that is not high enough.
A conclusion: either we expand the bureaucracy or else the government will gradually wither away to the point that India will join the ranks of failed states. That would be a calamity for the Indian people.