Our bureaucrats evidently don’t care much for efficiency. Two ministries are creating separate laws to regulate one industry—of medical devices. As Mint pointed out in December, the text of the two Bills had considerable overlap, but both sets of officials had said they knew nothing about the other’s work. Three months later, we find the health ministry asking the ministry of science and technology to avoid duplication of effort, and the latter is yet to take a call (see Page 10).
Why does it take so long to realize officials are wasting effort and taxpayer money? While ministers announce all kinds of initiatives in public, they are not aware of each other’s work. This is starkly evident if we look at the May 2007 PIB press release where the minister of science and technology lists the same Bill as an achievement of his ministry! It seems bureaucrats need to track what’s happening in peer ministries, unless it’s all a matter of turf wars. Meanwhile, the rapid growth of the industry shows a dire need for regulatory norms to ensure consumer safety.