Calling the state of affairs in Bihar as "extremely devastating" and work culture "worst ever", Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said Monday he would meet senior bureaucrats one-on-one to identify the ills and ensure that officers perform up to the expectations of the government.
Vowing to change "the worst ever work culture due to Rashtriya Janata Dal's misgovernance for past 15 years", he told reporters that he would have a one-to-one meeting with senior bureaucrats, including secretaries of all departments and officers of the rank of inspector general and above to improve the situation.
"The state is in a greater mess than we had thought earlier when we were out of power. Now, we have to overcome the existing situation and work harder to come up to the expectations of the people," Nitish, referred to as 'Mr Hope' by a section of the press, said.
He said the "rotten" system cannot be corrected merely by transfers and postings of officials, which was a routine matter. "We have to achieve the objective of good governance through bureaucracy by fixing accountability," he said.
Asserting that political will is needed if positive results are to be achieved, Nitish said the officers would have to deliver and come up to the government's expectations.
He announced an Administrative Reform Commission would be set up to help tone up the administration.
Asked whether "bright postings" would be performance-based, Nitish said, "In government every posting is a prize posting."
"If we talk about a system we have to improve the functioning of all the departments. I don't think that there is any department which is insignificant," Nitish said.
Pointing out that a common minimum programme for "real and good governance" is in the offing, he said it would be based on the previous one released by Janata Dal-United at its Rajgir convention in April 2005.
Besides making Bihar crime-free, the previous CMP had promised a slew of measures for improving infrastructural facilities like roads, drinking water, medical services.
He said a 10-point programme for uplift of minorities was also being worked out as promised in the CMP, which would also comprise of salient features of separate manifestos on which the JD(U) and Bharatiya Janata Party fought the assembly elections.
Asked whether he would hold janata durbars as part of initiatives to make changes in the functioning of the government and know people's grievances, the chief minister said he would introduce "fully operational grievance cells" in this direction.
To another question, Nitish said he had first hand experience of the "complete collapse" of the administrative machinery.
"Even the CM's Secretariat is in a mess, institutional arrangements are non-existent. I have been told by bureaucrats that the files are gathering dust in the CM Secretariat for the past several years," he said.
"All these things cannot be corrected overnight," he said replying to a question whether a timeframe would be set by him to deliver the promises.
Assuring complete transparency in recruitment, Nitish said he has asked the chief secretary and other heads of departments to identify vacancies of doctors, engineers, teachers, policemen and others.
"A strong and constructive opposition will also help us correct the mistakes, if any, at any level," he said commenting on the stage being set for recognition of former Chief Minister Rabri Devi as leader of opposition in the state assembly.
On Governor Buta Singh's recommendation for dissolution of 13th assembly, he said, "Let bygones be bygones. The apex court has already held the dissolution as unconstitutional and so have the people, which is evident from the mandate we have got."