India’s most productive sector is the one which generates an endless supply of red tape

In defiance of science which has yet to devise a perpetual motion machine India’s bureaucracy, a legacy inherited from British rule, churns out endless reams of red tape non-stop.

Recently I was reminded, once again, about just how hard our babudom works to expand time so as to fit in all the work it creates for itself.

Twenty-five years ago when Bunny and I moved to the National Media Centre (NMC) in Gurgaon, the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN), which is in charge of power distribution in the area, registered my electricity meter in the name of ‘Jag Saraya’.

I tried, repeatedly, to get it changed to my official name, Jagdish Suraiya, but to no avail. As an electricity bill is often required to prove you are who you say you are, the wrongful spelling of my name caused frequent problems.

I eventually decided enough was enough and made an all-out effort to effect the name change. The estate manager of the NMC visited the DHBVN office to get the job done, but was told that changing Jag Saraya into Jagdish Suraiya was a metamorphosis which had to be implemented online.

So Bunny logged into the portal, shelled out Rs 250, each step having to be confirmed and re-confirmed by an endless string of one-time passwords (OTPs). At last the name change was accomplished. Or so I thought. I was wrong.

Because along came another message from DHBVN – ‘New application for completeness for application number G21-321-3021-3 is processed by concern officer. Status accept. Remarks is: (Blank space).’ Trust babudom to have the last word, even if that last word is a blank.

We have so much bureaucracy that we export the excess. Italy exports 48,000 tons of apples to India. India recently told Italy that all the apples had to have documentary proof that they were not GM. Italy replied that it doesn’t do GM for any fruit. But babudom insisted that Italy give documentation to this effect. So Italy has had to set up its own babudom to certify its apples.

Pity babudom wasn’t in the Garden of Eden. Because then it would’ve wanted a GM certificate from the serpent who offered the apple to Eve. With this not forthcoming, we might still be living in Paradise.



This article is intended to bring a smile to your face. Any connection to events and characters in real life is coincidental.


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