Creating policy boldness

India will not be able to give jobs to 10 lakh kids every month for the next 20 years without boldly preserving what is good, discarding what is not working, and creating what does not exist. Economist Albert Hirschman made the case that the failure to anticipate every unintended consequence of public policy was actually a good thing; if we could foresee all the possible negative consequences of our actions, we would become paralysed — not just as governments seeking social change, but as individuals wanting to try new things in work, love or life. In an unforgettable scene in the movie Valkyrie, Tom Cruise as the German Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg is plotting the assassination of Hitler and interviews an assistant with the question "I am committed to committing treason with all means available to me; can I count you in?". Stauffenberg did what he did because his job conflicted with his conscience and his inner voice rebelled against the horrible status quo. We need the equivalent of Stauffenberg in our civil services. Chances are higher that this equivalent will be young.

The writer is chairman, Teamlease Services,

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