Government Bureaucracies are Dens of Incompetent Retards

Here’s a concrete example of something trivial that, in the light of general principles, explains why governments of some countries are quite terrible in governing. This is a follow-up of  the previous post, First Principle Explain a Lot.

Around 1.2% — 3.8 million — of the US population are of Indian ancestry. I am one of them. I estimate that around 1 million of us are US citizens and therefore need a visa to visit India. I also estimate that at least half of us (around 500,000) so-called “Non Resident Indians” visit India every year. The point to keep in mind is that the number is in the hundreds of thousands.

The Government of India recognizes some of the Indian diaspora as “Overseas citizens of India.” It’s idiotic to do so because the Indian government does not allow dual citizenship, and therefore it contradicts itself. But I will pass on that matter for now. Idiotic, illogical, and contradictory rules and regulations are par for the course when it comes to the Indian government.

The Indian government issues a type of “permanent residency” visa called the “Overseas Citizenship of India” through an OCI card. Around 6 million OCI cards are held by the Indian diaspora. That number is larger than the populations of dozens of countries. Thus policies related to OCI are not trivial. The cost of bad policies is immense.

The bureaucrats keep changing rules arbitrarily and don’t ever consider informing people of changes that negatively impact their plans. I have put some details of the OCI idiocy in the Notes below.

Here’s the summary. To get a visa, you start at the Ministry of External Affairs website. (I don’t recommend clicking on these links for sanity’s sake.) There you get bombed with a few pop-ups, starting with a Modi pop-up. You then have to click through many links and pages to arrive at the Authorized Portal for Visa Application.

I attempted to apply for a visa. You have to run the gauntlet of stupid captchas and then the real fun begins. It took me about 20 minutes to fill up around 10 forms, and I ended up with this final screen:

The image above is hard to read but if you click on it, you will have a legible image. You would learn two important facts:

  1. Why the Pakistani terrorist that attacked Mumbai had to arrive by boat. They wouldn’t have been granted a visa.
  2. Why the MEA bureaucrats are idiots with their heads stuck up where the sun doesn’t shine.

After I declared that I wasn’t a terrorist, hadn’t ever engaged in drug trafficking, child abuse, committed crimes against women (apparently crimes against men don’t count), economic offence or financial fraud, I was able to “save and continue.” That got to to this page:

So now I was ready to “Book Appointment.” Really? Why? I thought this was an online application. But never mind. I clicked on that button. I landed on a Cox & King Global Services page:

Right up there, it says, “CKGS contract with the Government of India has ended October 31st, 2020.” You realize that:

  1. The MEA bureaucrats are criminally incompetent retards. They couldn’t be bothered to update a website that is probably used by hundreds of thousands of people.
  2. The MEA bureaucrats will never pay for the costs they impose on people. They will continue to get fat at the expense of ordinary Indians and ignorant foreigners who are stupid enough to want to visit India.
  3. The MEA bureaucrats probably do more damage to India than the Pakistani terrorists did when they killed a few hundred people in Mumbai.

No private corporation would dare put any of its customers through this kind of rigmarole. Why? Here’s the general principle: market competition. Competition force corporations to do the reasonable thing. A corporation that is unconcerned with the user experience online would go out of business in a hurry. People would not put up with idiocy because they have options.

Government institutions — like the visa granting agencies — don’t have to worry about competition. They have the power to make arbitrary rules and impose them at whim. The bureaucrats have enormous power and are totally unaccountable. Consequently, they impose whatever cost they wish and don’t have to fear that they will not be paid by the people who are forced to get whatever they mandate.

In the next bit, I will go into the principles that explain why government bureaucracies lack competence in general, and in particular why Indian bureaucracy is arguably the worst in the world. Keep in touch.

NOTES:

1. I got myself an OCI card in 2007. Since then I have entered India 23 times using it as a visa, the last time being in July of 2019. To clear immigration upon landing in India, I show the OCI “passport” and a corresponding “visa sticker” that is stuck to the US passport book that I had back in 2007 (which I have to carry with me, although it has long since been canceled and replaced.)

The Govt of India changed OCI rules in 2005. Note that I got my OCI card in 2007, and was reliably informed that it was a “permanent visa” that will last a lifetime. But it does not. The 2005 rules say that you have to renew the OCI visa. At this site — Ministry of External Affairs, Govt of India — you will find that though the rule was made in 2005, “the Government of India has decided to grant temporary relaxation till 30th June 2020.”

Not even once (out of the 23 times I entered India with the OCI card) was I given even a piece of paper saying that I should get a new OCI visa before June 2020, or else I will not be able to enter India after that date. It’s not the government’s job to inform me of the rules it arbitrarily makes and implements at whim.

Just yesterday, a friend told me that I had to get myself a new OCI visa or else I will not be able to enter India after June 30, 2021 (which is another extension.)

Here’s what would have happened. On July 4th, 2021, at the check-in counter for boarding a flight to India, the airline check my Indian visa and tell me that it is no longer valid and they’d refuse to allow me on the flight because airlines are held responsible if they bring in passengers without proper visas. I would have lost time, money and peace of mind.

It should be an easy task to get a new OCI card but is actually nightmarish. The site is, to put it mildly, insanely designed. You have to click through many pages of nearly incomprehensible instructions. A web page from a third party (Cox & Kings Global Services) helpfully lists the various steps.

I don’t recommend wasting time there. Here I will briefly mention the insanity (a word overused in this context but necessary) of it all. First, you have to fill in a few online forms with a lot of caveats and conditions. If you misunderstand any of the complex rules and make any error, you will be told after 4 to 6 weeks after you submit the application with the required fees (more about that below) that your application is rejected and you will have to start all over again.

We are used to submitting online forms online. But there’s a twist here: after you fill in the online application, you have to print out the forms and mail them to a particular consulate/embassy depending on where in the US you reside. Just think about that for a bit. Submit application online and then mail them a hard copy.

15 thoughts on “Government Bureaucracies are Dens of Incompetent Retards

  1. WJG Tuesday March 16, 2021 / 4:24 pm

    I am sure you could write a book on this topic…It is depressing and mind numbing stuff.
    And unfortunately there is no escape – ever.
    You can check out of the country, but never be truly free from the tentacles of Indian government….

    There is probably medical term to describe this syndrome…..Red Tapeworm?

    Like

  2. Prabhudesai Tuesday March 16, 2021 / 5:49 pm

    Seven Hells!

    Third rate f***rs.

    Whoever came up with the term OCI needs to be stripped naked in laal chauk and whipped.

    Overseas Citizen of India.

    Does that mean you are citizen of India ? No. India does not allow dual citizenship.
    Are you overseas ? No. You can live rest of your life in India while being an OCI.

    What does OCI actually mean ? It means you were a Former Citizen of India.

    What is the point of asking one to renew their “Former Citizen of India” status ? That event happened in past, it is not that it would change. It is a bit like India’s pension office that requires you to prove that you were alive in 2020 even after you have provide evidence that you are alive in 2021.

    Side note:

    Those questions like “Are you terrorist?” are a common feature of all visa forms all around the world including USA/Canada/EU etc. The logic of these questions is not to prevent people like Kasab from entering your country but to have a very fluid definition of what terrorism is and then catching you for perjury.

    For example I will not be surprised of Indian government has a law somewhere which says if you publish and spread material against Indian government and its officials you are a terrorist. Atanu, by very virtue of this post, then might be classified as terrorist. These open ended questions are very powerful tools to hurt people the government does not like.

    Like

  3. anupknair Tuesday March 16, 2021 / 11:28 pm

    Unbelievable!! Btw, in the first image about Additional Questions, the declaration reads as “I JOE, hereby declare”. Seems like a poor case of copy & paste on the govt’s part.

    Like

    • Atanu Dey Wednesday March 17, 2021 / 6:37 am

      Anup,

      I didn’t wish to actually apply for a visa; I only wanted to see how many pages I had to wade through and how many idiotic questions had to be answered. So I started with my name as Joe BLow, and my address as 123 Main Street, Timbuktoo, Afghanistan, Phone number 1234567780 and Mobile number 32509305, etc. Pages and pages of information has to be filled in. So that final question had the declaration “I, JOE, …” It took me more than 20 minutes to just fill in all the information.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Nagarajuna Wednesday March 17, 2021 / 12:00 am

    I am sorry you have to go through this nonsense.

    Did you get a new US passport after you turned 50? That’s the reason they require a renewal of your OCI card. On first passport renewal after you turn 50. The waiver until June 2021 is for this above 50 first passport renewal scenario.

    Not that this 50 threshold makes any sense!

    Insanity is the right word. They are retards, led by a chief retard who puts his ugly mug on every government website.

    Oh do you know that if you stay more than 3 months in a year in India, you have to pay Indian taxes on global income. This was mentioned in the budget speech by Sitharaman a year ago. The diaspora in UAE protested (the executive cadre there, like anyone in UAE, don’t pay income tax). And many stay in India more than 3 months. They howled when this rule came out and Sitharaman blabbered something informally saying they had nothing to worry about. Accountants still say the new law is clear and stipulates that global income is taxed if an NRI stays in India for more than 3 months.

    Like

  5. keshavbedi Wednesday March 17, 2021 / 12:12 am

    Things were worse at Jamia Millia Islamia, my alma matter. We had to fill migration form online, download it, and then submit the copy physically to department which dealt with all this.

    And the online system was bizzare in its own right. I had filled my entrance exam form. Logged out. Logged in back couple of times to check admit card. When admit card was uploaded, I couldn’t log in. It said password incorrect. I clicked on “forgot password” and it asked me for my mail id or number for password recovery. I gave. Notification never came on any of the two. I had to physically go there and wait for two hours for my turn. I told the concerned person the issue. He checked my password and told it to me. I said I have been filling the same and it says wrong password. He himself tried it and it still said wrong password. I told him about dysfunctional password recovery system. He told “Arey wo nahi kaam karta.” Then someone sitting on his side said the password has special characters which are not allowed, hence its showing wrong password.
    So the system first accepted the password, and suddenly, its mood changed after a month or two.

    He then changed my password to my name.

    The examination officers at “Controller of examinations” used to come at 11 a.m. Go for lunch at 2 p.m. Come back by 4 p.m. and they would leave by 5 p.m. Best job in the world.

    Like

    • Prabhudesai Wednesday March 17, 2021 / 5:56 pm

      You are talking about a university. I can understand some student built the online system and forgot to escape characters in password. (unacceptable, but still forgivable)

      The STATE BANK OF INDIA which has more accounts than population of all countries except china, had the exact same issue. If you enter a password with certain characters, it would simply strip them off while setting the password.

      Later they changed this to show an error “Hacking characters not allowed”.

      Now, who knew charaters lik , ” ; are “hacking characters” ? How can an average joe know what a hacking character is ? In last month or so they have changed this error message.

      Not to mention while onlinesbic.com is their website sbionline.com is a phishing site which they are unable to take down so far.

      Like

      • keshavbedi Wednesday March 17, 2021 / 9:34 pm

        Do you want me to go into more episodes of blunders?

        Like

  6. Ajit R. Jadhav Wednesday March 17, 2021 / 5:00 am

    “Keep in touch.”

    Sure, Atanu!

    Like

  7. Engr. Ravi Friday March 19, 2021 / 6:30 am

    Its unfortunate that you had to go through all that unnecessary bureaucratic process, but things are not as straightforward as: “Government Bureaucracies are Dens of Incompetent Retards”.

    See the case of TurboTax for example. A private company lobbies the government to keep tax form filling as complicated as possible:

    https://www.propublica.org/article/filing-taxes-could-be-free-simple-hr-block-intuit-lobbying-against-it#

    For more on TurboTax’s persistent lobbying to keep tax filing complicated see the first comment in the link below:
    https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26330584

    Like

    • Atanu Dey Saturday March 20, 2021 / 3:55 pm

      You seem to be arguing my case that government bureaucracies are dens of incompetent retards. Your TurboTax example illustrates that point because the IRS is a government bureaucracy and they are a bunch of evil retards.

      But there’s a difference in the case of the Ministry of External Affairs of India. The MEA through its incompetence imposes immense costs on India. Hundreds of thousands of people are deterred from visiting India. TurboTax doesn’t have any perceptible impact on the tens of millions of international visitors to the US. In any case, the US has to exercise stricter visa control because too many people want to migrate to the US — a problem that India does not have.

      Like

    • prabhudesai Monday March 22, 2021 / 8:03 pm

      I guess your argument is that not only government babus are incompetent retards but also corrupt evil assholes who take money from their cronies to harass others for the sake of money.

      I guess we should employ few more thousand babus to control TurboTax from bribing other thousand babus at IRS.

      Like

  8. Paagal Swami Friday March 19, 2021 / 2:05 pm

    As an NRI who holds an OCI, and was once considered a PIO, I once was required to obtain an exit permit to leave India (a complicated back story which I plan to produce into a musical). When I went to apply for the exit permit, I was met with a bureaucrat, sipping tea (you can’t make this up), who retorted, “Who says you need an exit permit?!?” I said, the blessed government of the land. Begrudgingly, he took my paperwork, in triplicate with a dozen passport photos, and told me to come back in a week.

    The week passed (this was in Delhi), and when I returned, I noticed my file was in the same spot as where the esteemed bureaucrat had plopped it a week before. I asked on the status of my request to leave India. Shri Bureaucratji asked me for proofs (his word proofs, as in plural) that I had a confirmed flight out of the enchanted land. I told him I couldn’t confirm a ticket until I had confirmation that I could leave. To wit, he replied, ‘That makes no sense. Are you flying Air India?’ The Air India comment felt, to me, like he could call in a favor to his cousin-uncle’s great-niece to get me a fake ticket that he could attach to his document. But, we got busy with other things – where do I live in the US, etc.

    Anywho, I think he felt sorry for me, so be processed my documents without any proofs, which included the sledgehammering of his personal stamp on three copies of the exit permit. He felt quite proud of the stamp imprints, and I was proud of him too.

    Upon arriving at IGI, I produced the exit permit to the disembarkation bureaucrat. He said, in a fit of anger, “Why did you obtain this? You aren’t a criminal!,” and then promptly tossed the documents into the trash.

    I tell my non NRI,OCI,PIO,OCD friends that this is the reason most indians believe in reincarnation – it takes more than one lifetime to figure this shit out.

    Like

    • Atanu Dey Saturday March 20, 2021 / 4:00 pm

      Indians are extraordinarily passive. No wonder they got ruled by invaders the moment the technology became available (horses) for armies to cross long distances. The Europeans would have started ruling India 2000 years ago if they had developed ocean navigation then.

      Like

      • WJG Saturday March 20, 2021 / 4:07 pm

        Agreed – its time for Hindus to stand up and be counted.
        Most are darpokes it seems?

        Like

Leave a Reply. Comment may be held for moderation.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s