I will do all to safeguard public, says Mahesh Zagade

I will do all to safeguard public, says Mahesh Zagade – The Maharashtra FDA Commissioner insists every chemist shop must have a qualified pharmacist, finds Dilip Chaware.
— Read on www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/interview-i-will-do-all-to-safeguard-public-says-mahesh-zagade-1925614


औषध प्रशासनालाच उपचारांची गरज औषध प्रशासनालाच उपचारांची गरज |

#MaxMaharashtra चिरीमिरीच्या आमिषापोटी औषध प्रशासन हे नागरिकांच्या आयुष्याशी खेळतंय का, असा प्रश्न आता उपस्थित होतोय. पंजाबच्या ड्रग्ज अधिकारी नेहा सुरींच्या हत्येनंतर औषध व्यवसायातील अवैध गोष्टी पुन्हा एकदा प्रकर्षानं समोर आल्या आहेत. महाराष्ट्राचे माजी अन्न व औषध प्रशासन आयुक्त महेश झगडे यांनी औषध व्यवसायातील अनेक महत्त्वाच्या गोष्टींवर भाष्य केलंय.


The Governance Gap

My article in the One India One People magazine.



In India, there has never been a dearth of intentions and good policies. Yet, we fail miserably at implementation, says Mahesh Zagade. Why do we have this implementation deficit, he asks, as he tries to analyse the basics of governance in India.


In India, there has never been a dearth of intentions and good policies. Yet, we fail miserably at implementation, says Mahesh Zagade. Why do we have this implementation deficit, he asks, as he tries to analyse the basics of governance in India.

An article of a few hundred words won’t do justice to the topic of good governance, in the context of the current scenario in India. However, let’s understand broadly the landscape of the topic, and leave the detailed intellectual deliberations to the larger public and academic platforms.

The contextual relevance of governance depends upon the tangible outcome of the intended role. In a democratic set-up, the intended role of governance is specified in the Constitution of that country, and it is further elaborated through the statutes, policies and welfare programmes. The principles laid down in the Directive Principles of the State Policy in the fourth chapter of our Constitution, are considered to be the beacon, guiding the Centre and the state governments to apply these principles in designing the laws and programmes to establish a just society. It clearly mandates that “the government shall strive to promote the welfare of the people by securing and protecting as effectively as it may, a social order in which justice, social, economic and political, shall inform all the institutions of the national life, strive to minimise the inequalities in income, and endeavour to eliminate inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities, not only amongst individuals, but also amongst groups of people residing in different areas, or engaged in different vocations. Therefore, the mandate assigned by the people to the government is very clear and explicit.

Seven decades of governance

A quick scan of the statutes, policies and programmes promulgated by the government with reference to the Directive Principles indicates, in my personal view, that the country has done wonderfully well during the last seven decades on this front, with some exceptions. And therefore, political leaderships have performed amazingly well by giving appropriate laws and programmes. Of course, there some areas where governments could have given better laws to alleviate suffering of the people. To cite examples we can look at a few such failures. As per a survey of an NGO, about 66% litigations in the country are land related. This is a humongous number as a very large number, of litigants, mostly the peasants bear the brunt of it, and it has economic and societal ramifications, including unnecessary expenditures in litigation, pressures of heavy load on the judiciary, and more important, social conflicts and tensions. The government has definitely failed to appreciate the enormity of the problem. There could be similar examples of governmental failure regarding conceptualisation of appropriate policies and programmes too.

One thing, though, is very conspicuous. Those at the helm of governance always claim that it’s good governance, in contrast to those outside the government who hold an extremely wide spectrum of opinions ranging from some people lambasting it to be very bad, to some suggesting improvements. However, the people are still generally unhappy about the societal and economic status or the governance system.

The major ill in the country in the context of governance is the successive governments’ monumental and unforgivable failure to mainstream the culture of rigorous implementation of the statutes and the programmes. On the one hand, the laws and the programmes have been designed by taking all possible care, however, the same care appears to be grossly missing while overseeing their implementation. The requirement of those at the helm of affairs to resort to announcements of emotionally driven slogans like “Garibi Hatao” or “Achhe Din”, is the clinical manifestation of the failure of implementation. Howsoever may be the desperate urge of the political leadership to secure ultimate public good, at least as a tool to retain power, it falls short of its intended impact due to lacunae or deficit of implementation. We may, for brevity, name it as a new syndrome called an ‘implementation-deficit syndrome’.

The implementation deficit syndrome

Let’s explore the anatomy and physiology of the implementation-deficit syndrome. Anatomically, there doesn’t appear to be any handicap leading to this syndrome, as the country has one of the largest bureaucratic apparatuses in the world. The quintessential problem with the Indian administrative machinery lies in the fact that it has been consistently failing in the implementation of the governance tools, namely, the laws enacted by the Parliament and the state legislatures, and also programmes announced by the governments. The implementation-deficit has almost taken away substantial benefits accruing from the governance tools in every sphere of social activity including economic progress, income equality, health, nutrition, transparency, employment, income security, social justice, infrastructure, education…. the list is endless.

The landscape of implementation failure is so vast that it will be a mockery to cite one example. However, to give a small glimpse into this, we can look around to see how blatantly laws are being flouted and we simply take that as a fait accompli. For example, we see sprawling slums and illegal constructions dotting the urban areas all over the country and we, once in a while, come to know about slum clearances, demolition of illegal constructions because of proactive stance of some no nonsense officer. We eulogise such officials. However, the basic fact that is always missed out is the failure of officials to prevention of slums or illegal constructions ab initio. The laws in this respect are very robust in the sense that no one can construct anything without the permission of the Municipal Commissioner or any other officer who is the chief administrator of that city or town. It only means that these officials have historically failed in implementation of building permission laws. No officer in the history of independent India has been penalised for allowing such illegal constructions except in rare cases, wherein lives were lost because of illegal and faulty constructions.

This eloquently tells the sordid affair of non-implementation of major statutes across the country and passive acceptance of it by the general public. Similarly, because of non-implementation of Pre-Conception & Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994, the girl child ratio is still falling in spite of dedicated official machinery from national to grassroots level and appurtenant budgetary provisions. The same is the case with very well meaning and well-crafted social welfare schemes. The country can’t forget former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s famous remarks that only 15 paise of every rupee for the welfare of the downtrodden reaches them. This state of affairs has become mainstream accepted fact due to the non-implementation syndrome that has been hunting us for seven decades.

Remedy for corruption

The nation is incessantly busy in debating as how to combat corruption. My experience shows that corruption is inversely proportionate to the levels of implementation of laws and programmes. The higher the level of implementation, lower incidence of corruption and vice-versa.

Is there any remedy or panacea for this malady? Yes, of course! But the question is whether we really want the solution? As per the quote attributed to the philosopher Joseph de Maistre “Every nation gets the government it deserves”. It’s not just the government, but the same is true for the bureaucracy too. There is necessity for the people to wake up from the deep slumber of seven decades to this major syndrome if they at all want to see any transformation, or otherwise, it’s going to be business as usual!

The Indian bureaucracy is more like a pyramid rather than a brain. The pinnacle of pyramid sitting on the huge structure below, it simply has no control or functionality over it. It has been reduced to being just a decorative piece rather than being a control centre of a brain. The cabinet secretary and the chief secretaries of the states have to revisit their role in the state craft as the leaders to secure implementation of parliamentary, legislative and policy mandates and use all the resources at their disposal to not only secure good governance but also to eliminate the forces that act as hindrances. This is not at all a tall order to ask for as I have myself experimented during 34 years of my career and found that it’s not just doable for any post that one holds in government but one can really achieve tangible impact in a short time-frame.

We need to introduce audit of implementation through a third party independent organisation, and the country should be kept apprised of the levels of implementation deficits in all the statutes and programmes.

One India One People Foundation

Mahesh Zagade

Mahesh Zagade, an IAS officer, retired as Principal Secretary to Government, had a very tumultu- ous career spanning over 34 years. As a firm believer in transparency, he introduced Right to Information seven years before the government enacted the law for it. His notable contributions include rigorous implementation of laws for patient safety, and ban of gutkha and paan masala during his tenure as Commissioner for FDA, establishment of Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority, and strict implementation of land laws to control nefarious activities of unscrupulous elements. He is a recipient of international awards like WHO No-Tobacco Day Award, Prime Minister`s Gold Award for e-Governance 2012-13, and President`s Silver Medal for Census 2011. Currently, he shares his experience, vision and knowledge in diverse subjects with all segments of the society, including farmers, students, corporates, health professionals, government officials, people`s representatives and academics, through lectures and organised meetings.



Empower yourself…….(For the young)

Buddies, we have been blessed with best of biologically evolved body and mind in comparison with the rest of the creatures and, therefore, we can proudly call ourselves supreme being and this supremacy is growing day by day. In fact, we have started to explore all the frontiers of the Universe. What has made us so powerful than the other creatures? It’s certainly not the physical strength as some of the animals like tigers or lions can easily surpass our bodily strength. Therefore, it’s not the physical strength, but intellectual prowess that sets us apart from the rest of the animals.

The intellectual strength is the outcome of the brain that we possess. We have the largest and most complicated brain that enables us to acquire, store and process information on such a scale that is unimaginable. You are living in an era that provides you easy access to information….. an access to an unprecedented scale and speed. This has become possible through the internet, information technologies, print and electronic media. In fact, it has come to a stage wherein the information flows on its own through various sources, especially the social media. I call it an assault of information. It’s good or bad?

Of course, the information is always good, however, there are two issues that decide the utility of it.

First, there’s growing danger of spread of false information that gets circulated through social, electronic and other means of communication. You have to be very discernible about the truthfulness of it or otherwise, you become the victim and slave of such falsehood. The people, who are not on the right side of humanity, indulge in such kind of activities that lead to social conflicts and strifes, apart from personal damages. I strongly urge you to question the authenticity of information before you believe in it or share it and become a responsible part of the society.

Secondly, the information itself is of no use or consequence unless it is processed. Information is like a heap of bricks and only when you arrange these bricks in proper manner bound by cement it becomes a beautiful house. Therefore, whenever you imbibe any information you need to analyse it. And the best device that doesn’t cost you any money and is always with you is your own brain to analyse or process the information. This is the best processing device ever created on this planet. Whatever progress that humanity has made so far is the outcome of the processing of information and making use of it. Therefore, don’t stop at the point of receiving the information. You should train your brain to think about it, correlate it with other information and make sense of it as your personal opinion. This is the first step of becoming a creative person. All the successful people are basically creative in their sphere of activity. This will increase your intellectual capacity progressively. Of course, by being just an intellectual person is not enough, however, simultaneously, you have to be wise to deploy this intelligence to achieve definite objectives in life.

So, let’s decide to sift the information for its truthfulness, think over it creatively and make use of it in a tangible and useful purpose. Make this as a habit to pave way for becoming a great personality of the future.


Public Lectures & Experience Sharing

Mahesh Zagade xIAS


Get Motivated and Energized

(xPrincipal Secretary to Government of Maharashtra)A Brief Introduction

For Mahesh, it had been a wonderful and enriching journey for of about 37 years in Government and with a multinational company. On the way, he could gather insights into diverse subjects ranging from research and development, Public & Corporate Administration, Revenue, Agriculture, Rural Development, Urbanization and Urban Development, Renewable Energy, Energy Conservation, Sustainability & Environment Protection, Education, Medicines, Health Sector, Food, Water and Soil Conservation, Agri-processing , Finance, Transport, Disaster Prevention & Management, mega events management like Kumbhmela , Industrial Strategy, Sustainable business Plans to name a few.

Apart from this, Mahesh has been a captivating and engaging speaker. The public speaking has been a matter of passion for him and he has motivated and stirred the minds of youth to explore themselves for higher endeavors and happiness through a series of lectures on futuristic innovations, confidence building, disruptive Innovations, general motivation for success and a plethora of other subjects. He has been invited to many Corporate, Trade, social, academic, research, legal, associations and apex bodies for rich and quality dialogue and interactive sessions as well as a keynote speaker. He is sharing his unique experience, vision and knowledge to almost all segments of the society, including corporate, farmers, students, government officials, people’s representatives, health professionals, academic etc through lectures and specifically organized meetings.

In India, he is known for his no nonsense administrative demeanor as he had successfully taken on very powerful lobbies without getting pressurized or bowing to any threats. This makes his astounding life story a spellbinding experience to listen to and this itself is a major motivator for many. Many of his administrative actions have left a positive indelible mark on the well being of the people. A recently published novel in Marathi titled Red Tape depicts his kind of socially relevant and daring administrative career.

Some of the Topics he speaks on…


Disruptive Innovations

Future of the businesses


Urban Planning

Smart city

Effective Governance

Transparent Governance

Democracy and current global scenario

Transformation of global economy

Societal strategies for elimination of corruption

Governments…. Failure and how to improvise their performance

1. Central Government

2. State Government

3. Local Self Governments

Rational use of medicines

Hazards of indiscriminate use of medicines and solutions

Secure food quality for better health

Prevent Diabetes and management of weight


Disruption in Corruption

Lead a happy life

Emergence of urbanized world

Glimpses of internal functioning in the Administration

Glimpses of internal functioning in the Government

Drug and cosmetic law for medical professionals

Demystification Land laws

Failure of land laws and way ahead

A better future

Fourth Industrial Revolution… Implications and Future-ready strategies

Demystification of Governance

Instant Achhe Din…without new welfare programs or laws or additional funds

Climate Change

Renewable Energy

Energy Conservation

Sustainability and Environment Protection

Food laws for food industry

Drug laws for pharmaceutical industry

Cohesive society

Tobacco free world

Healthy body and healthy mind

Pharmacy profession

Public Health

Government policies for Public Health


Pollution Control

Water Conservation

Solid Waste Management

Issues and remedies for Farmers’s suicides

Pubic Transport

Women Empowerment

Sexual Harassment at Public Places

Urban Reforms

Child Abuse

Transport Laws


Distortion of Democracy and its Restoration

Creation of new governance Units in Urban Areas

A better society in 21st Century


WhatsApp: 9921007558

Mail zmahesh@hotmail.com





One of Archives..

Who are the best and most honest police, IAS, IPS, CBI officers or judges of India?

Still have a question? Ask your own!

What is your question?


Venkatesh Shunmugham, Consultant

Answered Oct 30 2016

There are still many honest officers who people are yet not aware of. One of those is Mr. Mahesh Zagade.

He is currently the CEO of Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority(PMRDA). I had personally met him and when there was so much injustice happening to us he was the person we trusted on.

He must have surely done a lot for the society but few of which came out public were :-

As the head of Food and Drugs Administration. When he was the chief of Food and Drugs Administration he has been instrumental in banning gutkha and pan masala in the state of Maharashtra for three years in a row. Also, he has taken strict action on errant chemists operating without pharmacists, or selling medicines without prescriptions played a major role in cracking down on internet pharmacy rackets since the start of his tenure. State FDA had seized and prohibited illegal trade of addictive prescription drugs worth crores , like anti-depressants and sex boosters – sildenafil citrate. The drugs were being illegally exported to Japan, Western Europe and other countries, without prescriptions.

His work on the ban of tobacco-related products was recognized by World Health Organization, for which he was given a global award. “Zagade has been the only officer in the past 60 years who has worked on patient welfare, care and safety as his foremost concern,” said YP Yajurvedi Rao, president, Society for Awareness of Civil Rights. Zagade, in his tenure as the FDA Commissioner had cancelled more than 3,000 licenses because the chemists were selling medicine without recruiting full time pharmacists.

Zagade had taken action against Johnson & Johnson. “Johnson & Johnson had license to manufacture baby powder at Mulund plant. The company was following the process of steam sterilization. During internal investigations in 2007, the company found that some of the batches had very high-micro flora and therefore the company decided to sterilize those batches again. However, the baby powder was packed in the containers, The company decided to sterilize with ethylene oxide for which the standard operating process was not submitted to FDA. Johnson & Johnson should have strictly followed stipulated norms.”

His anti-corrupt nature and implementing the laws led to his departure from FDA after completing three years. Mahesh Zagade held a mirror to his staff in a farewell letter that underlined how corruption was deep-rooted in the department. His stormy three-year tenure ended with amid protests and speculations of the chief minister’s office giving in to pressure from chemists and wholesalers. Zagade did not mince words in his two-page letter and said that it was a daunting task to change the mindset of a few officers serving the department, which “had been steered on the wrong path for far too long“.

Through the letter, he said how he had found out to his “shattering astonishment, a masterly acquired deception…to scuttle basic provisions of the statutes in such a manner that the society remains unaware of the catastrophic effects of non-implementation of legal provisions“.

Zagade went to the extent of saying he was afraid the department will crawl back to its corrupt self. “I fear that things might go back to pre-2011 phenomena,“ he wrote. He also lashed out at FDA officers who termed his way of functioning as authoritarian and termed it as “administrative terrorism“.

He even spoke of having faced humiliation and personal abuse on internet, blogs and even threats to life.

As the Transport commissioner. Zagade had tried to reform the murky sector by banning agents who act as a conduit between license seekers and officials in RTOs, and cracking down on officers involved in malpractices, like allowing overloading by transport vehicles and graft.This resulted in transferring out as the transport commissioner just eight months into the posting.

How ‘Dabangg’ transport chief was shunted out – Mumbai Mirror –

Currently he is the head of PMRDA and under his jurisdiction I am sure things will happen according to the rules and regulations. Besides he is a good human being and hears to everyone’s grievances personally. We need more people like him in our country.

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