ARTICLES ON BUREAUCRACY

whatsapp-civil-war-among-maharashtra-ias-officers

WhatsApp civil war among Maharashtra IAS officers

Maharashtra's IAS officers are caught in a WhatsApp civil war raging with a fury not known before. What could be said about any officer and a minister is no longer guaranteed. 

The messages, though not graceful enough to be made part of the editorial copy, exchanged at 00.00 AM last Sunday later came in the public domain after a newspaper published them. It involved several senior IAS officers including Chief PS to former CM, former chief secretaries, a judicial member in Lokpal office, former BMC Commissioner, and others.  

These messages were posted on two WhatsApp groups by Arvind Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary, who has subsequently claimed these posts were made in a jest to pull the legs of some of his colleagues.

Of the two WhatsApp groups, one is composed of senior secretaries to the state government and another connects CEOs of all Zila Parishads to an ACS.

But what Kumar thought was 'Hansi-Mazak' unnerved and disturbed a lot of officers because their reputation was tarred among young IAS officers posted at various Zila Parishads. They all got into action and got him relieved of his rural development portfolio, pending further action.

Among Kumar's targeted officers figure former BMC Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi, currently deputed to the UN Institute for Training and Research; former chief secretary and current adviser in the CM's office Ajoy Mehta; former CS Swadhin Kshatriya; and former CS and incumbent Lokpal D K Jain.

Current CS Sanjay Kumar and CM Udhav Thackerey are said to be stunned and know not what could be said about them now if the 'civil war' among IAS officers escalate.

22 Oct 2020
cost-of-endearment-turning-too-high-for-officials

Cost of endearment turning too high for officials

Every senior official is aware of the cost involved in endearing oneself to a particular political dispensation. And there is no reason to believe that Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh (IPS:1988:MH) has been unaware of it. He's smart. So he must have thought that he could manage the cost involved in his popularity with Congress-NCP leaders. And he did indeed succeed through his career and harvested a rich reward from his political benefactors by getting the current job at the cost of his more competent competitors. 

Everything was indeed working his ways till he stepped on the TRP landmine. And the consequent media blast has exposed his deep connection with NCP-Congress whom he gave a clean chit in the notorious Maharashtra irrigation scam involving Ajit Pawar and others and the favors conferred on his wife, Savita Singh, by famous corporate houses of Mumbai. Though she holds merely MA, LLB degree, which many millions may be holding in this country, she has done extraordinarily well for herself by being on the boards of various companies. 

In the given situation, even if the TRP investigation keeps rolling and may finally lead to nowhere as happen in most of the cases, the Mumbai Police Commissioner may be in for the harshest investigation into his personal and private domain and will face cyclonic political headwinds originating from the central government.

Will he be able to save himself is the question that must be haunting his mind now?

Precedents don't suggest that he will have smooth sailing henceforth.

One may recall how some time ago,  Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar (IPS:1991:WB) landed himself in an inextricable situation for months, had to appear before the CBI, and now finds himself languishing in some corner of West Bengal - just because of what he might have done and what he did to endear himself to the state TMC government and its pugnacious and mercurial CM Mamta Banerjee.

Rajeev Kumar's is not the sole example. Ex-Commissioner in the Central Election Commission Ashok Lavasa and Ex CBI Director Alok Varma, too, had to pay the cost when they thought that they could game the system. They were made to eat humble pie because there were too many chinks in their armor, of which they became too painfully aware when they were hit back. 

With temptations galore and lurking in every corner, officials have found it difficult to internalize the dictum that professional neutrality is the best path to an honorable career, if not a shining and enduring career that entails damage to self-respect and dignity. 

They have been aware of it since the late sixties-early seventies when the Indian polity started shedding off its proclivity for the single-party rule at the centre and the states and decisively moved towards multi-party systems in the states. While in the fifties, Kerala was the only state where a non-Congress Communist government ruled for a while, much of North India - with Bihar leading the example through Samyukta Vidhayak Dal government in the late sixties - slipped into the hands of the non-Congress formations.

As the political churning continued through the seventies, eighties, and nineties and thereafter, IAS and IPS officers found themselves overwhelmed by political realities. They found it rather difficult to stick to the path of their professional neutrality, and many of them set out into the path of endearing themselves both at their cadre states as well as at the centre. Some of them succeeded, but many found themselves left by the roadside of politics.

The advent of NDA 2.0 in 2014 and its continuity as 3.0 at the centre has made things more difficult for scavengers of the bureaucracy to eat the cake and have it too. Param Bir Singh may soon realize that he might have bitten more than he can chew by opening up the Pandora's box of TRP ratings and that no Pawar and his ilk could save him from the fallout of his past Karma - because he didn't stick to the path of professional neutrality in his career ever. 

As politics turn more competitive and complex, because of an interplay between the differing and conflicting ideologies, officials may help their career by blindly following the path of professional neutrality. In this regard, they may be advised to take the Twitter advice of their senior and Ex-HRD Secretary Anil Swarup proffered in reference to the Hathras case. "Huge lesson for civil servants in the suspension of DM and SP Hathras. In case of crime and law and order go strictly by the law. Each officer should know that except ‘honourable’ exceptions overindulgence to please someone does not pay in the long run perhaps in the short-term as well”.

(By M K Shukla and Rakesh Ranjan)

15 Oct 2020
whatsapp-civil-war-among-maharashtra-ias-officers

WhatsApp civil war among Maharashtra IAS officers

By M K Shukla 22 Oct 2020

Maharashtra's IAS officers are caught in a WhatsApp civil war raging with a fury not known before. What could be said about any officer and a minister is no longer guaranteed. 

The messages, though not graceful enough to be made part of the editorial copy, exchanged at 00.00 AM last Sunday later came in the public domain after a newspaper published them. It involved several senior IAS officers including Chief PS to former CM, former chief secretaries, a judicial member in Lokpal office, former BMC Commissioner, and others.  

These messages were posted on two WhatsApp groups by Arvind Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary, who has subsequently claimed these posts were made in a jest to pull the legs of some of his colleagues.

Of the two WhatsApp groups, one is composed of senior secretaries to the state government and another connects CEOs of all Zila Parishads to an ACS.

But what Kumar thought was 'Hansi-Mazak' unnerved and disturbed a lot of officers because their reputation was tarred among young IAS officers posted at various Zila Parishads. They all got into action and got him relieved of his rural development portfolio, pending further action.

Among Kumar's targeted officers figure former BMC Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi, currently deputed to the UN Institute for Training and Research; former chief secretary and current adviser in the CM's office Ajoy Mehta; former CS Swadhin Kshatriya; and former CS and incumbent Lokpal D K Jain.

Current CS Sanjay Kumar and CM Udhav Thackerey are said to be stunned and know not what could be said about them now if the 'civil war' among IAS officers escalate.

cost-of-endearment-turning-too-high-for-officials

Cost of endearment turning too high for officials

By M K Shukla and Rakesh Ranjan 15 Oct 2020

Every senior official is aware of the cost involved in endearing oneself to a particular political dispensation. And there is no reason to believe that Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh (IPS:1988:MH) has been unaware of it. He's smart. So he must have thought that he could manage the cost involved in his popularity with Congress-NCP leaders. And he did indeed succeed through his career and harvested a rich reward from his political benefactors by getting the current job at the cost of his more competent competitors. 

Everything was indeed working his ways till he stepped on the TRP landmine. And the consequent media blast has exposed his deep connection with NCP-Congress whom he gave a clean chit in the notorious Maharashtra irrigation scam involving Ajit Pawar and others and the favors conferred on his wife, Savita Singh, by famous corporate houses of Mumbai. Though she holds merely MA, LLB degree, which many millions may be holding in this country, she has done extraordinarily well for herself by being on the boards of various companies. 

In the given situation, even if the TRP investigation keeps rolling and may finally lead to nowhere as happen in most of the cases, the Mumbai Police Commissioner may be in for the harshest investigation into his personal and private domain and will face cyclonic political headwinds originating from the central government.

Will he be able to save himself is the question that must be haunting his mind now?

Precedents don't suggest that he will have smooth sailing henceforth.

One may recall how some time ago,  Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar (IPS:1991:WB) landed himself in an inextricable situation for months, had to appear before the CBI, and now finds himself languishing in some corner of West Bengal - just because of what he might have done and what he did to endear himself to the state TMC government and its pugnacious and mercurial CM Mamta Banerjee.

Rajeev Kumar's is not the sole example. Ex-Commissioner in the Central Election Commission Ashok Lavasa and Ex CBI Director Alok Varma, too, had to pay the cost when they thought that they could game the system. They were made to eat humble pie because there were too many chinks in their armor, of which they became too painfully aware when they were hit back. 

With temptations galore and lurking in every corner, officials have found it difficult to internalize the dictum that professional neutrality is the best path to an honorable career, if not a shining and enduring career that entails damage to self-respect and dignity. 

They have been aware of it since the late sixties-early seventies when the Indian polity started shedding off its proclivity for the single-party rule at the centre and the states and decisively moved towards multi-party systems in the states. While in the fifties, Kerala was the only state where a non-Congress Communist government ruled for a while, much of North India - with Bihar leading the example through Samyukta Vidhayak Dal government in the late sixties - slipped into the hands of the non-Congress formations.

As the political churning continued through the seventies, eighties, and nineties and thereafter, IAS and IPS officers found themselves overwhelmed by political realities. They found it rather difficult to stick to the path of their professional neutrality, and many of them set out into the path of endearing themselves both at their cadre states as well as at the centre. Some of them succeeded, but many found themselves left by the roadside of politics.

The advent of NDA 2.0 in 2014 and its continuity as 3.0 at the centre has made things more difficult for scavengers of the bureaucracy to eat the cake and have it too. Param Bir Singh may soon realize that he might have bitten more than he can chew by opening up the Pandora's box of TRP ratings and that no Pawar and his ilk could save him from the fallout of his past Karma - because he didn't stick to the path of professional neutrality in his career ever. 

As politics turn more competitive and complex, because of an interplay between the differing and conflicting ideologies, officials may help their career by blindly following the path of professional neutrality. In this regard, they may be advised to take the Twitter advice of their senior and Ex-HRD Secretary Anil Swarup proffered in reference to the Hathras case. "Huge lesson for civil servants in the suspension of DM and SP Hathras. In case of crime and law and order go strictly by the law. Each officer should know that except ‘honourable’ exceptions overindulgence to please someone does not pay in the long run perhaps in the short-term as well”.

(By M K Shukla and Rakesh Ranjan)

apparently-acc-knocks-down-the-360-degree-panel-recommendation-rekindles-hope

Apparently, ACC knocks down the 360-degree panel recommendation, rekindles hope

By Rakesh Ranjan 13 Oct 2020

The 360-degree method of empanelment of officers, which opened the window for retired officers to influence the careers of some of the best serving officers, is once again in focus, thanks to the bold decision taken by the ACC to not necessarily act on the advice of the 360-degree committees, and going to the extent of rejecting their advice as and when required.

In this regard, UT cadre officers cite the case of G Narendra Kumar (IAS:1989:UT) whose name finally appeared in the list of the review empanelment order issued on 22.09.2020, though Kumar's name didn't figure in the first list (Empanelment for holding Additional Secretary level post in Govt of India)made public on 19.07.2018. It is pointed out that Kumar is known as a no-nonsense officer but suffers from the 'disability' to network and hence had to suffer the humiliation and trauma of not figuring in the first list.

Several UT cadre officers told Indianmandarins that Kumar was always considered among the best lot of officers. However, because of his honorable conduct, a web was created to discredit him and block his growth in administration. Subsequently, the web was discovered to be fabricated by a tissue of lies. But the damage to Kumar's career was already done. Though the NaMo administration sends a message, at least in this case, that fairness may be delayed for a while but may not be denied in perpetuity.

Look at the way Kumar was hounded.

In the third week of September 2017, the CBI booked G Narendra Kumar, then Chairman of the Puducherry Centralised Admission Committee, and 12 others in connection with the alleged irregularities in the admission procedure for postgraduate medical courses in private institutions. CM V Narayanasamy had then on 21.09.2017 told reporters in a veiled reference to the then Lt Governor that some people at the top were 'preoccupied with victimizing' officers of the UT of Puducherry. 

The CM had also asserted that the booked officers had not violated any rules or procedures as separate committees, appointed by the Madras High Court, were on job to fix fees, and monitor the admission process in the medical colleges and the Medical Council of India (MCI) supervised the admissions.

The bottom line is: Will the government continue to indulge retired officers, many of whom - as many as 140 -have formed a group and keep issuing unsolicited statements against the BJP governments because of their past association with the Congress-UPA governments as well as with some foreign-funded NGOs associated with "breaking India forces." Why not check the administrative and political antecedents of retired officers before soliciting their dated and expired advice on the performance records of serving officers? Why not indeed?

(By Rakesh Ranjan)

gujarat-cadre-retired-ias-officers-victim-of-witch-hunting-

Gujarat cadre retired IAS officers victim of witch-hunting?

By IndianMandarins 16 Jul 2020

In bureaucratic circles, it is widely believed that two senior retired IAS officers from Gujarat are constantly being targeted by their own few peers.

Going by the reports in the media former Union Economic Affairs Secretary Atanu Chakraborty (Retd IAS:1985:GJ) had to resort to filing a defamation case against a news platform for allegedly targeting his wife for holding a senior position in a state-funded PSU. Though the media organization later claimed (CLICK TO READ) that it stood by its previous report.

Further, if some insiders are be believed former Gujarat Chief Secretary J N Singh (Retd IAS:1983:GJ) is also said to have been facing rough weather in his own cadre state as few decisions that were taken during his tenure were revisited recently by the incumbent Gujarat administration with few more under watch.

These recent examples are being seen as living examples of witch-hunting but few insiders termed it 'politics in bureaucracy'. 

retirement-age-galore:-indianmandarins’-reports-proved-accurate

Retirement age galore: Indianmandarins’ reports proved accurate

By IndianMandarins 29 Nov 2019

Lowering the retirement age of the Central Govt employees had been the most discussed issue in past few months. Several such versions were floating across media claiming each of them to be authentic one but it was Indianmandarins which relied on its own top sources and its successive news reports denying any such move of lowering the retirement age from 60 yrs to 58 yrs.  

Indianmandarins questioned (21.09.2019) the growing uncertainty over retirement age issue and made an effort (23.09.2019) to expose the rumours through a reality check. Terming the rumour on ‘proposal of lowering the retirement age’ a ghost Indianmandarins in its report dated 05.11.2019 underlined that “....contrary to the rumours Indianmandarins’ learnt through some key officials that no such proposal has been initiated as yet.”

Finally, Union Minister for Personnel Dr Jitendra Singh (on 27.11.2019) said in a written reply to Lok Sabha; "No Sir. Presently, there is no proposal to reduce age of retirement on superannuation from 60 years to 58 years,"

It may be underlined that MPs Kaushal Kishore and Upendra Singh Rawat had asked whether there was any proposal before the government to decrease the retirement age of central government employees from 60 years to 58 years or under article 56(J) of compulsory retirement on attaining the age of 50 years.

Further, in his reply, the Dr Jitendra Singh said that there were provisions under Fundamental Rules 56(j), Rule 48 of Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972 and Rule 16(3) (Amended) of All India Services (Death-cum-Retirement Benefits) Rules, 1958, according to which the government has the absolute right to retire officials prematurely, on the ground of lack of integrity or ineffectiveness, in public interest, by giving notice of not less than three months in writing or three months' pay and allowances in lieu of such notice.

CLICK TO READ:

Retirement age 58 years: The ghost returns (News dated 05.11.2019)

NaMo Administration and retirement age: Rumours Vs reality (News dated 23.09.2019)

Uncertainty over retirement age galore: Buck must stop? (News dated 21.09.2019)


a-boon-turns-out-to-be-a-bane-

A boon turns out to be a bane?

By IndianMandarins 19 Nov 2019

An All India Service officer, who once had held the high offices at the level of Apex Grade, has started feeling the heat post retirement. Reportedly, the pension and other post retirement benefits have been put on hold in the garb of discontinued service.

The position which was once given by the establishment with a lot of expectations and was held by the officer with a sense of great pride finally turned out to be a curse.

foreign-postings-acc-s-clearance-awaited-for-07-director-level-posts

Foreign postings: ACC’s clearance awaited for 07 Director level posts

By IndianMandarins 16 Nov 2019

If some top sources are to be believed the NaMo administration may soon clear the appointment of seven Director level posts for India’s establishments in Beijing, Brussels, Manilla, Geneva and Washington DC. 

Reportedly, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet may take adequate time to clear the appointments of Directors to be posted in Asian Development Bank (Manilla), World Trade Organisation (Geneva), Brussels, Beijing, Indian Embassy in Washington DC, World Bank.

 

bureaucrazy-gets-crazier-

Bureaucrazy gets crazier?

By IndianMandarins 04 Nov 2019

M K Kaw (Retd IAS:1964:HP), the Former Union Finance Secretary and Member Secretary to Fifth Pay Commission breathed his last on 28th of October in New Delhi. Strangely, senior IAS officers in Himachal Pradesh were so heavily occupied with the final round of preparations for investors meet that the HP IAS Association forgot to condole the death of man who authored the book “Bureaucrazy gets Crazier” back in 1993.

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