BUREAUCRACY NEWS

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

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

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)

13 Oct 2020
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)

gymkhana-club-faces-another-bad-publicity

Gymkhana Club faces another bad publicity

By IndianMandarins 13 Aug 2020

Controversies continue to dog Delhi Gymkhana Club. In the latest episode, the Club's previous President, Prashant Narain Sukul, a retired officer of the Defence Accounts Service, has been charged of illegality for having stored seven bottles of expensive liquor in his locker at Aqua Spa of the club.

That Sukul had stored the liquor in the locker came to light when after the lockdown ended he came to collect the bottles.

Of course, he was handed over the bottles because they belonged to him, but he was asked to explain why he violated the locker room rules.

The club's president, Lt Gen (retd) R D Soni, in a letter to Sukul, had asked him on August 08, 2020, to explain the circumstances and reasons for having stored the liquor in his Aqua Spa locker since January.

It's not clear what happened further in this matter.

It may be recalled that the club is already facing an embarrassing audit inquiry at the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), following the appeal of corporate affairs ministry for the appointment of an administrator to look into the alleged irregularities in the functioning of the club.

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'. 

moment-of-introspection-a-peculiar-case-of-covid-19

Moment of introspection: A peculiar case of COVID 19

By IndianMandarins 23 Mar 2020

The story of a young teenage boy of Kolkata has grabbed the headlines. He was tested positive for the COVID-19 and advised twice to immediately get admitted to the hospital but he and his family refused to follow the advice of the doctor.  Although the media did not highlight the name of the family and pictures, his mother is a civil servant and father is a doctor but surprisingly both of them failed to bear their responsibilities as citizens to protect themselves against coronavirus, and thereby, keep their society and the nation safe. This shows that power and privilege can be used to cover up even the most serious offences like hiding the presence of dreaded Covid-19 infection. At a time when the government officials at large has a great responsibility to prevent further spread of coronavirus in India, this incident calls for a lot of introspection on the part of responsible citizens like bureaucrats and doctors who need to rise above being blind, doting parents.


By: Neha Sharma

major-bureaucratic-reshuffle-in-telangana

Major bureaucratic reshuffle in Telangana

By IndianMandarins 04 Feb 2020

As many as 50 IAS officers including some collectors have been transferred in a major bureaucratic reshuffle in southern state of Telangana.

CEO Rajat Kumar has been appointed as Principal Secretary in irrigation department and Command Area Development Department. Special Chief Secretary (political) Adhar Sinha and Special Chief Secretary (housing) Chitra Ramachandran have been entrusted with the responsibility of Special Chief Secretary of the animal husbandry department and Special Chief Secretary of education department respectively.

This is a major reshuffle after CM K Chandrasekhar Rao took over the reins for the second time after Assembly polls in November 2018.

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)


finmin:-a-complete-overhaul-in-next-5-months-

FinMin: A complete overhaul in next 5 months?

By IndianMandarins 25 Nov 2019

If some top sources are to believed all four departments under Union Ministry of Finance are set to get a fresh set of departmental heads in the next five months. The Department of Expenditure, presently under ad-hoc arrangement, became headless after G C Murmu (IAS:1985:GJ) was picked up as J&K Lieutenant Governor. Union Finance Secretary Rajiv Kumar (IAS:1984:JH), Secretary, DFS, is retiring in February next year followed by Economic Affairs Secretary Atanu Chakraborty (IAS:1985:GJ) scheduled to retire April next year. Though Revenue Secretary A B P Pandey (IAS:1985:MH) may remain on turf till February 2021 but with vital figures dipping steadily the power corridors are abuzz that Pandey may be shifted to some other key departments. If that be the case the Finance Ministry may see a fresh set of faces to steer the economy which would be key to take NaMo 2.0 to its 3.0 version.

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