EXCLUSIVE NEWS

appointment-of-eight-foreign-postings-including-geneva-brussels-wdc-likely-this-week

Appointment of eight foreign postings including Geneva, Brussels WDC likely this week

If some well-placed sources are to be believed as many as eight key positions at the level of Joint Secretary and Director may be filled up shortly. The process of selection for these posts is underway and announcements may be made in a couple of days.

Reportedly, two Joint Secretary rank IAS officers may get assignments in World Bank and Geneva whereas two Director level IAS officers may get new assignments in China and Brussels. In case the buzz turns out to be true, the Joint Secretary level postings may surprise people in power corridors.  

Further, Rahul Bijoria, a private person, is also in the reckoning for the Director level post in World Bank. Three officers belonging to IES, ICAS and IRTS cadre are also being considered for posts in Washington DC (Counsellor Economic), ADB Manila and PMI Geneva respectively.

22 May 2020
resident-commissioners-unite-to-help-people-in-general-like-a-cadre-in-itself

Resident Commissioners unite to help people in general; like a cadre in itself

Exhibiting a live example of cooperative federalism Principal Resident Commissioners (PRCs), Resident Commissioners (RCs) and Additional RCs of various states these days find several reasons for contentment and rejoice as civil servants. While handling the increasingly complex tasks related to the COVID-19 crisis at the time of nationwide lockdown, RCs have joined hands together via Whatsapp group and video conferencing ensuring seamless coordination between all RCs and their respective state administration.

 

Many RCs told Indianmandarins that to their own amazement, they handled numerous emergency situations and problems in a matter of minutes and hours. For example, Himachal Pradesh CM was awestruck when RCs of other states ensured purchase order of perishable items like fruits and vegetables within an hour. Similarly, ration, food packets, medical emergency help were also made available to residents of a state stranded in another state in almost no time. Finding themselves in a sort of relay race, RCs developed a sense of togetherness so much so that a few of them termed RCs a cadre in itself.

 

When there is nationwide distress, RCs emerged as a bridge between states across country and lifeline in the hour of need for seamless coordination, conflict resolution, and realtime solution to tasks that ranged from the repatriation of migrant laborers to people stranded across states to patients suffering complex ailments to supply chain management of essential goods like medicines, medical equipment, food grains to perishable commodities like fruits, vegetables and other consumables.

 

Amid a few limitations, constraints and even small failures in providing solutions RCs find some silver-linings as well which they could cherish throughout their professional career. When the complete administrative machinery of the Centre and state governments have been handling the situation at ground level, RCs played a crucial role in plugging the need gap.

 

Sharing their experiences, some RCs underlined the exemplary role and guidance of senior government of India officials like P Parameshwaran Iyer (Retd IAS:1983:UP); Tarun Bajaj (IAS:1988:HY), while he coordinated during his tenure in PMO, and Vennecaganti Radha (IAS:1994:MH). On the other hand, some RCs of Hindi heartland were a little bit dismayed from UP as they could not get much response and coordination from Gautam Buddha Nagar and Ghaziabad districts which holds a big chunk of migrant laborers. But overall PRCs, RCs, ARCs across states appear to have gone through a unique experience of togetherness and a deep sense of cohesiveness. Several RCs told Indianmandarins that state governments too would have realized that RCs, ARCs could play a crucial and wider role in the times of national crisis.

(By Rakesh Ranjan)

19 May 2020
appointment-of-eight-foreign-postings-including-geneva-brussels-wdc-likely-this-week

Appointment of eight foreign postings including Geneva, Brussels WDC likely this week

By IndianMandarins 22 May 2020

If some well-placed sources are to be believed as many as eight key positions at the level of Joint Secretary and Director may be filled up shortly. The process of selection for these posts is underway and announcements may be made in a couple of days.

Reportedly, two Joint Secretary rank IAS officers may get assignments in World Bank and Geneva whereas two Director level IAS officers may get new assignments in China and Brussels. In case the buzz turns out to be true, the Joint Secretary level postings may surprise people in power corridors.  

Further, Rahul Bijoria, a private person, is also in the reckoning for the Director level post in World Bank. Three officers belonging to IES, ICAS and IRTS cadre are also being considered for posts in Washington DC (Counsellor Economic), ADB Manila and PMI Geneva respectively.

resident-commissioners-unite-to-help-people-in-general-like-a-cadre-in-itself

Resident Commissioners unite to help people in general; like a cadre in itself

By Rakesh Ranjan 19 May 2020

Exhibiting a live example of cooperative federalism Principal Resident Commissioners (PRCs), Resident Commissioners (RCs) and Additional RCs of various states these days find several reasons for contentment and rejoice as civil servants. While handling the increasingly complex tasks related to the COVID-19 crisis at the time of nationwide lockdown, RCs have joined hands together via Whatsapp group and video conferencing ensuring seamless coordination between all RCs and their respective state administration.

 

Many RCs told Indianmandarins that to their own amazement, they handled numerous emergency situations and problems in a matter of minutes and hours. For example, Himachal Pradesh CM was awestruck when RCs of other states ensured purchase order of perishable items like fruits and vegetables within an hour. Similarly, ration, food packets, medical emergency help were also made available to residents of a state stranded in another state in almost no time. Finding themselves in a sort of relay race, RCs developed a sense of togetherness so much so that a few of them termed RCs a cadre in itself.

 

When there is nationwide distress, RCs emerged as a bridge between states across country and lifeline in the hour of need for seamless coordination, conflict resolution, and realtime solution to tasks that ranged from the repatriation of migrant laborers to people stranded across states to patients suffering complex ailments to supply chain management of essential goods like medicines, medical equipment, food grains to perishable commodities like fruits, vegetables and other consumables.

 

Amid a few limitations, constraints and even small failures in providing solutions RCs find some silver-linings as well which they could cherish throughout their professional career. When the complete administrative machinery of the Centre and state governments have been handling the situation at ground level, RCs played a crucial role in plugging the need gap.

 

Sharing their experiences, some RCs underlined the exemplary role and guidance of senior government of India officials like P Parameshwaran Iyer (Retd IAS:1983:UP); Tarun Bajaj (IAS:1988:HY), while he coordinated during his tenure in PMO, and Vennecaganti Radha (IAS:1994:MH). On the other hand, some RCs of Hindi heartland were a little bit dismayed from UP as they could not get much response and coordination from Gautam Buddha Nagar and Ghaziabad districts which holds a big chunk of migrant laborers. But overall PRCs, RCs, ARCs across states appear to have gone through a unique experience of togetherness and a deep sense of cohesiveness. Several RCs told Indianmandarins that state governments too would have realized that RCs, ARCs could play a crucial and wider role in the times of national crisis.

(By Rakesh Ranjan)

crumbling-rajkot-citadel-

Crumbling Rajkot citadel!

By IndianMandarins 19 May 2020

In the power corridors of Ahmedabad, it has been consistently observed how Vijay and Anjali Rupani has been promoting Rajkot at the cost of merit. It is believed that CM Rupani promoted and given shelter to his Rajkot coterie of officers. But in the recent past, a few officers were either removed or replaced without taking the CM or CMO into confidence. Similarly, a small bureaucratic rejig effected on May 17 evening too exhibited the same phenomena i.e. shunting out of the officer allegedly having a strong Rajkot connection.

covid-kerala-and-international-media-heroes-behind-k-factor-

COVID, Kerala and international media: Heroes behind K-factor?

By Rakesh Ranjan 12 May 2020

As of 8:00 AM on May 12, 2020, seven new coronavirus cases were reported in Kerala making the total number of active cases at 27 of the total 520 cases with 493 recovered and four dead.


Leave aside the tally in Maharashtra, Delhi, UP and Gujarat even active COVID-19 cases in Kerala’s neighboring states Tamil Nadu stands at 7204, Andhra Pradesh at 1980 and Karnataka at 848 put Kerala in altogether a different league as far as COVID management is concerned.


There are several states but only a few of them actually ‘walked the talk’ in their fight against COVID-19 pandemic. Efforts made by the Kerala Government, led by Chief Minister P Vijayan, to check the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has won accolades from across the globe. Kerala's Health Minister K K Shailaja too was applauded for sensing the pandemic well before the time.


Over 35 international media outlets including the BBC and The Guardian praised Kerala's COVID resistance so much so that it was termed as ‘The K factor in the fight against coronavirus in India’. The Washington Post has underlined that the Communist state flattened its Covid-19 curve. The MIT Technology Review made the headline ‘What the world can learn from Kerala about how to fight COVID-19’. AlterNet USA wrote ‘An often-overlooked region of India is a beacon to the world for taking on the coronavirus.'


Certainly, Kerala’s investments in education and public health pay a dividend but the encouraging figures/tallies are said to be the outcome of timely and strategic decisions and collective will-power of the state leadership, its administration, and public awareness.


Indianmandarins.com tried to explore the whole bunch of civil servants who are said to have made the mark which is being termed as a K-factor throughout the pandemic.

 

Dr Rajan Khobragade (IAS:1993), Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare; Bishwanath Sinha (IAS:1992), Principal Secretary SC/ST and LSGD (Urban); K R Jyothilal (IAS:1993) Principal Secretary, GAD/Transport; Dr K Ellangovan (IAS:1992), Principal Secretary, Industries & Commerce are among a few senior IAS officers being talked about their proactive role and administrative acumen to deal with the crisis. The state government specially roped in Bishwanath Sinha to coordinate all the activities connected with the repatriation of the residents of Kerala stranded in other states dues to lockdown. Sinha is assigned to design SOP for such repatriation as per the guidelines issued by the MHA and has been managing the arrangements of trains singularly. Further, Dr Elangowan Principal Secretary, NORKA has been handling the repatriation of Keralites stranded in foreign countries.

 

For example ‘Tiranga vehicle’ launched by Pathanamthitta DC Nooh P Bawa (IAS:2012) initially became the symbol of Kerala’s preparedness in the fight against COVID-19. Designed for rapid screening of symptoms was widely recognised for its mobility and strategic utility as it helped to reduce the risk of exposure of health workers as they go out to screen people with minimum risk of exposure.

 

Besides state’s past handling of Nipah virus cases with which only Kerala was affected, all District Collectors especially Jafar Malik (IAS:2013), Malappuram; Suhas S (IAS:2012), Ernakulam; Gopalkrishnan K (IAS:2013), Thiruvananthapuram; Dr Adeela Abdulla (IAS:2012), Wayanad. Several Sub Collectors like Dr Vinay Goyal (IAS:2016); Snehil Kumar Singh (IAS:2016), Arun K Vijayan (IAS:2016), Asif K Yusuf (IAS:2016) and several other budding civil servants are said to have been playing a crucial role on the ground. Vijay S Sakhare (IPS:1996), IG and Special Officer for, COVID-19 prevention, Kasaragod, R Mohan PS to CM, M Sivasankar (IAS:1995), Secretary to CM; Dr Navjot Khosa (IAS:2012), MD, KMSCL are among another lot of senior civil servants being seen as a factor in the K-factor.

(By Rakesh Ranjan)

shah-s-illness-and-his-differences-with-modi-more-into-the-virtual-world-than-real-

Shah’s illness and his differences with Modi: More into the virtual world than real!

By Vinod Kumar Shukla & Rakesh Ranjan 09 May 2020

This is something that has been in the air for quite some time about the schism between PM Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the later suffering from some very critical ailment. Many tweets and news video clips did rounds in social media even in the last couple of days.

 

Shah on Saturday (May 9, 2020) released a statement saying that “rumors about his ill health are wrong.” He further stated that he was “completely healthy” and is not suffering from any disease.

 

Actually the recent tweet by one independent journalist and political activist Vijaylakshmi Nadar about Shah was not only in a bad taste but also surpassed every limit of journalistic ethics and civic decency when she tweeted wishing his illness to end conclusively and that is something she wants to celebrate. There were many cohorts to Nadar.

 

It goes on with PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah falling apart and Shah might be divested from Union Home ministry anytime the PM finds suitable. This speculation has been rife for long and even faces stepping into the shoes of Shah have been discussed in social media and by Youtubers who named from Nitin Gadkari to Ajit Doval to Yogi Adityanath to many other for the coveted post.

 

To put it in perspective, the entire media fraternity failed to get even inkling of the news that S Jaishankar will be inducted in the cabinet as an external affairs minister in Modi’s second term as PM. So when will cabinet reshuffle happen and who all will be the new ministers and if Shah will be replaced is known to only and only Modi. There should not be any confusion about it.

 

Now, one must understand that Modi-Shah stayed together in their thick and thin and the most important aspect of their long-lasting understanding has been that Shah never crossed Modi’s path and did that much only whatever was asked him to do. So differences emerging between them is nothing more than speculation and wishful thinking of Modi-Shah detractors who are checkmated by duo’s moves.

 

Though, there are certain arguments that endorse their differences like he became more popular after the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A and passage of triple talaq bill in Parliament. Both the leaders were not on the same page as far as NRC is concerned and spoke in different voices on the issue. Moreover, the passage of CAA has brought to Shah in the league of Sardar Patel rather some say he will go down in the history books as the best home ministers the country ever had.

 

Hold on! Shah was made to stay at former Union finance minister Arun Jaitley’s Ashok Road residence on Modi’s intervention, he was made general secretary of the party with the blessings of Modi and brought to the government from the party as he knew that only he can execute his plans without any if and but and in toto with Rajnath Singh’s tenure proving to be a complete dud as Home Minister.

 

Amid all these talks, some activities are visible as generally, Shah avoids even informal interaction with media unless it is mandated, necessary, and asked by his high command (Modi). Ever since speculation about his ill health started doing round, his picture about meeting with Bharatiya Majdoor Sangh delegation was released in media and also he expressed his concern and grief about laborers behind mowed down by the goods train and now his statement.

 

He is working till late at night every day. So one caution that must be mentioned that sometimes eerie silence like this leads to some storm herein some political storm!

(By Vinod Kumar Shukla & Rakesh Ranjan)

merger-of-director-level-posts-major-restructuring-at-sail-shortly

Merger of Director-level posts: Major restructuring at SAIL shortly

By IndianMandarins 04 May 2020

If some top-placed sources are to be believed, a major Board-level restructuring is in its last legs. If everything goes as per the plan then three Director-level posts may be merged into a single post. Indianmandarins has reliably learned that posts of Director (Technical), Director (Raw Materials and Logistics), and Director (Projects and Business Planning) will be merged into one.

Further, posts of CEOs of five integrated plants at Burnpur, Bhilai, Bokaro, Rourkela and Durgapur would become board level posts that would equip and empower he CEOs of respective plants resolving and streamlining the complex statutory issues like mining, acquisition, land rights.

It may be underlined that initially, it was a board-level position but later it became CEO level posts. Subject to Cabinet clearance these posts would again gather the status of board-level posts.

irs-officers-in-the-eye-of-the-storm-report-suggestive-in-nature-govt-feels-going-public-violates-service-rules-

IRS officers in the eye of the storm: Report suggestive in nature, govt feels going public violates service rules?

By Rakesh Ranjan 28 Apr 2020

The three senior IRS officers- Prashant Bhushan (IRS:1988), Prakash Dubey (IRS:1989), and Sanjay Bahadur (IRS:1989) have been charge-sheeted by the government for playing a key role in preparing a report on raising income tax and placing the report in the public domain. The three enthusiast officers have also been stripped of their charges.

They have been charge-sheeted for service conduct rule violations. However, people from the service say that the report prepared by these enthusiast officials is “suggestive in nature” and “does not adversely criticize the policy” of the government. Moreover, it was a collective view of the IRS association.

It may be underlined that there have been many instances when All India Services officers have been expressing their views suggesting the government by means of social media and writeups in newspapers.

Recently over six hundred IAS officers from particular baches and up to certain ranks were asked to provide suggestions to deal with COVID-19 pandemic. They provided suggestions to the government based on their hands-on experience which reportedly proved to be quite useful.

In fact service rules say that a public servant should not come up with any matter, issue or idea in public through media or by any means which adversely criticizes or influences government policy. It should also not be motivated as well.

Reportedly, the officers utilized the time of lockdown to prepare a report that is suggestive in nature. It is by no means criticism or influences any policy. What appears to have gone against them is sharing it via twitter and email adding to the discomfort and displeasure of an elected government that has already been handling an increasingly complex and unforeseen COVID-19 crisis.  

If some top sources are to be believed the only issue that goes against these officers is that the government must have been considering additional taxes but the reaction of the general public to the policy paper was so adverse that now the government can not even think about raising taxes. Further, instead of making it public had they put up the report to the government through the proper administrative channels none could have objected to the efforts of these enthusiast officers.

Government officers are often criticized for lack of creativity but if they come up with any such idea, they are penalized which discourages their creative intent. 

ALSO READ: Direct tax collection unrealistic without revision: Who is to be blamed?

It is alleged that these three officers had failed to exercise due care despite having more than 30 years of service and misguided 50 young officers to prepare the report and circulate it.

Bhushan and Dubey are General Secretary of the IRS Association respectively whereas Bahadur has been charged with getting young income tax officers to prepare the report. Dubey was a director in the department of personnel and training while Bahadur was the income tax department’s Principal Director Investigation, North East Region.

(By Rakesh Ranjan)


reading-between-lines-secretary-level-reshuffle-making-and-breaking-of-myths

Reading between lines: Secretary level reshuffle, making and breaking of myths

By Rakesh Ranjan 27 Apr 2020

The NaMo administration on Akshay-Tritiya (April 26) effected a major administrative shake-up that shocked, surprised and perplexed one and all across the bureaucratic hierarchy.

Three-month extension to Union Health Secretary Ms Preety Sudan and appointment of Rajesh Bhushan as OSD in the Department of Health, reflected the government’s seriousness and preparedness towards fight against COVID-19.

Among all appointments and reshuffle, what has astonished the most is the appointment of Pawan Kumar Agarwal as Special Secretary, Logistics. Probably it was for the first time in the last several decades that a full-fledged secretary rank IAS officer has been appointed to a level below i.e. secretary equivalent post.

Further, A K Sharma’s appointment as  Secretary in MSME Ministry headed by Nitin Gadkari, too, is not an exception. It was widely speculated that Sharma, for obvious reasons, might be drafted as Secretary, PMO. Probably it narrates the inside story and balance of power in PMO. Sharma’s appointment also underlines that PM Modi treats his close aides in a unique manner else what would define G C Murmu’s post-retirement reward as Lt Governor of J&K. Murmu who was widely speculated to become ED chief but instead, he was frequently moved from the Department of Expenditure to DFS  and Revenue as Additional Secretary and then as Secretary, Expenditure. Nothing comes easily in the NaMo administration. In the time to come Sharma's assignment may prove to be a temporary arrangement only.

Nagendra Nath Sinha’s shift on a lateral shift basis from Border Management to the Department of Rural Development too needs to be seen from a wider perspective. Rural Development is something which is key to Modi’s model of administration bringing governance to the doorsteps of the rural households. At a time when Modi was seen losing his prospects in the run-up to 2019 elections turned out to be a historic victory due to the immense response from the Rural folks. Expectation from N N Sinha to fit into the shoes of Amarjit Sinha underlines the challenges of his uphill task that he is entrusted with.

Moving to Finance Ministry, the appointment of Tarun Bajaj has surprised none. For officers across batches and cadres, Bajaj’s appointment is being termed as a perfect choice to steer DEA. It will be interesting to see the performance of two former PMO guys in the FinMin. It is believed that after re-aligning the fiscal deficit and expenditure management, Dr T V Somanathan would continue holding the turf in FinMin to take up the unaccomplished agenda of ABP Pandey next year.

Shifting Ravi Mittal from I&B to Sports vice Radheshyam Julania is another decision that drew everyone’s attention. It unravels two important aspects. First, Julania was reportedly never satisfied with his portfolio at the Centre and had been exploring an avenue for a satisfying assignment back in the cadre. Secondly, connect between Julania and the concerned minister was missing.

In view of the additional charge of I&B to Amit Khare, if one has a close look at the frequent additions to Khare’s responsibility he appears to be in the role of Man Friday which signifies the government’s trust in his administrative skill and art of tight-rope walk.

Food and Public Distribution Secretary Ravi Kant, who once forayed into Secretaryship in Shipping ministry, has finally landed at the Department of Ex-Serviceman Welfare. Insiders in the shipping sector term it a poetic justice. Amid COVID-19 crises and the importance of food and public distribution his departure from the department makes people curious.  

Indu Shekhar Chaturvedi, presently in the cadre, replacing Anand Kumar as Secretary MNRE appears more of giving Chaturvedi a suitable job whereas Kumar moving to Culture ministry fulfills a long-pending gap. It may be recalled that Chaturvedi was once JS, PMO  in Manmohan Singh’s tenure. Similarly Sudhanshu Panday, Mrs Leena Nandan, and Rameshwar Prasad Gupta too have got their dues with reasonable assignments of Food and Public Distribution, Consumer Affairs and Environment and Forests and Climate Change respectively.

Ajay Tirkey as Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development and CBSE Chairperson Mrs Anita Karwal as Secretary School Education were among a few fortunate to be posted in the rank and pay of Secretary in their own ministries. It appeared that the School Education Secretary post was kept vacant for several months for Mrs Karwal only. Contrary to these two postings it was earlier speculated that MSME DC Ram Mohan Mishra too might be given posting in his own ministry which did not happen.

Secretary-level postings which were discussed in the bureaucratic circle the most include MoRTH Secretary Sanjeev Ranjan as Shipping Secretary; EO Pradeep Kumar Tripathy as Steel Secretary; VC DDA Tarun Kapoor as Secretary Petroleum; Giridhar Aramane as Secretary Road Transport and Highways. 

Handing over the crucially important department (i.e. Corporate Affairs) held by an Odisha cadre officer Injeti Sriniwas to another Odisha cadre officer Rajesh Verma too offers something to decipher.

Last but not least! It may be observed that Mrs Jyoti Arora (IAS:1987:HY) was given Special Secretary whereas her batchmates B Anand (IAS:1987:TN) and Mrs Neel Kamal Darbari (IAS:1987:RJ)  given Secretary rank. Six batchmates from freshly empanelled batch i.e. 1988 namely; Bidyut Bihari Swain (IAS:1988:GJ), Apurva Chandra (IAS:1988:MH), Ali Raza Rizwi (IAS:1988:HP), Praveen Kumar Srivastava (IAS:1988:AM), Arvind Singh (IAS:1988:MH), Indevar Pandey (IAS:1988:WB); were elevated in the rank of Special Secretary.

One more name in the list which draws attention uniquely is Rajiv Bansal (IAS:1988:NL) which has resemblance with Ravi Mittal (IAS:1986:BH) albeit a little differently. One may recall that before becoming I&B Secretary Ravi Mittal served in DFS (Banking) as Special Secretary and was supposed for a posting as Secretary, DFS. A month before Rajiv Kumar was to retire in February 2020 Mittal was shifted as I&B Secretary clearing the deck for Debashish Panda. Similarly, Bansal too was shifted from Petroleum to Air India as CMD a few weeks before his empanelment as Secretary and subsequently a little earlier to the retirement of Petroleum Secretary M M Kutty. Still Bansal has robust reasons to stay cheered up is that the NaMo administration has send out a good signal by promoting him in the rank and pay of Secretary, Government of India. And why not if he has three complete years in service to move upwardly.

(By Rakesh Ranjan)

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