gfiles magazine

January 17, 2012

BIG BOSS - bc gupta, secretary, food & civil supplies

‘In no part of the world has such a right been conferred by the state’
HE National Food Security Bill, introduced in the winter session of Parliament, is now with the Standing Committee. When passed, it will make access to foodgrains a legal entitlement for every citizen. It aims “to provide for food and nutritional security, in human life cycle approach, by ensuring access to adequate quantity of quality food at affordable prices, for people to live a life with dignity.” The Bill has many supporters, but a slew of objections has emanated from even those who feel such legislation is necessary. BC Gupta, Secretary, Food and Civil Supplies, discusses the Bill with gfiles.........readmore

GOVERNANCE - gfiles summit

A unique confab
The first summit of gfiles aroused all-round interest because here high officials were deliberating upon the issue of performance of the government in the presence of bureaucrats and journalists. There were three eminent speakers and hundreds of important listeners. With gfiles’ banner, ‘Challenges of Governance’, glittering in elegance as the backdrop, the evening assumed a different dimension.

HE first summit of gfiles aroused all round interest, with three senior government officials deliberating the performance of the government in the presence of bureaucrats and journalists. At the outset, the “history” of gfiles, as narrated by Editor Anil Tyagi, made interesting listening:....readmore

GOVERNANCE - gfiles summit

Womb of fancy
Can elaborate systems, designs and approaches make a dent on the real world and ground realities?
OVERNANCE” caught on as a catchword about a decade ago and by now has been so badly flogged that if the word had any sense of shame it would have gone into hiding. Soon after the word gained currency, World Bank and IMF status reports began tagging it to another catchword of the times – “reforms”. Today, both catchwords have gone viral. No day passes without someone inviting you to a conference or a conclave, a seminar or a symposium on something like “Crisis of Governance” or “Governance and Reforms” or, better still, “Administrative Reforms and Good Governance”. Most such events are organized for no easily understandable reason and with little seriousness, at most inconvenient locations and most inappropriate hours............Readmore

Everyone on the crossroads

There is so much that hangs on this UP Assembly election that punters are betting not merely on its outcome but on the very future of India itself! So much so that many feel that the upshot from here may decide whether there will be trouble and turmoil in India in the near future, or peace and progress.
O much hangs on this UP Assembly election that punters are betting not merely on its outcome but on the very future of India itself! Many people feel that the upshot may decide whether there will be trouble and turmoil in India in the near future, or peace and progress. A decisive verdict will give the nation some sense of certainty and some measure of faith and hope; an indecisive one will mean a long run of national turmoil that India can ill afford. All legislative action such as the Lokpal, food guarantee, citizens’ charter and so on will come to naught if UP is plunged into disorder after the election. A split verdict will mean a gash on the national body politic which is already so badly slashed all over..........readmore

ARMED FORCES - selection of chiefs

Merit must be criterion, not d.o.b.
An issue that affects the quality of the top military leadership has been reduced to a war of ‘succession’
by Major General Mrinal Suman
he debate about the date of birth of the Army chief has been highly skewed, ill-informed and subjective. It is being said that the order of “succession” would get changed if his year of birth is accepted as 1951 and not 1950. An issue that critically affects the quality of the top military leadership has been reduced to a war of “succession”. Merit has been rendered inconsequential. The term “succession” is incongruent with respect to the appointment of a service chief. It smacks of the old feudal system where the eldest-born, irrespective of his competence, claimed first right over the throne...........Readmore

SPECIAL REPORT - telecom skulduggery

Telescams cheaper by the dozen
For 20 years, the Ministers and babus favoured private players and only indirectly furthered consumer interests
HE story of India’s mobile revolution is contradictory, a mix of romantic idealism and crony capitalism, a successful dream to radically transform the way we communicate coupled with nightmarish examples of corruption, and the growth of networks to propagate inclusive growth as also incestuous links between government and big business. It is a shining case of how reforms can work, and how liberalization can also obliterate the basic values in any society..... Readmore

MY CORNER - fdi in retail mg devasahayam

The aam trader’s nemesis
Is the government contemplating a step that will benefit MNCs at the cost of India’s small entrepreneurs?
N democratic governance, Parliament is the fulcrum around which the people and the government revolve. It is therefore imperative that the functioning of Parliament be positive, proactive, purposeful and parsimonious. What is happening is the reverse.....Readmore

MY CORNER - serving bureaucrats amitabh thakur

Suffering in silence
Pity the poor government servant...
 am a government servant, belonging to the Indian Police Service. There are thousands of IPS officers and a few million government servants in India. Generally, we are regarded as a privileged lot by everyone else. The media often refers to us as “babus”. The word is used in an apparent derogatory way for the simple reason that there is a general presumption that government servants enjoy privileges and perks with least effort. The public often treats us as parasites eating into the country’s exchequer, hardly giving anything in return. The success of the Jan Lokpal agitation, primarily aimed at government servants, and the massive support it got from all quarters of society, make it amply clear that we are not a very respected community......Readmore

BOOK REVIEW - political biography

A world in a driver’s cabin
A journalist sees the real India through truck rides
E live in a country that remains unknown to 99% of us throughout our lives. The urban elite has no idea how 75% of the population lives (or fails to live) and rural folk do not really know about urban extravagance and the symbols of obscene wealth in the big cities......Readmore

INSIGHT - real estate fraud

Consumer be damned
How the developer sharks are feeding on unsuspecting investors and buyers
T long last, the government has decided to bring in a Bill to regulate real estate companies. However, thanks to the long slumber, deliberate or otherwise, tens of thousands of investors and home buyers have lost hundreds of crores of rupees. In some cases, small investors and home buyers have lost lifetime’s savings because homes they invested in never came up. If there has been a widespread and organized fraud in this country, it is by real estate companie........Read More

STOCK DOCTOR - dr gs sood

Snap up stocks at right time
NVESTORS are set to witness heightened volatility in the markets for at least a couple of months in the new year due to the unresolved European crisis that will witness how the scheduled debt repayments of ailing Euro countries actually pan out, the state elections, quarterly results and the countdown to the Union Budget. The near-term outlook for the markets still looks bleak. But the prolonged bearishness seems to have tired even the pessimists who now think that most of the negatives have already been priced in the market that is getting set to live with these kinds of uncertainties.........Read More

CORRUPTION - feudal bias

The king can do no wrong
In his very last article, written for gfiles just before his death in October 2011, BR Lall, an IPS officer who worked with the CBI, says the agency’s investigating officers “are not supposed to cross the path of the elite”. In the last 60 years, no action has ever been taken against any higher-up despite rampant corruption. Whether it’s succumbing to political pressure or sparing the rich and senior IPS officers, it’s evident everywhere. The author explains why and how the CBI has stooped so low.....Read More


Control without controls
CBI chiefs spell out why tinkering with the nodal anti-crime agency could compromise its ability and impartiality
HOSE manning the CBI – the principal bone of contention in the stillborn anti-graft legislation – watched with considerable trepidation the prolonged debate over the Lokpal Bill in Parliament, which ended in a fiasco. They fear that they will be burdened with several bosses who will pull in different directions. The apprehension is well expressed by Trinath Mishra, former CBI director: “The CBI will turn into a double-roti or pao-roti [meaning several breads, since pao and roti are both breads].” On the pretext of making the CBI more independent, all the proposed versions of the Lokpal seem bent on creating more supervisors – the Lokpal, the Cental Vigilance Commission (CVC), and the government.......Read more

CORRUPTION - doordarshan

The murky side of autonomy
Once again, favouritism, cronyism and graft besmirch the image of India’s national TV network
URING the recent debate in Parliament on the Prasar Bharati Amendment Bill, 2011, the Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Ambika Soni, was startled by the MPs’ concern over an inept organization which has almost descended into an abyss of no return. An offshoot of an autonomous structure designed with good intentions has turned into a den of irregularities and corruption. The Prasar Bharati saga is like a serial with episodes bringing in new characters (here bureaucrats!), all enmeshed in misdoing. Yet, sadly, the Ministers keep defending their roles in preserving a make-believe autonom......Read More