gfiles magazine

July 10, 2012

‘Political interference can’t be removed’

After 30 years of service in various positions, retired civil servant Arun Kumar Rath says that an IAS officer should be an agent of social change
Almost three years after his retirement from the Indian Administrative Service as Secretary, Department of School Education & Literacy, Dr Arun Kumar Rath received a surprise packet from the Government of India. It contained all his Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs) since 1974. These included his ACR in 1979 which graded him as one of the best commissioners. Though he at that time had a vague idea that his seniors were appreciating his work—no one told him upfront and he had no way of knowing. Now, 30 years later, it made him extremely joyous. But at the same time he lamented—why the government does not have a policy of informing the person then and there instead of after retirement when he can do nothing about it. 
Dr Rath – a retired 1973 batch Bihar cadre officer and now Chairperson and Professor, Centre for Corporate Governance and Social Responsibility, International Man-agement Institute – was born in 1949. He makes it a point to keep fit and looks much younger than his age of 63. “I have been doing yoga and pranayam right from my school days and have moderate food habits, positive outlook and no extremes, which is very important,” he says.
“I have seen many people become inactive and inefficient after retirement. They feel frustrated, lost without the status, house, car, money and income. Honestly, I too felt it the first day I didn’t go to office. But from next day there was no looking back. For the last three years I have been doing something positive. Today I am busier than I was in government service. Assignments keep coming. Today I am on the board of three companies, Coal India Limited, ONGC and Mahanadi Coal Field. Apart from this, I am professor and Chairman, Centre for Corporate Governance, and have been on many corporate committees,” informs Dr Rath.
Coming from a non-descript, backward and predominantly tribal village Baripada in the erstwhile princely state of Mayurbhanj in Orissa, Dr Rath’s childhood played a significant role in determining his outlook towards people for the rest of his life. Though he came from a well-to-do business family, he had seen enough poverty and deprivation in the village to feel motivated to do something about it. His father, an idealistic chairman of the municipality, goaded him further into social service..............READMORE

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