gfiles magazine

July 29, 2014

Path to exports

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pitched for export of defence equipment. After dedicating aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya to the nation on June 14, Modi reportedly stated: “Indian arms and ammunition should be exported across the world and used by smaller nations to protect themselves.”

‘Development’ for the poor The subaltern perspective

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s governance agenda, unveiled by the President in his address to Parliament on June 9, 2014, gives prime position to pro-poor development: “My Government is dedicated to the poor. Poverty has no religion, hunger has no creed, and despair has no geography.

MPs: Do’s and don’ts?

Every Member of Parliament has to make and subscribe to an oath or affirmation, before taking his seat in Parliament, that he will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution, that he will uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India and that he will faithfully discharge the duty upon which he is about to enter.

Modi goes to Tokyo

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Tokyo soon to meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, signalling closer bilateral ties infused by personal chemistry and shared values. The Namo-Shinzo show will be an elaborately choreographed red carpet extravaganza to highlight the two leaders’ warm bonds; after all they are Twitter buddies and met twice previously in 2007 and 2012.

Simplicity defines her

Meet Sumitra Mahajan, 71, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Indore in Madhya Pradesh and the second woman Speaker of the world’s biggest democracy’s Parliament. Mahajan is no ordinary MP—she has won each and every Lok Sabha election from Indore since first contesting from there in 1989. Moreover, she is known for her simple lifestyle and spotless career.

Sunset for the Chogyal

I was having lunch when I got a call from Kewal Singh, the foreign secretary, asking me to report to him immediately. It was April 7, 1973. I rushed to the foreign office. Kewal Singh, welcoming me warmly, said, ‘You are being sent to take over charge of the Sikkim government immediately. The Sikkim administration has collapsed and the Chogyal (ruler) wants immediate assistance. The people are on the streets, demanding a democratic system.

Lost somewhere in between!

here is what the 29-year-old Jaipur boy, Gaurav Agarwal, who topped in the UPSC exams in 2013, had to say when media persons asked him why he wanted to become a civil servant: “After finishing my studies in IIT and IIM, I worked in a top MNC in Hong Kong for four years. It was a highly paid and comfortable job in the investment banking sector but I decided to go for the civil services due to its distinguished elements. I found that the job of a civil servant is more challenging and very distinguished.

Governance, Modi ishtyle

narendra Modi is rewriting all the established theories of governance. He started by coining the moolmantra for his ishtyle as “minimum government, maximum governance”. Pundits are even now trying hard to understand the esoteric meaning hidden in these four innocent-looking words.

Wildlife thriller with a twist

at last, a new genre of tiger fiction or shall we say wildlife fiction is created! After all the sombre reports about elections won and lost, finally a more inspiring, gripping, nail-biting, edge-of-the-seat mystery-thriller about wildlife, especially the perilously endangered tiger.

Keep the faith

The sharp run-up in the market post the new government has made investors, especially retail investors, a bit cautious. The bitter taste of the recent past is not going easily and most retail investors seem to have missed the bus as they still find it hard to believe in the likely turnaround of the Indian economy. The rally has, therefore, been mainly triggered and carried by FIIs’ belief in the Indian economy and the massive amount of cheap money flowing in due to the comparative attractiveness of India vis-a-vis other emerging economies. Indian investors with a cost of capital of around 10 per cent still do not find the market worth investing in.

Love in the time of elections

The so-called Raja of Madhya Pradesh and veteran Congress leader, Digvijaya Singh, was tantalisingly embroiled in the controversy of an alleged love affair with TV anchor Amrita Rai. The exposé took place bang in the middle of the elections. It was a very prudent and shrewd decision by Digvijaya to immediately tweet to the world that he had found his lady love. Even the media had not expected that his alleged romance would be deliberately leaked on the social media. Mediapersons were taken aback by this Cheeni Kum romance.

New system of governance

The process of governance by Narendra Modi has begun. There are certain norms and procedures under which the Government of India works. The most important Committee in the Government of India is the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC). It consists of three decision-makers—the Prime Minister, Home Minister and the concerned Minister of the Ministry.

The ways of Kamal Nath

Veteran Congress leader Kamal Nath was not only the Urban Development Minister in the UPA II regime but also was virtually the de facto Chief Minister of the National Capital Region as far as ‘colonisation’ was concerned. Kamal Nath was the ex-officio Chairman of National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB), being Minister of Urban Development. This is the body which decides the development of the land in and around Delhi. The Chief Ministers of Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are also members of the Board.

Files on hold

Whenever regimes have changed in the last 67 years, the transition has been smooth, especially for facilitators. The BJP has come to power alone, without the support of anybody’s crutches this time. This disposition has created a bottleneck. As far as the bureaucracy is concerned, they have their set-up in place. The issue is how to deal with the ministers’ offices. Barring a few top industrialists’ facilitators, most are perturbed.

Of boys and men

The probationers of the IAS Academy at Mussoorie who were originally from Allahabad were called ‘all bad boys’. Imagine the scenario when ‘all bad boys’ and a good teacher who also hails from Allahabad assembled to release a book! The teacher was BJP stalwart Murli Manohar Joshi and the ‘boys’ were former Cabinet Secretary Prabhat Kumar and BK Chaturvedi. The three were present on the occasion of the release of a book written by MK Kaw, a retired IAS officer and a satirist for gfiles. Kaw has published a compilation of his columns under the title KAW-COW and Silly Point. Kaw has been using his wit for long and has been writing for The Times of India under the title KAW-COW. Kaw invited his former boss, Joshi, also former Human Resource Development Minister.

Debt-ridden, yet prosperous

Are you looking for a public relations manager for your firm, ministry or company? There is an official in Delhi, who works in a Gujarat-based public sector undertaking and is omnipresent in Delhi’s elite clubs. The PSU has a full-fledged office with a guest house in the capital. gfiles has a list of the who’s who of Delhi who have been beneficiaries of the official’s benevolence.

Cheat sheet

If you are a Gujarat cadre officer and have served the UPA II regime, there is no guarantee that you are protected and will get a good posting. Everyone was shocked when recently, the Prime Minister’s Office shifted a Secretary-rank officer from the finance ministry. As reported in the media, Narendra Modi was aware of the officer’s proximity to the UPA II regime’s important leader from Gujarat.

The perfect secretary

The post of Private Secretary to the minister is considered so vital that whosoever sits in the seat is believed to virtually rule the said ministry. The Private Secretary works as the connect between ministry officials, the outside world and the minister.

A hegemon in the making

Modi has shown clear signs of an emerging supreme ruler but how or
where he will really lead India is yet to be clearly seen

it was clear from the very beginning of this election campaign that Narendra Modi is not a leader from the traditional mould. H s irise in the party was phenomenal, his campaign was awesome, his speeches from the hustings masterly and the majority he has won is simply staggering. His success in securing the total submission of the many recalcitrant elements in the party without even raising a finger or any bloodletting has been remarkable.

Dawn of a Naya Daur

Modi heralds change with Gandhi-Lohia-Upadhyay talisman

june 26, the day the Modi governmentcompleted a month in office, was also the 39th anniversary of the beginning of the darkest period of the history of the Republic of India—the 19 months of Emergency—which was also touted as ‘Anushasan Parv’. The period between May 26, 2014, and June 26 also saw the promulgation of discipline (anushasan), with government offices in New Delhi witnessing the revival of governance. But this time draconian powers were not used. The shasan of Narendra Damodar Modi ensured anushasan. The leader has led by example.

July 10, 2014

Will Modi break the policy paralysis?

governance civil services

Bureaucracy in India is an important arm to carry out the political mandate of an elected government. When the programmes and policies are clearly defined in the bureaucratic set-up, there is no confusion. Bureaucracy, the pivotal arm for programme implementation, is happy when political masters own and direct the programmes by signing the documents for implementation.

A challenge for Modi

governancecivil services

by mg devasahayam
A new government with new polity, new priorities, new hope and new promises, with ‘Governance for Development’ as its guiding principle, has assumed office. Only a committed bulwark can carry out the arduous agenda. The dictionary meaning of ‘bulwark’ suggests “any institution or instrument giving strong support or encouragement in time of need, danger, or doubt”. The new government needs such a bulwark to respond to the ‘dangers and doubts’ that linger in many minds. Among all the institutions and instruments in India’s governance framework, the civil service is most suited for this assignment because it is the only one that spans the country...

The ‘Single Directive’ and after


Even at the cost of stating the obvious, it must be reiterated that, in a democratic set-up, the political executive must take decisions and the permanent bureaucracy tender its considered advice without fear or favour. Institutional integrity requires the two components of the executive to discharge their respective roles in the best interests of the people. It must also be recognised that in the last few decades this well-acknowledged principle has been given the go-by. The principle of political neutrality of the bureaucracy has been compromised in several instances in the recent past.

‘4C and 1R’ syndrome

reformcivil services

by Neeraj Mahajan

Despite the mandate for change, Prime Minister NarendraModi is not going to find it easy to contain price rise, inflation, fiscal deficit and subsidies. Also, since power, education, and land acquisition are State subjects, his real challenge will be to carry along the 17 States where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is not in power. Added to this is the fact that he does not have a majority in the Rajya Sabha to implement new laws he would like.

India’s ‘Modi’fied governance

visioncivil services

by MG Devasahayam

Within four days of taking office, 10 priorities, 100-day agenda, no FDI in retail but 100 per cent in defence! This is what is called ‘hitting the ground running’ and ‘firing from all cylinders’—true style of Prime Minister NarendraModi as brought out during the election campaign. The 10 priorities he has listed for his government are..

Festering Sri Lanka: What should India do?

foreign policy mg devasahayam

riding the crest of an emphatic mandate, Prime Minister NarendraModi has taken charge and has hit the ground running. The Union Cabinet has been put together. On the domestic front, Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been formed to hunt down the black money, its hoarders and launderers. Ministers are busy dusting files and formulating a development-driven governance agenda.

Bringing tourism back on track


at this crucial juncture in the life of the nation, it is of essence that the national perspective on tourism does not remain confined merely to figures of foreign tourist arrivals—figures that conceal more than they actually reveal.  Another fallacy is related to promotional advertising. Our sheer inability to appreciate that the bottleneck in so far as foreign tourist arrivals is concerned, is not the inability to showcase but the excessive load factors on the flights plying between our country and the rest of the world. Hopefully, the momentum to create large airports shall continue as only that will impact the numbers in the real sense.

Iron or Reed?Tale of Two Lady Officers

civil service rules

by MG Devasahayam

the cliché ‘women’s empowerment’ has been the flavour of the season, mouthed ad nauseam by the ‘heir to the dynasty’ who has lost his ‘throne’. But here are two instances where ‘highly empowered women’ were dis-empowered and made to face severe embarrassment. This is the tale of two lady officers of the All-India Services (AIS) that brings out the malfunctioning of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), incompetence of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) and arbitrariness of the State Governments—reducing the iron frame to a mere reed!

Chanakya in Modi’s team

ajitdoval / karankharb

With Prime Minister NarendraModi assuming office after a blitzkrieg electoral offensive that saw the Congress and its allies vanquished as never before, the dishonest and inefficient bureaucrats in South and North Blocks are scurrying for cover. At the same time, there are officers of unimpeachable integrity and enormous potential who were thus far ignored by a scam-ridden, dysfunctional regime headed by a gentleman who will perhaps be remembered as the most unheard and unseen Prime Minister of India.

House for all seasons


by NarendraKaushik

The name ‘General Pool Residential Accommodation’ (GPRA) is a misnomer. The 110-acre-plus GPRA, located in the heart of New Delhi right on the periphery of Lutyens' Bungalow Zone (LBZ), is not just a white-painted, high-ceiling and gated complex where the high and mighty of three arms of a democracy—civil services, judiciary and political executive—are housed. It is the first certified government project under green homes, which contributes zero discharge to Delhi’s municipal waste, taps solar energy to light its tiled and bitumen-laid streets and heat water for bathing and is self-sufficient...

Developing oneself


recently a certain occasion warranted me to go to Ranchi to see my younger brother, Avinash Kumar, who is an IAS officer in Jharkhand. There, a large number of IAS and IPS officers came to meet him, with whom we had long interactions. All these officers were energetic and talented, but two officers made a very distinct mark on me. One was Kamal NayanChaube and the other K KKhandelwal.Chaube is an IPS officer and in that capacity he is expected to be an expert in the field of policing...

D-Day Musings


A few days ago, when the exit poll figures were being touted from the housetops, one morning, around 4 a.m., I had a vivid dream. I dreamt that the NDA had won five-sevenths of the seats in the 16thLok Sabha. NarendraModi was so euphoric that he decided to request the President to allow the new Council of Ministers to take their oath of office at Nagpur, in the benign presence of the Sarsanghachalak of the RSS.

Good days are here


Akhirachhey din aa hi gaye (good days are finally here), at least for the market for now. And I am of the firm belief that a positive cycle may well get triggered with the buoyancy in the market that helps the sentiment to turn positive, enabling the political set-up to take some bold measures that get translated into positive economic and corporate numbers and so on. Though the market may have run too much too soon and there may be a sharp correction waiting to happen soon, most analysts across the world are of the view that the Indian market is now in for a secular bull run.

Choose your karma


One day I happened to be driving with an affluent person in a particular town. We started talking about the abject poverty in the area. He shrugged and said, “It is these people’s karma. They must have done something bad in the past to deserve this.” I cautioned him, saying, “Economic well-being and impoverishment are caused by a complex set of factors.” But he went on about how the poor deserved their lot. Ironically

Jignesh’s ‘shady’ connections

nselmoney trail

The great gambler of the National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL), Jignesh Shah, is in jail. But when will the investors, who invested their hard-earned earnings in the NSEL, get their money back? It is in public domain now that Shah manipulated the trading and siphoned off investors’ money. gfiles exposed the scam in its June, September and November 2013 issues. Two top-ranking ministers were behind the scam, so nothing moved. But the moment the Lok Sabha elections were announced, law...

Profiling a low-profile leader

politics biography

AMIDST the recent avalanche of books on politicians of different hues, a very low-profile politician has also made the grade. A maiden biographical sketch of the BJP’s emerging hero, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, documents the rise of the low-profile leader and the simultaneous growth of Madhya Pradesh.Shivraj Singh and Rise of Madhya Pradesh throws adequate light on how MP was administered in the...

No pests allowed

What will you do in a situation when mosquitoes have infested your office and home? Obviously, you will find mosquito repellents to drive them away. If the office and home belong to NarendraModi, even mosquitoes will have to think before entering. An American company has invented a very effective mosquito repellent. This repellent is called NOMOS. The oil used in this repellent is made in Tanzania.

Welcome back, Hindi!

Barring four or five ministers who are from South India, almost 90 per cent of the cabinet is from the Hindi heartland. Everybody viewed them on TV, taking their oaths in Hindi in the name of God. So far so good. But it was a peculiar situation when the new ministers took charge of their respective ministries; they called the officers and took briefs. The officers understood the need of the hour and quickly adopted the tune of the new dispensation.

Sholay act of Dharmendra

WhenDharmendra, the cine star, contested the election from Bikaner, he only invited his sons for campaigning and not his wife, HemaMalini, who was a Rajya Sabha member then. She also did the same when she contested the Lok Sabha election this year from Mathura. She did not invite Dharmendra for campaigning. Apparently, HemaMalini was actually puzzled that her family members wanted to visit Mathura and campaign for her. She politely declined. But Dharmendra was unstoppable...

‘Advance’ down the drain

Kamal Nath, the Minister for Urban Development in the outgoing government, is known as a fast-track minister. He demands timely delivery from his officials. Kamal Nath is reputedly so fast that even while fighting elections from Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh, he was regularly addressing different administrative issues. It is a set rule that the top contractors in the State persuade the political dispensation to pursue the case of the Central Scheme so that work can be allotted to them later. The contractors offer advance money to the concerned ministers.

Mystery man BaldevBeri

Is the Haryana Government facing a human resource crunch? If not, then why are many officers in the Chief Minister’s secretariat being given extensions? Either Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda does not know how to run the administration or he is under unknown pressures to keep certain people in posts. If not, why has Hooda given an extension to his Officer on Special Duty, Baldev Raj Beri, even after retirement? Why is Beri so important to Hooda? Beri, who hails from Kanher village, is part of every ruling system in the state. He is a simple administrative officer but managed to get inducted in the Haryana Civil Services.

The price of integrity

What happens when a serving officer is trapped in intra-department rivalries? This scenario befell a senior officer, Anup Kumar Srivastava, of Customs and Central Excise at Delhi.The mafia of some powerful but corrupt superintendents and inspectors of the department in Delhi, in a nexus with some tax-evaders, could not tolerate his initiatives. When Srivastava initiated a vigilance inquiry against them and transferred them from the Commissioner ate on complaints of extortion received from the trade, a vengeful conspiracy was hatched to falsely implicate him with the intention of removing him from the post of Commissioner, C. Excise, Delhi-1.

Forward looking secretaries

When the nation was gripped by election fever, government offices in the Capital looked deserted. Most of the officers were deputed on election duty and were away from the Capital. But the Secretaries remain in Delhi, and some utilised this time well. The Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Ashish Bahuguna, acted on his own as he was aware of the rough weather forecast this year. He called on all the additional secretaries, joint secretaries and chief secretaries to have an on-the-spot assessment of the crop yield and preparedness of the states this year...

Oath ceremony sans secretaries

The 15th Prime Minister of India, NarendraDamodardasModi, took his oath in style. Most of the guests were invitees of his choice. The complete list of guests was drawn up by the BJP top brass and Modi’s advisers. Even the senior most officers, except the staff of the President of India, were not aware of who had been invited. The President of India’s office and Modi’s officials interacted regularly for the function. As it appears now, it was more or less a political function, rather than a government function...