gfiles magazine

June 25, 2016

Stories that need to be told

Once a young IAS officer newly empanelled and promoted as Joint Secretary, obviously dissatisfied with his posting in a not very coveted ministry in the Government of India, came to the Cabinet Secretary and complained about the unfair treatment meted out to him by the government. The Cabinet Secretary leaned back in his chair and said, “My boy, who said that government was fair?” The anecdote illustrates the density of decision-making in personnel management in the government.

http://www.gfilesindia.com/frmArticleDetails.aspx?id=1473&Name=EYES%20WIDE%20SHUT

Simhastha jinx stalks Shivraj

No Chief Minister in Madhya Pradesh has survived beyond a few months after holding Simhastha in Ujjain, right from the State’s first Chief Minister Ravi Shankar Shukla to the fiery Uma Bharti in 2004. It seems, Shivraj Singh Chouhan too may go the same way as the RSS is reportedly angry with him and the Modi-Shah duo too does not trust him much. So, are the invigorated CBI investigation into Vyapam case and the ouster of RSS Organisation Secretary Arvind Menon, perceived to be close to the Chief Minister, pointers to Shivraj’s end game? Rakesh Dixit reports.

http://www.gfilesindia.com/frmArticleDetails.aspx?id=1474&Name=COVER%20STORY

Iron ore heist

The iron ore mining industry in Karnataka grabbed headlines in 2008 when the State’s Lokayukta reported largescale illegal mining in Bellary, Chitradurga and Tumkur districts. This eventually forced the Supreme Court to intervene and suspend all mining and transportation operations. The ban was lifted in 2011 when the apex court ordered introduction of e-auction mechanism for iron ore in the State, with a ceiling of 30 million tonne per annum, to put an end to indiscriminate mining and ensure fair and transparent pricing.

http://www.gfilesindia.com/frmArticleDetails.aspx?id=1475&Name=STATE%20SCAN 

Haryana shows the way

Haryana had been trying various modes of Direct Benefit Transfer over the years—like through money orders—but they were costly and cumbersome. Also, there was no scope of reconciliation. Then, from April 2011, efforts were made for Electronic Benefit Transfer through no-frills savings account, offered by the banks under the Financial Inclusion Scheme, using the Business Correspondent (BC) model. More than 19 lakh bank accounts were created and the scheme was attempted in all the districts of the State.

http://www.gfilesindia.com/frmArticleDetails.aspx?id=1476&Name=STATE%20SCAN

Connecting people

Project Rahat was initiated by the District Administration of Udhampur in October 2015 after a ­­­­three-month long participatory planning and consultation exercise as well as technology sharing agreements.Bridges under Project Rahat, spanning up to 30-40 metres, have been initiated near schools in hilly terrain, remote hamlets, traditional paths, livestock movement routes, nomadic migration routes, ration carriage access and approaches to sources of water. In the recent past, a large number of lives were lost, thousands of students deprived of education, livestock perished and livelihood affected due to flooding of rivulets having huge catchment areas. So, bridges were planned at critical points, providing round the year connectivity in villages. 

http://www.gfilesindia.com/frmArticleDetails.aspx?id=1477&Name=STATESCAN

A tough road ahead

Transport is an important part of the infrastructure required for a country’s growth. It brings mobility to people and goods. Transport is intimately connected to the geography of a country as well as its demography. There are many ways of looking at transport: through various modes—road, rail, waterways and airways; through the areas it serves—intra-city and inter-city transport; rural transport; and depending on what is transported—goods and passenger transport. An extension of transport is logistics, which adds dimensions of connectivity, intermodality and integration of physical modes and the processes related to transport activity. Another way of looking at transport is from the perspective of infrastructure and services as two different parts of the overall transport provision.

http://www.gfilesindia.com/frmArticleDetails.aspx?id=1478&Name=GOVERNANCE

Purifying the Purifier

For countless millions, the ‘tripathgamini’ Ganga, the story of India’s civilization, is a river of eternal faith and deliverance, a ‘baitarni’. The promise to purify ‘the mother Ganga’, declared one among the 10 most polluted rivers of the world, galvanized the electoral campaign of the 16th Lok Sabha. Elected to power, the new government rechristened the Water Resources Ministry as the Ministry for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation (WR, RD and GR) and launched the Namami Gange Programme for rejuvenation of the Ganga in May 2015.

http://www.gfilesindia.com/frmArticleDetails.aspx?id=1479&Name=GOVERNANCE

Parliamentary Secretary, an Office of Profit

The President of India, according to media reports has declined assent to the Bill passed by the Delhi Legislative Assembly which sought to exempt retrospectively the post of Parliamentary Secretary from the purview of office of profit.  Articles 102 and 191 debar MPs and MLAs respectively to hold an office of profit under the government. Politics is perhaps the most inventive calling and an insecure executive with its ingenious argumentative power may attempt to peddle oranges as apples.  The defence of Delhi Government that the MLAs appointed by them as Parliamentary Secretaries to Ministers are not holding office of profit and therefore they have not incurred disqualification is a specious argument. The term 'Parliamentary Secretary' does not occur in the Constitution.

http://www.gfilesindia.com/frmArticleDetails.aspx?id=1467&Name=Governance

Bringing a paradigm shift

Anil Kumar Lakhina, a 1974-batch Maharashtra cadre IAS, could never imagine that a reorganisation-cum-clean up drive in Ahmednagar collectorate he carried out for nine months in 1982, would lead to coinage of appellations like ‘Lakhina experiment’, ‘Lakhina Pattern’ and ‘Lakhina model’.He never thought that the drive would make him a role model for the entire governance machinery in the country, from Jammu & Kashmir to Kerala and right up to the top of the executive pyramid—Prime Minister of India—and even fetch him a Padma Shri from the President of India.

http://www.gfilesindia.com/frmArticleDetails.aspx?id=1480&Name=FIRST%20STIRRINGS

Decriminalising the victims

The facts contained in the book may have faded out of the memory of most since it is based on the events that author revisited after a gap of more than a decade of his 20 years (1983-2003) association at senior level with government of India as frontline operation officer as an Officer Commanding on Internal security duty in field to policy making and planning in Vigilance and Counter Intelligence. But as the saying goes that ‘those who forget the history are condemned to repeat it’, the book is a must read especially for those manning the current establishment since the onus now lies on Modi Government to correct the grave misdeeds committed by the previous regime knowingly or unknowingly to remain in power.

http://www.gfilesindia.com/frmArticleDetails.aspx?id=1481&Name=BOOK%20REVIEW

All for a tinsel crown

charan Singh was India’s Prime Minister for one hundred and seventy-one days, but he set a unique record. He sat for less than forty seconds in the Prime Minister’s seat in Parliament. He was a man driven by an obsession. He had to become the Prime Minister no matter what the cost or the humiliation, no matter for how long. So desperate was he to get the crown, if only to satisfy some deep craving in his heart or just to prove his soothsayers right, that  he forgot all his Gandhian principles, all about means and ends. He swallowed all his pride and prejudices, all his allergies toward Indira Gandhi and Nehru.

http://www.gfilesindia.com/frmArticleDetails.aspx?id=1482&Name=BOOK%20EXTRACT

Life is a dance

In modern times, the human mind is increasingly seen as a source of torment rather than wonder. Unfortunately, a source of magic has turned into a mess, a miraculous instrument into a misery-manufacturing machine.

How did the mind become a circus? Given that gnana yoga—the path of ‘knowing’—is considered to be a time-honoured path to the divine, what went wrong? Is the mind no longer capable of leading us to our ultimate destination? The problem is simple. All human beings are capable of becoming the sole architects of their inner lives, if they knew how to use the mind.The problem is just that their mind is not taking instructions from them.

Positive signals

strong macro fundamentals with the March quarter GDP at 7.9 per cent giving a full year GDP of 7.6 per cent has bolstered the confidence in the market to such a level that most experts are of the considered view that the Indian market has de-risked itself from most of the global headwinds, be it the Fed rate hike, the Chinese turbulence, strengthening Dollar, Brexit or whatever. Most of the macro signals are also positive for the market, including the improving corporate profitability that was probably highest since June 2014, better auto sales numbers, increased cement dispatches, increased bank lending to customers, improving savings data and so on.

http://www.gfilesindia.com/frmArticleDetails.aspx?id=1484&Name=STOCK%20DOCTOR 

Vajpayee touch

how priyanka got the house
Priyanka Gandhi, the daughter of late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, has been living at 35, Lodhi Estate in New Delhi, for the last 14 years. As per records, she has to pay Rs.3.76 lakh annually as house rent to the government. It’s a small amount for the Gandhi family, but she is contesting the exorbitant rates being charged by the government. The matter is bound to be controversial in the changed regime, especially when the issue concerns the Nehru-Gandhi family. Priyanka is protected by the SPG which can’t take the risk that she lives elsewhere, at a vulnerable location. The house was allotted to her when Atal Bihari Vajpayee took over as Prime Minister. Vajpayee used to take care of the needs not only of the Gandhi family, but other Opposition leaders also. It’s learnt that the house was allotted to Priyanka at the initiative of Vajpayee himself. He deputed Brijesh Mishra to arrange for the house and instructed his son-in-law, Ranjan Bhattacharya, to look after the arrangements. Accordingly, 35, Lodhi Estate was allotted to Priyanka in no time. Vajpayee even called Priyanka after the allotment and informed her that she could get in touch with Bhattacharya whenever she had any problem. So far, she had not faced any problem. Who will she get in touch with now? g 

http://www.gfilesindia.com/frmArticleDetails.aspx?id=1469&Name=Bric-a-brac

DLF rules in Haryana

inquiry commission in limbo?
Everybody thought that with the change of guard in Haryana, the realty giant DLF would be in problem. There is much hullabaloo in the State and newspapers regarding the alleged linkages between DLF and Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law, Robert Vadra. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has constituted a one-man commission to dig out the truth. However, almost one-and-a-half years have passed, but the government is still in search of the truth. Insiders reveal that Khattar has a complete file on land deals regarding DLF and Vadra. Had the BJP come down strong on DLF, the realty developer would have been in amuddle. But the scenario is contrary to expectations. DLF Vice-Chairman Rajiv Singh regularly visits Chandigarh and meets ministers and officials. Haryana Government Secretariat and HUDA offices wait for his visit. Some prominent ministers have taken Singh for lunch in a five-star hotels in Chandigarh. It’s learnt that DLF has cultivated some of the top BJP and RSS functionaries and are regularly in touch with them. And so, ‘intelligent’ ministers have been conveyed to look after the interests of DLF. It seems it is rightly said in Haryana, DLF is the ruling party of the State! g 

http://www.gfilesindia.com/frmArticleDetails.aspx?id=1470&Name=Bric-a-brac

Kuldeep’s homecoming

hooda angry at being ignored
KulDeep Bishnoi, son of a veteran and influential Haryana politician Bhajan Lal, tried hard to become a force in the State. He launched the Haryana Janhit Congress at the time when the Congress chose Bhupinder Singh Hooda as a Chief Minister instead of Bhajan Lal 12 years ago. Kuldeep has a massive following among non-Jats in Haryana. Hooda managed the State Congress so ruthlessly that even another Jat leader, Birendra Singh, left and joined the BJP. Hooda is so shrewd that he managed and operated through Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of the Gandhi family, for nine years of his regime. Most of the Congress leaders were helpless in the regime of Hooda.  His son, Deependra Singh Hooda, is reportedly trying to become part of the Rahul Gandhi coterie but Randeep Sujewala has outwitted him in the game. Bishnoi’s entry into the Congress was a low-key affair. It is said, Bishnoi was given an order by the high command that he meet Shailaja Kumari, catch up with Ashok Tanwar and Ajay Yadav, but Hooda should not know about his entry into the Congress. Hooda though got the hint and asked for an appointment with Sonia Gandhi. 10 Janpath kept on ignoring him. Then a strong message from his side was sent to 10, Janpath, saying if the Modi government sends him to jail, he will not allow the Gandhi family to make him a scapegoat, and that he will open his mouth. He got an appointment with Sonia within two days of sending the message. Hooda is angry that without taking him into confidence, Sonia got Kuldeep into the Congress. The move was planned by none other than Ahmed Patel. There was a time when Hooda used to ignore the phones of Ahmed bhai as he had a direct line to Vadra. But times change fast in politics! g

http://www.gfilesindia.com/frmArticleDetails.aspx?id=1471&Name=Bric-a-brac

Kalyan is the front runner

choosing a chief minister in up
Who will be the chief ministerial candidate of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh. Whosoever will be selected for the coveted post, one thing is sure: the caste factor will play a vital role. The BJP is caught in the Brahmin-OBC dilemma in Uttar Pradesh. Sources disclosed that Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh is influencing BJP President Amit Shah to recommend his name. He is the hero of the Ram Mandir movement. Though Keshav Prasad Maurya is the UP BJP president, he may not be the choice as he does not have any clout in the State. Varun Gandhi, son of Sanjay and Maneka Gandhi, is also trying to woo Shah. The BJP has to take a call whether it desires to test a non-RSS politician in the State. Varun, apart from his youth, does not have much mass following within the BJP and the State. One section within the BJP is also pushing the name of Smriti Irani, but in the caste-ridden state Irani does not have much chance. The strongest candidate is Home Minister Rajnath Singh. He has a complete grip on the State but it is learnt that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not ready to spare his Home Minister. The BJP cannot take chances with the OBCs, who helped it come to power by breaking away from the Congress’ social alliance of Dalits, Brahmins and Muslims in the post-Mandal Commission era. The BJP is unable to decide whether they should project a Thakur as a Chief Minister to woo the upper castes or focus on the OBCs to counter the Samajwadi Party. g 

http://www.gfilesindia.com/frmArticleDetails.aspx?id=1472&Name=Bric-a-brac

Lavasa, the new Finance Secretary

Ashok Lavasa, a 1980-batch IAS officer of the Haryana cadre, is the new designated Finance Secretary of the Government of India following the convention of designating the senior-most of the five secretaries in the Ministry of Finance as the Finance Secretary. Lavasa, holding the post of Secretary, Expenditure, is ranked higher than his batchmate of Tamil Nadu cadre, Shaktikanta Das, who is the Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA). An MA in English literature and then an MBA, Lavasa originally belongs to Rajasthan. Lavasa has travelled a long way in his career. He has served as Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Joint Secretary, Additional Secretary and Special Secretary in the Ministry of Power, and Secretary in the Ministry of Civil Aviation and then Environment and Forests. While he was serving as the Additional Secretary in the UPA government and Bhupinder Singh Hooda was the Chief Minister of Haryana, Lavasa was offered the post of Chief Secretary of the State. When the NDA government came to power, he was serving as Secretary, Civil Aviation, and was offered the post of Chief Secretary by the new Chief Minister Manohar Lal. Lavasa politely turned down these offers. He was clear in his mind of serving at the Centre. Lavasa was among the few civil servants who visited the site of their first posting (Mahendergarh) on the clarion call given by the Prime Minister. Apart from being a hardworking civil servant, Lavasa is a passionate photographer and writer. His wife, Novel, worked with the State Bank of India before turning into an entrepreneur. She then began to grow exotic vegetables and organise adventure camps for women. Lavasa also wrote a book, An Uncivil Servant, published in 2006. g

http://www.gfilesindia.com/frmArticleDetails.aspx?id=1485&Name=...by%20the%20way

Faceoff in Kerala

Facebook is becoming the battleground for officials to show their resentment, openly defying the All India Service Rules. It has happened in MP and now it is happening in Kerala.  There is intense infighting among top bureaucrats in Kerala. And, this seems to have been one of the important factors for the downfall of the UDF government. The infighting was so severe that TP Senkumar was removed from the post of DGP (Law and Order). Senkumar, who is due to retire only in June 2017, has been sent to head the Kerala Police Housing Construction Corporation, infamous as a doghouse posting in police circles. The story begins a little earlier... When the UDF government sought opinion in appointing a new Chief Secretary to fill PK Mohanthy’s post on his retirement, Senkumar had recommended the name of SM Vijayanand. The UDF government was in favour of appointing Home Secretary Nalini Netto as the Chief Secretary. However, the government considered the opinion of Senkumar along with other matters and appointed Vijayanand. And the infighting broke out. Senkumar felt insulted and showed his displeasure on Facebook. He used the State Police Chief’s official Facebook page, that has more than 97,000 likes, to pat himself on the back, boasting of his credentials as an officer with honesty and integrity and someone who had never done anything wrong in his 35-year-long career. In between, Senkumar let in a line, dripping with sarcasm—“I still have all my vertebra intact”—an apparent reference to show he did not bend before anyone to get a plum post. Many in Kerala infer this as a nasty reference to his successor, Loknath Behra, and a jibe that Behra lobbied to become the Kerala DGP. Behra has been IG of Operations at the NIA and had interrogated American terrorist David Coleman Headley; he also investigated the Purulia arms drop case while at the CBI. That Senkumar would be a casualty was certain ever since it was clear that the LDF will form the government. Senkumar had come in for criticism by present Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for the shoddy handling of the Jisha rape and murder case in Perambavoor. The appointment of Additional DGP, B Sandhya, to head the probe team soon after Vijayan took over was an indication to Senkumar that his time was up. One suspects the stern Vijayan isn’t likely to tolerate officers overstepping the line.g

http://www.gfilesindia.com/frmArticleDetails.aspx?id=1486&Name=...by%20the%20way

Waiting for a posting

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is not able to reconcile that he is ruling a Union Territory which is completely controlled by the Central Government. Sources said that while Delhi has a sanctioned strength of 58 IAS officers, the Home Ministry had provided 93 such officers to Delhi, out of which many are still awaiting their posting orders.  The sources said many IAS officers, who had been deputed to serve in the Delhi government, were still awaiting their posting while Group ‘A’ officers (Indian Revenue Service) were holding secretary-level posts. The best example is the PWD Department of the Delhi Government where every administrative work is being implemented by Chief Engineer who directly reports to the Chief Minister. When Kejriwal raised questions about sharing the information with the Centre, official sources said the Home Ministry was the cadre controlling authority for Delhi and therefore, it was well within its right to seek this information. Kejriwal alleges LG Najeeb Jung was snooping on Delhi ministers and sending info back to the PMO. Kejriwal had listed States like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra and asked whether the Home Ministry could seek such information from them. Senior IAS officers complained to gfiles that the Delhi government cannot take people from outside while keeping the IAS officers waiting endlessly. Kejriwal has, meanwhile, openly reprimanded officers, do your work honestly rather to do politics. Senior IAS officers don’t know what to do in this peculiar situation.
http://www.gfilesindia.com/frmArticleDetails.aspx?id=1487&Name=...by%20the%20way



Who owns Prasar Bharati?

The public broadcaster that sparked off the television revolution and helped other channels grow, today totters for lack of serious professionals in its ranks. Just imagine: An organisation that runs over 25 channels in its ever expanding network does not have a recruitment policy. Even the Supreme Court at one stage issued contempt proceedings but the pachydermic bureaucrats were impervious to anything that diminished their authority and influence. For over two decades, neither did it elevate the existing strength nor did it provide updated trainings. The ones given by FTII once were scrapped by the Babus who did not want the professionals to outshine them. Those recruited on casual terms over the years are the most exploited and misused lot. The instances of giving the mandatory health benefits and provident fund in the commercial wings in Doordarshan are an open story now. It is heard that contractors are paying less than government rates and harried temporary employees have no voice or forum to speak from. No wonder, one comes across people from ordinance factories, railways, army, airforce, agricultural institutes, civil servants from Delhi Government, income-tax department, and so on, heading various channels. Further, DD Kisan is learnt to be down in the dumps due to insipid handling and the Chairman is scurrying for cover. Has someone told Arun Jaitley or Col Rathore that you need trained men in the forces to deliver results? Can TV channels be run effectively by those trained in railway catering, tax calculations, and bomb-making techniques? Are we doing this to kill Doordarshan and AIR? Is this not another form of corruption when scarce resources are not used for the good of the nation or public? It helps to know that an insider has recently been confirmed as DG-AIR. And one expects a lot from him. But, there has been no change in Doordarshan despite the alleged illegality in appointment. The responsibility for the dismal scenario in Prasar Bharati jointly falls on the Chairman, CEO and the Ministry. They are failing the assurance given to Parliament and denying the voice of people a platform created for them… Will anyone listen to the woeful Mann ki Baat of professionals there? g

http://www.gfilesindia.com/frmArticleDetails.aspx?id=1488&Name=...by%20the%20way 

June 10, 2016

Heart-to-heart

meeting up with rahul
The Congress Party is worried that the media has been hypnotised by the BJP.  The party has a big media set-up, but it lacks leaders who can talk, motivate and present issues before the media. Rahul remains their only hope. Rahul’s secretariat is in action; he has been meeting journalists across India for the last three months. Randip Singh Surjewala and Ajay Maken selectively choose the journalists. The selection is based on the feedback of State leaders, or monitoring of byline stories. One can say that the first round of discussion has been planned with journalists who are generally Congress sympathisers or loyalists. Each journalist is briefed that the discussion with Rahul is strictly off the record. Rahul opens his heart before the journalist in the one-and-a-half hour meeting. He informs journalists where and with whom he goes to see movies. Issues about the entry of Priyanka Gandhi into politics are also discussed. Rahul meets every journalist, shakes hands and if he finds someone impressive, notes down his number also. In one such session, Rahul disclosed that most of the people welfare schemes were drawn with the help of industrialists, saying that rich and poor both have to grow. He disclosed that now industrialists have come and revealed that they were promised the moon during the 2014 elections by Modi, but the action is far from reality. Most journalists are happy when they come out for one reason alone: the inaccessible Rahul met them. Nobody is clear about the results of such interactions as Rahul does not discuss any roadmap for the development of India. Unless there is an agenda, no amount of interaction will help the Congress. Is Rahul listening? g

The man behind Nitish

aiming for the top post
The actual strategist behind the success of Nitish Kumar is RCP Singh and not Prashant Kishore, as is widely believed. The Grand Alliance in Bihar was Singh’s idea. The schemes and promises that paid Kumar the maximum electoral dividends were devised and discussed among the top leadership of Bihar by Singh, including giving cycles to, and making education compulsory for girls, ensuring women empowerment, promising a ban on liquor once he became CM, and so on. Kishore is a technocrat who just implemented what he was instructed to do. Singh, a 1984 batch IAS officer from the UP cadre, but originally from Bihar, took voluntary retirement from the civil services in 2010 to work with Kumar. A Rajya Sabha member, he is one of Kumar’s main pillars of strength and is all set to be re-nominated to the Upper House. Out of the two vacancies that the JD(U) will have in June, one seat will go to Singh and the other may go to Sharad Yadav. Singh is now working hard towards making Nitish Kumar the Prime Minister in 2019. g


Subhash’s Mission RS

hitching a bicycle ride
Subhash Chandra, the proprietor of Zee TV, has received only disappointment at the hands of the BJP. Maybe that is the reason why he is now a part of the Mulayam durbar’s nine ratnas. Sources say the BJP leadership had promised the media mogul that he would be given a Rajya Sabha seat from the Haryana quota. When that didn’t happen, Chandra went to meet Mulayam with the help of his now dear friend, Amar Singh. With Singh’s assistance, Chandra’s meeting with Mulayam was quite satisfactory. Akhilesh Yadav, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, also spoke to Chandra. Thereafter, Chandra and Singh jointly hosted the reception party of Mulayam’s younger brother Shivpal Singh Yadav’s son, in Delhi. Initially, it was thought that the reception would be hosted at Singh’s 10-acre farm in Mehrauli. But later, the venue was changed to Bhagwan Dass Road. To make the occasion really special, Singh had invited the President, Prime Minister and several Cabinet ministers; several noted film personalities were also invited. But, as was expected from Delhi’s power circles that move with the wind, nobody turned up except Sridevi-Boney Kapoor, and Jaya Prada. Akhilesh was at the programme for a fairly long time and he too identified with the feelings of other guests that the two hosts were trying to hitch a ride on the bicycle to reach the Upper House of Parliament. g


Ajit Singh in a fix

awaits meeting with amit shah
How did the talks break down between Ajit Singh and Nitish Kumar? A few days ago, when KC Tyagi went to meet Kumar in Patna with Ajit’s son Jayant, the Bihar CM played a big political move and told Jayant that if his father wanted to merge his party with JD(U), the latter was ready to launch Jayant as its chief ministerial candidate in UP. Sources say, Jayant said this was a conversation for a later stage. He, on the contrary, wanted to know whether the JD(U) was ready to give his father a Rajya Sabha seat this time? Kumar said it was not possible this time, but he can promise a Rajya Sabha seat for Ajit next year. Jayant then spoke to his father. Ajit told his na├»ve son that in politics, the deal was always instant. And, so the communication snapped between JD(U) and Ajit. Being an experienced politician, Ajit sent feelers to BJP chief Amit Shah and planned for a meeting. This news spread to Muzaffarnagar and big group of supporters came to meet Ajit, who briefed his supporters saying that it wasn’t he who went to the BJP, but it was the BJP’s top leadership that came to meet him. One worker asked, “Choudhary sahib, how many seats will the BJP give us in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections?” Ajit admonished the worker and told him not to see so far into the future, and that they will decide on things only after sensing which way the wind is blowing at that time. Reportedly, central minister for state Sanjiv Baliyan told this to Shah, who was extremely upset. He cancelled the meeting with Ajit and Jayant, and sent a message that the meeting will take place in May, after the results for the Assembly elections are out. g


Doordarshan episode

The Doordarshan saga seems unending. Now a Member of Parliament has complained against Jawhar Sircar, CEO Prasar Bharati, for treating the Standing Committee of Parliament on IT not only lightly, but with a preconceived aim to humiliate the august body by deputing someone who had no idea of media. In a strong worded letter to the I&B Minister, DK Suresh, MP, has blamed Sircar for sending Ms Inderjeet Kaur, an officer on deputation to the organisation and not conversant with media, thereby downgrading the importance of the Standing Committee. The letter alleges that the CEO demeaned the status of the parliamentary committee by sending an ignorant officer, who failed to answer queries put by MPs. The meeting was held at Port Blair from February 11-13, 2016. The MP wondered why the incompetent officer was imposed at the last minute when the entire arrangements were made for Dr Mahesh Joshi, Additional DG–South, and a known media professional. The letter blames Sircar by name and holds him responsible for taking an improper step. It is learnt that during the next meeting of the Standing Committee on IT, the CEO along with Ms Kaur and Dr Joshi would be asked to appear. Ministry sources also confirm that Sircar has failed to deliver and one often finds him embroiled in controversies. Ms Kaur, it should be recalled, was inducted fraudulently by this CEO for a term ending in 2018. The moment this matter became public, sources confirmed that a shaken Ms Kaur got herself relieved from Prasar Bharati and joined her parent cadre in a hurry. Why do most CEOs in Prasar Bharati get mauled in ignominy and shame? Is it really a jinxed assignment or do conceited bureaucrats fall flat after getting exposed to the realities of performance and accountability?g


Rules to leave

The Centre believes that a officer, though good, may not be efficient all the time, thereby forcing the government to adopt rules of compulsory retirement. In a DoPT-convened meeting of state principal secretaries in-charge of general administration, the Centre wants a freewheeling discussion on compulsory retirement and the rules therein. In the agenda paper circulated to all state chief secretaries, the DoPT says, “the order of compulsory retirement shall not be passed as a short cut to avoid departmental enquiry.” There are instances where officers facing departmental inquiries escape stringent punishment by managing voluntary retirement. “If the officer was given a promotion despite adverse entries made in the confidential record, that is a fact in favour of the officer,” the paper adds. It goes on to state, “There may be some officers who may possess a better initiative and higher standard of efficiency and if given a chance, the work of the government might show marked improvement. The rule merely seeks to strike a just balance between maintenance of efficacy in the diverse activities of State administration and cessation of the completed career of an officer whose integrity is doubtful and his services are no longer useful to the administration and public.” The rule being talked about here is 16(3) of the All India Services (Death-cum Retirement Benefits) Rules, 1958, under which service records of All India Services officers are maintained. The government has, however, made it clear that the order of premature retirement can be passed only after taking into account the entire service record of the officer. What action the DoPT has formulated, will be known soon. Wait and watch. g


Celebrating the service

An atmosphere of change prevaded the two-day celebration of the 10th Civil Services Day. This year, rather than calling for nominations to give away the Prime Ministers’ Excellence Awards, the government chose the districts which had performed excellently in implementing the Prime Minister’s flagship priority programmes. The event was well attended. Nripendra Misra, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, PK Mishra, Additional Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, PK Sinha, Cabinet Secretary, VK Duggal, former Home Secretary, Prabhat Kumar and AK Seth, both former Cabinet Secretaries, were seen mingling with the audience in the front row. Amitabh Kant, CEO Niti Ayog, and Ashok Lavasa, Secretary Expenditure, were involved in an intense discussion. Kant made a wonderful presentation on the Status of Implementation of Reports of Group of Secretaries. Nripendra Misra was dressed in a crisp white shirt and khaki trousers, looking fresh and young. Sanjay Kothari, Secretary DoPT, was seen congratulating and meeting his fellow colleagues. There was, however, some mismatch in the seating arrangement this time. Secretaries and former Secretaries were seen sitting in the same rows. The media did not have a proper place to sit and journalists were standing and wandering in the back rows. Also a point of interest was the fact that  Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha spoke in Hindi. The absence of Ajit Doval, National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister, was also noticed by everybody. g
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His Majesty’s floor

When Manohar Lal Khattar took over as Chief Minister of Haryana in October 2014, he knew nothing about the civil servants of the State. He used to confuse faces and names. The complex task before Khattar was to select the best civil servants amongst the so-called loyalists of his predecessors. There was little choice as almost all civil servants have worked in top posts with his predecessors in the last 20 years. Finally, Khattar managed to create a team. The system was geared up for the new dispensation and was working fine. But, within a year, it started fragmenting. The fourth floor in the Haryana Secretariat has a reputation. It is called the ‘the floor of his majesty.’ All directions are issued from there. The problem is that what the fourth floor proposes, the eighth floor disposes. Not only this, files moving from different offices to the Haryana Secretariat are either not noticed or delayed. There is no time-bound delivery mechanism to clear the files. Many senior officers are loaded with additional charge of core departments, which makes it humanly impossible to do justice to all departments. Many officers never even visit the other offices. Though Khattar claims a ‘corruption free’ government, most of the files don’t move without greasing the palms of the middle-ranking officers. On the Civil Services Day recently, Narendra Modi gave a clarion call to officers to interact with civil society, but in Haryana most of the civil servants are miles away from the civil society of the State. g