gfiles magazine

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...

May 12, 2014

All for Suhag

VOL. 8, ISSUE 2 | May 5, 2014
army appointments
The UPA government’s efforts to appoint Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag as the new Army Chief are controversial and need to be scrutinised closely
by mg Devasahayam
The impending appointment of the next Army chief to fill the vacancy arising on July 31, 2014, has raised a raging controversy. As the Ministry of Defence (MoD) commenced the selection process, General VK Singh, former Army chief, and his party, the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), made this an issue, saying that with the present UPA government’s term ending in May, selection and appointment of the next Army chief should be left to the new government taking over....Read more