gfiles magazine

December 9, 2014

Platform for vendetta? the way

Fed up with constant complaints from the Chief Ministers of Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and Delhi regarding the transfer and posting of IAS officers within the AGMUT cadre, the Home Ministry had set up a Joint Cadre Authority headed by the Home Secretary. The Chief Secretaries of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Goa and Delhi are the other members. Transfer and postings of IAS officers, excepting the postings of Chief Secretaries and Administrators of UTs, is now decided by the JCA. Till now, only a few meetings have taken place but it appears that the Home Ministry has landed itself in another round of controversies. The Chief Secretaries now find the JCA to be a convenient platform to settle their personal scores against officers whom they don’t like personally. As a consequence, some officers who deserve to be posted in a particular segment of the cadre find themselves landing in faraway places. Sources disclosed that there are some officers who are blue-eyed boys of some Chief Secretaries who never step out of Delhi. It seems any Chief Secretary has a veto power during the proceedings of the JCA and the MHA no longer remains the real cadre-controlling authority. Minister Rajnath Singh has to take a call on doing away with the dominance of the Chief Secretaries in the JCA. Will he do it?

Chief Secy for a month! the way

Manohar Lal Khattar, the newly elected Chief Minister of Haryana, is facing an uphill task in selecting the new Chief Secretary of Haryana. As a stop-gap arrangement, PK Gupta, a 1980-batch officer of the Haryana cadre, has taken charge as Chief Secretary of the State on December 1, but he will superannuate on December 31, 2014. So, a new Chief Secretary has to be selected from the 1982-batch IAS officers. The stakes are high. The builder lobby of Haryana is at the cross-roads after Khattar has taken over as Chief Minister. Some leading builders are learnt to be in touch with the RSS leadership and are pushing for the appointment of their “yes man”. Gupta’s selection is an indication that other 1980-batch IAS officers—Ashok Lavasa, Madhusudan Prasad and Sanjay Kothari—are not available for the prestigious post. So, the selection has to be made from among three top competent officers of the 1982 batch—Deependra Singh Dhesi, KK Jalan and Dr Dalip Singh. Jalan and Dhesi are posted in Delhi whereas Dalip Singh has gone back to his parent cadre and joined the State on November 28. Khattar has to be cautious as the builder lobby has already spread its tentacles into the Haryana administration, especially in HUDA and the Urban Town and Country Planning department. Haryana needs a competent and vibrant Chief Secretary, not a pawn of the builder lobby.

Delhi denial the way

The largest fallout of the change in dispensation at the Centre is seen in Delhi. The governance of Delhi is at a cross-roads. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh appears to be reluctant to change the administrative machinery. BJP leaders in Delhi are also in a fix, though they are in power nobody heeds their opinion in the system. Lt Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung and Chief Secretary DM Sapolia are holding the fort. It’s been almost a year now that the entire administration is virtually being run by the coterie of their former boss, Sheila Dikshit. The presence and influence of Sheila loyalists can be felt in every department. AGMUT and DANICS cadre officers who are posted outside Delhi are not being allowed to move in. Officers who have applied to join the Delhi government are being shunted out of Delhi. Generally, whenever there is a regime change, the administrative machinery is also reshuffled but a particular lobby of Sheila loyalists and Sapolia are not allowing the Home Ministry to touch them. The Joint Secretary (Union Territory) is regularly updating the Home Minister on the plight of AGMUT and DANICS cadre officers, but busy Rajnath Singh is not able to spare time to oil the Delhi government machinery. Everybody is waiting for the results of the Delhi Assembly elections. Maybe that will have some effect.

The notorious Sinha the way

CBI Director Ranjit Sinha has gone back to the pavilion. His stint as Director of the premier investigating agency, CBI, dulled its sheen and any successor will take time to repair the damage. How the top secret documents were leaked out and reached Advocate Prashant Bhushan is no secret now. As more news emanates from CBI headquarters, it appears that there are many brave officers who silently defied the autocratic and dictatorial behaviour of the Director. It is learnt Sinha often misbehaved with his subordinates. He even did not follow basic courtesies with his colleagues: Whenever an officer up to the rank of IG or DIG used to visit him, he seldom allowed the officer to sit before him. He appears to have been insensitive, as he used to order his subordinates, “Just finish it and report to me,” and never cared about their suggestions. CBI officers who have worked under Sinha say, “We have never seen such a Director of CBI.”

All for Capital revenue

gains & pains

industrialists queue for chandrababu naidu

Andhra Pradesh is agog with activity. Nara Chandrababu Naidu is a much sought-after Chief Minister and industrialists, business houses, especially infrastructure companies, are queuing to meet him. The reason: the new capital of Andhra Pradesh is to come up in Guntur district with the government identifying 30,000 acres across 17 villages. Approximately, Rs. 40,000 crore will be spent on the construction of the new state-of-the-art Capital. Surprisingly, most of the land has been purchased by top Congress leaders, who were part of the State reorganisation. Globally reputed firms are in the race to become the Project Advisory and Management Consultant (PAMC) that will advise and help the State government in the project. The London-based Arup Group, in consortium with the San Francisco-based Thompson Design Group, the globally known McKinsey, the joint venture of Korea Land and Housing Corporation and Yooshin Engineering Corporation (both from the Republic of Korea), the Japan-based consortium of Oriental Consultants Global and Capital Fortunes Private Limited, Hyderabad, and the Netherlands-based Royal Haskoning DHV Consulting Private Limited in consortium with Haskoning DHV Nederland BV are among the eight groups shortlisted for the PAMC project. As many as 15 companies had submitted the Expression of Interest. What will happen when 100 smart cities will be built in India, can be imagined!

History repeats itself

gains & pains

question papers no exception
Napoleon Bonaparte said that history is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon. In the recent Delhi University examination for the BCom fifth semester, the question paper was found to be a replica of that distributed in the varsity’s School of Open Learning annual exam. The administration department claimed that the question papers had been set by a board of three teachers from various colleges. Despite all such checks and balances, this plagiarism has put the administration in an embarrassing situation. Similar claims have unravelled in the past when reputed institutions and universities have picked up a few questions from various sources to prepare a bouquet of question papers. In the final examination of Direct Taxes conducted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India in November 2014, in most of the question papers, old questions were presented with hardly any alterations. A similar instance was noticed in the examination of IPCC tax papers also in November and in earlier examinations conducted by the institute.

History repeats itself

gains & pains

question papers no exception
Napoleon Bonaparte said that history is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon. In the recent Delhi University examination for the BCom fifth semester, the question paper was found to be a replica of that distributed in the varsity’s School of Open Learning annual exam. The administration department claimed that the question papers had been set by a board of three teachers from various colleges. Despite all such checks and balances, this plagiarism has put the administration in an embarrassing situation. Similar claims have unravelled in the past when reputed institutions and universities have picked up a few questions from various sources to prepare a bouquet of question papers. In the final examination of Direct Taxes conducted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India in November 2014, in most of the question papers, old questions were presented with hardly any alterations. A similar instance was noticed in the examination of IPCC tax papers also in November and in earlier examinations conducted by the institute.

Chacko’s challenge

gains & pains

set things right in delhi congress
PC Chacko is the new man in charge of the Congress for the forthcoming Delhi Assembly elections. Chacko knows Delhi since he was a Youth Congress leader and sources disclose that Rahul Gandhi has given him a free hand. Chacko, who lost his Lok Sabha seat from Thrissur in Kerala in the general election, has set up a temporary abode in North Avenue. Delhi Congress leaders are jittery as with great difficulty they had got used to the former party in-charge, Shakeel Ahmed. The party is in a mess and the Delhi Pradesh Congress has not even constituted block-level committees. Ticket-seekers are trying to be friendly with anybody who knows Chacko, who is facing a problem as the Delhi Congress is vertically divided in pro-Sheila and anti-Sheila groups. All ticket-seekers belong to one group or the other. Surprisingly, both groups enjoy the patronage of the top leadership. As a result, Chacko is planning to focus on individual candidates. Chacko’s real challenge is to overcome pressure from Delhi’s rich property dealers and builders who are in the queue for tickets.

Waiting with bated breath

gains & pains

defence sector watches parrikar
The Defence Ministry is today in such a state that it cannot afford a non-performing minister like AK Antony. In fact, the Defence Minister was more in the news on account of his honesty and simplicity than for his competence in the delivery mechanism. All eyes are now on the new Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar. The new minister comes dressed in a plain shirt, trousers and chappals. When he moves out of his office, nobody comes to know. Parrikar does not use a car to move from South Block to North Block; he generally walks down to meet his predecessor, Arun Jaitley. He starts giving appointments from 6 am onwards and reaches the office at 8.30 am. To function smoothly, he has brought in his old trusted bureaucrat, P Krishnamurthy, as his Private Secretary. Krishnamurthy has been attached to Parrikar since his first stint as Chief Minister of Goa. The grapevine has it that Parrikar was not interested in joining the Defence Ministry though he had been earlier asked twice by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But he could not refuse when Modi asked yet again. He realised that the Prime Minister needed him in Delhi to galvanise and manage the infamous defence sector. Now the players in the sector are closely watching Parrikar to see whether he will be able to deliver or will be ejected like Antony who did more harm than good by just bearing the honesty tag.

RSS sets the rhythm

gains & pains

to coordinate well with the bjp
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is very active in the governance of the country, albeit cautiously. The social organisation does not want to make any faux pas this time. It has been observed that some of the ministers are still waiting for the appointment of their Principal Secretary/Private Secretary/Personal Assistant. As per sources, a list of government servants who are RSS sympathisers or those who have sharp technical knowhow is being prepared. The RSS is also said to be reshuffling its top hierarchy to manage the BJP in a better way. Ram Madhav, the new general secretary of the BJP, is likely to be shifted out from the party to some important assignment. Ram Lal, another RSS pracharak who is deputed to the BJP, has been assigned charge of overseeing the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections in 2017. On the other hand, Krishna Gopal, an experienced and capable pracharak, has been brought in as party general secretary from the North-East. All these activities have changed the dynamics within the BJP office at 9, Ashoka Road, and the middle and lower rank party office-bearers are finding it difficult to acclimatise to the fast-changing circumstances in the party.

Stay with the run

dr gs sood

The market has gained about 40 per cent in a year and is trading at an all-time high with mid-caps and small caps gaining around 65 per cent and 90 per cent, respectively, mainly driven by change in the sentiment led by the formation of a government with a strong majority and a Prime Minister who is the most pro-growth pro-investment leader in the world with the credentials, will and capability to deliver. But, this also makes Modi the biggest risk for the market — if something happens to him or if he fails to deliver. Besides a stable government that holds the promise of reforms, the market is rising due to change in the environment led by small steps such as scrapping of the Planning Commission, removal of diesel subsidy, launch of Jan Dhan and Swachh Bharat programmes, faster decisions and making the bureaucracy work, to name just a few. 

Land of seekers

nation sadhguru

Nations are created on the basis of race, religion, language or ethnicity. India, however, is a mind-bogglingly complex combination of all these ingredients and more. Sameness has been the basis of the making of nations. India stands in total defiance of this formula!

In some ways, we’re probably the oldest nation on the planet. Although we comprised over 200 political fragments in the past, we were still seen—from outside and from within this subcontinent—as an entity with a certain civilisational unity. And so, this land was called Bharat, or sometimes Hindustan.

The term ‘Hindustan’, it must be remembered, pre-dates religion. It did not refer to one particular faith. It meant a geographical identity—the land between the Himalaya and the Indu Sarovar (as the Indian Ocean was known).

Let ‘em speak


rules amitabh thakur

The public servant is definitely handicapped through various conduct rules and is even denied the freedom of expression
Recently, Bihar-cadre IPS officer, Amitabh Kumar Das, currently posted as SP, Bihar Human Rights Commission (BHRC), was in the news. He sent a report to the Inspector General (Special Branch) of Bihar Police, regarding alleged links of a newly inducted Union minister with the Ranvir Sena, a banned organisation. The BHRC issued a notice to Das, seeking an explanation for sending this report.

This was followed by a prominent political leader from Bihar seeking Das’ immediate suspension, saying that he had exceeded his jurisdiction by writing a letter to the IG (Special Branch). The leader made personal comments against Das, saying he has always been controversial from the beginning.

‘They could not accept a Secretary questioning orders’

kk jaiswal

KK Jaiswal, former UP Secretary, Rural Development, recounts his days in the service and how he discovered that life is not a bed of roses

This is the most incredible story of KK Jaiswal, an honest and straight-forward bureaucrat, who was so desperate without official accommodation that he decided to leave his home State and accept the post of Under Secretary in the Government of India because along with it came a one-room temporary accommodation in the transit hostel.

 “It was becoming impossible to survive in Lucknow without accommodation. So I decided to accept the offer because I was being given accommodation,” he says.

The little colossus

prime ministers lal bahadur shastri

One of Lal Bahadur Shastri’s first major decisions as Prime Minister was to offer the third position in the Cabinet to Morarji Desai, who had been the main aspirant for the top job. Shastri must have known the result: Desai would refuse. There was no way a stubborn man like him would take a position lower than Gulzarilal Nanda, who had been just a parliamentary secretary in Bombay when Desai was not only a minister in the 1937 government but had been a minister for years since 1946, before becoming the chief minister. Shastri had succeeded in his manoeuvre to keep Desai out. As the little man had once said, “I am not as simple as I look.”


scope awards

SCOPE Meritorious Awards recognise the excellent work done by Central Public Sector Enterprises in various fields in 2012-13

by Neeraj Mahajan
The central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) have a vital role to play in transforming India into a world-class global manufacturing hub. But to make this a reality, the CPSEs need to critically re-examine the existing systems and develop newer and efficient ways of doing business. This is the advice that President Pranab Mukherjee gave to the CPSEs while addressing the Standing Conference of Public Enterprises (SCOPE) Meritorious Awards function at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on November 5, 2014.

Retired or re-tyred?


retirement mk kaw

Will the increase in retirement age check the tendency of government employees to seek extension by hook or by crook? At present, this does not seem likely

There was a time when government employees retired at 55 years of age. The received wisdom was that most people died at 50 or, at best, at 55. It then made sense to say goodbye at 55. The government did not have to pay the employee’s pension for too long a period.

As medical facilities improved, the average age kept on increasing. The government was compelled to take note of this trend and raised the age of superannuation to 58. But, the  longevity of the average employee went on improving and a stage was reached when there was a clamour for a further increase in the age of retirement.

Retirement blues and the ‘Joy of doing nothing’!

Cover story

retirement mg devasahayam

To retire is not a pretty thought for many civil servants who hanker for extensions or sinecures. But then there are some who revel in doing nothing while in service to prepare for post-retirement life
                Retirement Blues…
For India’s civil servants there are two kinds of retirement—one, compulsory (at age 60) and two, voluntary (after 20/30 years of qualified service). The overwhelming majority drink the civil service cup to the brim before fading out. But the resourceful among them, who have access to powerful patrons, enjoy one or two more helpings by way of extensions, sinecures, independent directorships, high-level committees or re-employment. I belong to the voluntary category. True to my belief that ‘one lives but once’, I had academic and army stints before entering the civil service, which I left 15 years before time to experiment with a corporate career, consultancy, entrepreneurship, politics and public causes.

To retire now or later?

Cover Story 
retirement prabhat kumar
With increase in life expectancy, it makes eminent sense to raise the retirement age of government employees to 65 years
The little murmur about increase in the age of superannuation of Central government employees has been quashed for the time being by the announcement of the government. However, the question whether people should continue working beyond the age of 60 years, not only in the government but also in private companies, lingers on and needs to be debated. It is really surprising that neither the civil service community nor civil society activists have raised the matter in public discourse. The activists seem to be obsessed with finding fault with bureaucratic functioning and unconcerned with improving their productivity in governance.

Counting old as gold


Alexander, an IAS officer, served as Governor of Maharashtra till the age of 72. Brajesh Mishra, an Indian Foreign Service officer, served former Prime Minister of India Atal Behari Vajpayee till the age of 76. TKA Nair, an IAS officer, served as Adviser to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh till the age of 73. Pulok Chatterjee, an IAS officer, served Manmohan Singh till the age of 65. K Padmanabhaiah was working as interlocutor for the North-East for almost 10 years after retiring as Home Secretary. BN Yugandhar, after retirement as Principal Secretary to late Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao, worked elsewhere for many years and was brought back as Member, Planning Commission in UPA-I. SS Sidhu after retirement served in ICAO, a UN body, as its head and later as Governor, Manipur and Goa. ESL Narasimhan, after retiring as Director, Intelligence Bureau, has been serving as Governor of Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh for the last eight years.


The year 2014 will be remembered as a milestone year which proved to be a game changer in the Indian polity. Narendra Modi is the hero of 2014. This will be a red letter year in the life and times of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the BJP. Finally, the RSS is emerging from its shell and for the first time in the history of India, guiding the governance of the country. The other facet of this year is that the 125-year-old Congress party has receded into oblivion. This year will also be remembered for Rahul Gandhi failing to prove himself as a leader of India’s largest and oldest party. The year will also be marked for Manmohan Singh ruling 120 crore people for 10 years without having a political constituency or facing the electorate. What a paradox! History has begun judging Manmohan Singh from 2014 as he allowed scam after scam, just to remain in power. Again, the year will be noted for the display of how to market and use multimedia to influence, motivate and fetch votes.

November 10, 2014

From the Editor
Was the roadmap drawn by the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, accurate? Did Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi play a constructive and dynamic role in the freedom movement? Was Indira Gandhi’s stint as Prime Minister of India in the post-Independence era defensible? Delving into the past invariably yields a million debates. Innumerable books have been written on countless aspects of history. It behoves us to keep this in mind in the current context—Prime Minister Narendra Modi is rousing everybody over the contributions of Mahatma Gandhi, Vallabhbhai Patel, Nehru and Indira. Who was more beneficial, Patel or Nehru? Should Indira be condemned for butchering democracy in the party and the country? There are many schools of thought, fiercely jousting away.

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SEBI: Turning a blind eye

regulator defiant companies

SEBI operates less as a regulator and more as a puppet in the hands of those wielding power. Unless the pressure to act comes from the top, it desists from action. The crackdown on DLF is a case in point.
Recently, SEBI cracked down on India’s biggest realty company, DLF. It barred six of its top executives, including promoter-chairman KP Singh, from entering the securities market for three years. Most critics hailed the judgment. On social media, there were comments that the stock market regulator had finally found its teeth. ml>� / a ; �{� P�� �{� P�� ddle'> 

‘Public participation in government projects is very much possible’


Senior Karnataka IAS officer Bharatlal Meena is known for taking innovative steps. Wherever he has been deployed, he has left deep imprints of his work and innovative thinking. Now he is Principal Secretary in the Agriculture Department where he has taken many far-reaching decisions that are going to revolutionise the department in coming days. Venugopalan spoke to him in Bengaluru to know more about his plans. Excerpts:
gfiles: You are known for taking innovative steps for development in a majority of the posts you held. What are the initiatives for which you should be remembered as Principal Secretary, Agriculture?

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Nehruvian economy A rootless wonder!

Jawaharlal Nehru’s flawed economic policies have left a nation finding it difficult to realise its potential even more than 65 years after Independence  

As the first Prime Minister of independent India, who enjoyed uninterrupted power for 17 long years (1947-64), Jawaharlal Nehru was expected to leave a formidable political, administrative, and economic legacy on which future India was to be built upon. Politically, it should have been strong grassroots democracy based on Panchayati Raj institutions. Administratively, there should have been a paradigm change from a colonial command system to a democratic participatory framework of governance. Economic development should have been people-centred, opting for ‘production by the masses’ instead of ‘mass production’. In all these, Pandit Nehru failed and left a flawed legacy which the country is even now finding difficult to cope with.