There have been at least two similar instances when young IAS officers have dragged their governments and the service into disrepute
Clearly there is a need to relook at the training modules in Mussoorie to ensure that young civil servants do not start their careers on the wrong note. DKB hears that along with some other curriculum shifts, several modules to help young officers stay away from controversies when dealing with the citizenry are in the works now.
Before the mowing down of farmers occupied centrestage, protesting farmers in Haryana forced that state government to order an inquiry into a brutal assault led by Karnal subdivisional magistrate Nishant Kumar Yadav in which several protesters suffered serious injuries, and one died. Though the government and Mr Yadav initially tried to ignore the demand for the officer’s removal, the government eventually relented under sustained pressure from angry farmers. Mr Yadav has now been sent on leave pending the report of a judicial inquiry. The episode has been condemned by the IAS Association.
This, however, was not an isolated case. There have been at least two similar instances when young IAS officers have dragged their governments and the service into disrepute. A few months ago, Ranbir Sharma, the district collector in Surajpur district of Chhattisgarh, slapped a person, smashed his phone and ordered policemen to beat him. Then there was that widely reported incident in Tripura where district magistrate S.K. Yadav, a 2013-batch IAS officer, disrupted a wedding ceremony and thrashed the guests for flouting night curfew.
Such episodes have made senior officials wonder whether something is lacking in the training that IAS recruits receive before starting their career. Babus are meant to be a bridge between the public and the government, and such highly publicised incidents smear the reputation of the civil service and bring disrepute to even those who are thorough professionals.
Out with the old Swachh Bharat also means cleaning out cobwebs and dust from the sarkari offices. Since mid-September, all government ministries and departments from the Cabinet Secretariat downwards, are on a clean-up drive, focused on disposing of all pending public grievances and complaints and weeding out old, unwanted files along with other obsolete stuff. The exercise was reportedly ordered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba is overseeing the entire operation.
Sources say that the babus are also scrutinising existing rules and old orders that increase the paperwork to find ways to cut the red tape and improve government functioning. The aim is to reduce the maximum time taken for redressal of a complaint from 60 days to 45 days.
So, if you find babus overstretched and fraught you know why. The PM’s deadline for this exercise is October 31 and no babu would want to miss it.
Babu’s repatriation may be Gadkari’s loss While the upcoming UP elections are very much on the BJP’s mind, Bihar is not far behind. This may be the only explanation behind the sudden repatriation of K.K. Pathak, managing director of the National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation to his parent cadre of Bihar. What surprised babu-watchers was that everyone was keenly awaiting the empanelment of the 1990-batch IAS for a secretary-level post at the Centre.
The word is that Mr Pathak, known for his professional integrity and candour, may be of more use to the government in Bihar where the BJP and its ally chief minister Nitish Kumar are not always on the same page on developmental issues. There is growing concern that letting the situation deteriorate in Bihar could damage the BJP’s electoral prospects there.
Sources have informed DKB that Mr Pathak possesses a sound understanding of Bihar’s political dynamics, having succeeded in dealing with the powerful sand and liquor mafias there earlier in his career. But Mr Pathak’s repatriation may well be Nitin Gadkari’s loss. The minister of road transport and highways had reportedly come to depend heavily on Mr Pathak’s competence for the ministry’s most capital-intensive infrastructure projects.
Share a babu experience! Follow dilipthecherian@Twitter.com. Let’s multiply the effect.