Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tussle between India's Politicos and Administrators!

My thoughts  on the spate of news items on politicians targeting ('punishing') IAS officers-junior as in UP (Ms Durga) as well as senior ones (Ms Sonali Kumar) as in J&K :

1. It is nothing new. Politicians have always wanted the babus to kow-tow to them;
Some have been nice and sweet about this expectation and mesmerized the bureaucrats into licking their boots (like JN) and some have done this in a crass manner (Laalu reportedly, in his hey days used to refer to the state Police head as "Darogaaji" and his chief secretary as "Badaa Babu"). Akhilesh in his brash young style is only the latest to join this club of arrogant politicians. Keeping the IAS officers on a leash without them realizing it or even penalizing them for angering the master, is an art. By the sheer fact that it has been in power for so long, the Congress has perfected this into a fine art. (which is why little is heard about the way the IAS officer one Mr Khemka, who took on 'Raabert' and his land deals!), The others are still learning this art and Ms Durga is only one of the victims of that learning process.

2. Apart from a handful of honest officers - and I don't know all the facts or other incidents in her life to say with 100% certainty that Ms Durga is one of this rare breed --the majority of civil servants are happy to be cozy with the politicos and live in an exclusive "Club of Mutual Back Scratchers!" ( This term CMBS :Copyright JRR-2013).

3. Taking a 20,000 foot view of the whole system, I look upon this as just one part of the food chain making a huge song and dance about what is essentially an aberratiion. The Civil Servants themselves are known to lord it over their lesser cousins and definitely ride rough over the masses of people in their care. I have been BM of an SBI Branch in a District HQ town (20 yrs ago) and know first-hand how exclusive these guys are. They pull no punches in pulling up people lower down the food chain for say not meeting soft loan targets. When professional bankers have found certain loans non-viable and refuse to make the loans in order to protect their depositors' interests, these ladies and gentlemen - probably misguided by fear or greed about their next promotion - arm twisted the bankers into making the loans as if it was their 'baap ka paisa'! As a common man, even getting into the SDM or DMs office is an achievement- leave alone getting one's grievance heard or attended to.

4. The media is as usual having a ball in the whole drama. When has the media run a sustained campaign backing the rare honest IAS officer? They cover whatever is topical and trending and as soon as the next not potato comes along they abandon any issue.

Disclaimer:  This is only a frustrated view of the dismal state of affairs! In no way am I suggesting that what happened to Ms Durga is right. I am only saying that it is part of a larger malaise in the system.  There are two reasons I did not join the IAS. Firstly I did not want to kow-tow to a 4th class pass minister. Secondly, I did not make the grade in the second stage of the Main Exam. Thank God for that!