Suhaib Ilyasi : People’s power A sweeping change ahead?

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The stunning win of the AAP in Delhi Assembly elections is the victory of common people’s belief that there is hope against darkness. The party’s victory has put the common man back to the centre-stage of politics from the margins to which he had been relegated. As Arvind Kejriwal began his new journey into politics from the same Ramlila Grounds where his NGO, India Against Corruption, had declared war against the corrupt, Bureaucracy Today tracked the historic moment and paused to feel the pulse of the aam aadmi, who after being fed up with a string of scams and the ever escalating cost of the humble onion — a staple in every household– went for the broom.

In a shocking revelation, our Cover Story brings to Bureaucracy Today readers the explosive report of how the CBI, which is probing the irregularities committed by GAIL officials by allegedly favouring six private companies and causing a Rs 246.16 crore loss to the exchequer, in its preliminary enquiry report conveniently ignores the role of senior management of the company and small officials and private companies are made accused in the corruption case. During the CBI investigation, it came to light that the crucial file no. 87360 which has decisive and essential evidences of the alleged connivance of the top management officials in the crime is missing.  However, a tip-off by an anonymous GAIL official to BT indicates that the file is not missing but lying with the company officials. It seems that more skeletons will tumble out from the country’s leading natural gas major’s closet following this BT investigative report. Bureaucracy Today is keeping a close watch on the developments and will update its readers about them in detail in its forthcoming editions.

Also in this issue we have an investigative report on how government subsidised foodgrains meant for the downtrodden are being siphoned off by greedy hands along the way in Bihar’s Bhojpur district. A Bihar-based freelance investigative journalist, who did a sting operation of the scam, trusted Bureaucracy Today and contacted us for a platform to break the multi-crore scam.

BT Special Report focuses on the new DoPT rules which made it mandatory for State Civil Services officers to face a UPSC test and an interview for promotion to the IAS. The All India Federation of State Civil/Administrative Service Associations has protested the proposed move, saying it is against public interest and will take away the legitimate right of the most experienced and seasoned SCS officers to get promotion to the IAS after serving the State sincerely and diligently for years together. The IAS lobby is silent on the issue though.
Suhaib Ilyasi
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Haryana govt transfers 14 IAS, 31 senior IPS

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In a major administrative reshuffle, the Haryana government on October 28 transferred 14 IAS and 31 senior police officers, including 27 IPS.

The 14 IAS officers includes Deputy Commissioners of nine districts.

Ram Niwas, awaiting order of posting, has been posted as Financial Commissioner and Principal Secretary Development and Panchayats Department. Jhajjar DC Chander Parkash has been posted as Secretary, Haryana Board of School Education, Bhiwani in place of Shekhar Vidyarthi, who is the new Deputy Commissioner of Yamunanagar in place of Sameer Pal Srow.

Bhiwani DC CR Rana becomes Special Secretary to Health Department and Mission Director, NRHM and Commissioner of Food and Drugs Administration in place of Rakesh Gupta, who becomes Deputy Commissioner, Faridabad.

Kaithal DC Amneet P Kumar will be new HUDA Administrator, Faridabad vice Ajit Balaji Joshi will be the new Jhajjar DC. The transferred police officers include IGPs of Karnal, Rohtak and Hisar Range and SPs of Rewari, Hisar, Faridabad and Gurgaon.

War on the waves: IIS vs IAS

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A demotivated and disheartened manpower can bring the mightiest of the organizations down. Similar is the case with the organizations manned by Indian Information Service (IIS) officers. In spite of being inducted by the UPSC the credence given to this particular civil service cadre is hardly visible. The issues such as stagnation of IIS officers and inattentive cadre management by the Ministry have led to high attrition rates. It seems the Government of India is sleeping over the sweeping changes taking place in the media world.

It was at least a decade ago when the Expenditure Reforms Commission, constituted in 2000, had shown red flags to most of the media units under the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. The Commission, chaired by former Finance Secretary KP Geethakrishnan, categorically suggested either closure or disinvestment of most of the media units. We are at loss to understand why did not the Commission put its finger on the real cause of the poor state of affairs in government managed media organizations i.e. the low morale of IIS officers. The commission should have recommended reforms rather than suggesting their closure or disinvestment Even when Bureaucracy Today was talking to IIS officers on the issue, members of another service under the controlling authority of I & B Ministry, Indian Broadcasting Service, echoed the same sentiments which, to our utter shock, are even worse than those of IIS officers who have been waiting for promotion for 28 years. Since 1964 the IIS has seen only three cadre reviews. It seems the Ministry is having hard time managing cadres under it. The non-performance of media unit can be attributed to an extent to the discouraging prospects that IIS officers face during their career which gets translated into overlapping of functions. Whether Government communication schemes reach the target audience is debatable.

Can the Ministry explain to the nation the rationale behind IAS preference for post of DG, Doordarshan? An IAS officer is indeed a great administrator but not necessarily trained to understand and execute the finer nuances of programming and broadcasting. I am told by an officer in Doordarshan that most of the time, IAS bosses fail to take a call on crucial issues pending on their table. By the time an IAS officer gets trained to handle peculiar issues of broadcasting he is sent out to do other great things in the Government. This is exactly the reason of poor performance of Doordarshan, he revealed. The damage is visible. When the world is waiting for India to make its presence feel in world organizations, the Indian Government is still grappling with fixing problems in its communication network and with its human resource. Former Principal DG S Narendra puts vital questions on the issue to Bureaucracy Today: “Can an IIS cadre review incorporate the philosophy of PSC as an inclusive growth instrument? Can it win support for retaining and strengthening the government media system, not as a despised publicity outfit but as a people’s instrument for greater access to PSC and participatory communication befitting a great democracy? India is lucky to have an effective Government media system; save it for people’s sake, not for saving the IIS alone. Let not a cadre review retain irrelevant units. Once retained they must restate their mission for enforcing accountability and embrace state-of-the-art media and communication technologies and practices.”

Are the stakeholders listening?

Suhaib Ilyasi