Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Vinay Mohan Kwatra: PM’s new OSD, his fluency in Hindi and understanding of economy and terrorism

IT WAS July 2014. Prime Minister Narendra Modi needed interpreters with fluency in Hindi, as he was to leave for Brazil via Germany to attend the BRICS summit. A 1988 batch IFS officer -- Vinay Mohan Kwatra, who was then posted in MEA on counter-terrorism desk, reportedly created a pool of Hindi-speaking diplomats who could double up as interpreters. On Tuesday, the government appointed Kwatra as an officer on special duty (OSD) in Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) with a direction to the cabinet secretary that…

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

8% growth, rationalization of Central schemes, appointment of bank CMDs – what top 3 finance ministry secretaries had to say

Adhia (left), Watal during the press meet
FINANCE ministry top bureaucrats on Monday talked about the health of Indian economy: A possible 8% growth, government’s role in passing over benefits of RBI’s soft monetary policy, 5% fall in direct tax collection, rationalization of Central schemes and revamping the process of selection of directors, CMDs of public sector banks, among others. The bureaucrats who participated in the press meet included finance secretary and 1978 batch IAS Ratan P Watal, DEA secretary and 1980 batch IAS Shaktikanta Das, revenue secretary and 1981 batch IAS Hasmukh Adhia, Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) Arvind Subramanian, among others. Here are 10 things which the top North Block bureaucrats had to say:

Monday, October 05, 2015

This retired IAS narrates Tamil Nadu’s Make in India; 5 observations

Sitharam Gurumurthi is a 1972 batch Tamil Nadu cadre retired IAS who was closely associated with the loan negotiations with the IMF during 1991-92 when India had faced a serious balance of payments crisis. In fact, Gurumurthi was then a staff member with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington DC (1989-92). In a recent article published in a business daily, The Hindu Business Line, Gurumurthi talks about Tamil Nadu’s Make in India which has primarily been driven by its thriving automobile industry. Here are 5 observations of the retired IAS, among others, about the Chennai chapter of Make in India:

Friday, October 02, 2015

Centre issues a clarification on where to book air tickets for LTC journeys

THE Centre has issued a fresh clarification about the procedure for booking air-tickets for LTC journeys after it has observed that various ministries and departments continue to send references to DoPT seeking relaxation regarding the booking of air tickets for the purpose of LTC from unauthorized travel agents. The recent office memorandum reminds an earlier order (June 19, 2014), where it was said that the government employees need to book air tickets directly from the…

Thursday, October 01, 2015

New Gyms to be set up in Central govt ministries to reduce "sick leaves"; separate time slots for women

The Gym at the IAS Academy in Mussoorie
IN A new initiative meant for improving physical fitness of the government employees, the Centre on Wednesday rolled out a scheme to set up new gymnasiums, and replace old equipment of the existing ones in all Central government departments and ministries. As the DoPT in its office memorandum (OM) dated September 30 said, constant work stress and frustration lower productivity, and hence newly set-up gymnasiums are expected to...

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Vacancy in Manila: Govt looks for a suitable officer as senior adviser to ED in Asian Development Bank

FOR officers at the rank of joint secretaries, here is a vacant post in Manila, Philippines. Yes, the Central government has been looking for the suitable candidate for the post of senior adviser to Executive Director (ED) in Asian Development Bank (ADB). The DoPT in a letter addressed to union secretaries and state chief secretaries (dated September 29, 2015), said, the government would prefer such a candidate who has experiences in...

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Will new civil service exam syllabus checkmate engineering students? 10 observations

UPSC Toppers: What backgrounds are they from?
IF THE union personnel minister and MoS in PMO Jitendra Singh’s remarks on Sunday are interpreted, there is a possibility that the government may go in for a more level-playing field for the students belonging to arts and commerce vis-à-vis engineering students in future civil services examinations. While interacting with a group of civil services aspirants in New Delhi on Sunday, minister Singh talked about the allegation that the present syllabus and pattern of civil services/IAS examinations tend to benefit students from mathematics and engineering backgrounds. Here are 10 observations about preparation for the new syllabus:

Monday, September 28, 2015

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, his IAS father, Naxalism and “dead revolutionaries of Srikakulam”

Nadella while listening to PM Modi at San Jose, California
EVERYONE knows who Satya Nadella is. No prize for guessing it. He is the CEO of Microsoft. But some of you may be unaware of a factoid -- Nadella is the son of an IAS officer named BN Yugandhar. Yugandhar, a 1962 batch IAS had trained and influenced many officers including former foreign secretary Nirupama Rao in Mussoorie academy. Later he became a member of Planning Commission of India, now called NITI Aayog. On Saturday night, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the Digital India dinner at San Jose of Silicon Valley, Nadella referred to an incident of Naxalism that he…

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Mega IFS Reshuffle: Akbaruddin new Indian envoy to UN; Vijay Gokhale to be Indian ambassador to China

Diplomat Akbaruddin trying a selfie with PM Modi (File Photo)
IN A major reshuffle, a number of diplomats are set to take up new assignments. Many a key mission such as Beijing, London, Moscow, Islamabad and Tokyo will now have new diplomats at the helm. Here are the 12 diplomats and their new postings:

Friday, September 25, 2015

Can ill-health of a one-year-old daughter be a reason for inter-cadre deputation of an IAS? Govt says “no”

ILL health of a one-year-old daughter of an IAS officer can’t be a reason for the officer’s inter-cadre deputation, a meeting chaired by DoPT secretary Sanjay Kothari has concluded. The case is regarding 2010 batch Manipur cadre IAS Shyam Lal Poonia’s request for an inter-cadre deputation to Rajasthan, his home state. The officer applied for inter-cadre deputation on the grounds of “ill health of his one year and two months old daughter”. The committee was further informed that the wife of the officer is…