Thursday, September 03, 2009
Japanese bureaucrats may no longer be able to practise age-old Amakudari; what’s about Indian retired babus?
WITH anti-bureaucrats party Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) registering a landslide victory in the recent Parliamentary polls in the world’s second largest economic power, senior civil servants in Japan are now in a state of nervousness. The DPJ, which has openly declared that it would bring in more elected representatives to fill up top bureaucratic posts, may end the practice of Amakudari, meaning “descent from heaven” under which Japanese senior bureaucrats take up high-profile positions in the private and public sectors after retirement. The practice is increasingly viewed as corrupt as former officials might have given preferential treatment to their would-be employers in securing key government contracts. The practice, which in a diluted form is practised in various countries including in India, is believed to have helped bringing in government expertise to private entities. But thanks to a number of corruption scandals surfaced in Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe enacted new rules to eradicate amakudari in 2007, but his reforms were termed by critics as toothless. Now DPJ is determined to end this practice. In India too, retired bureaucrats who have worked in ministries such as finance, industry, power and railways are in high demand for taking up plum private sector posts. They have to wait sometime as government regulations don’t allow any retired civil servant taking up a private job within one year of retirement. However, special permissions can be granted if it’s proved that the concerned officer has not handled any file related to his would-be employer during the last three years prior to retirement. The most high profile case of Amakudari in India is that of former finance secretary Ashok Jha who took special permission last year to join as Hyundai India president with a monthly remuneration of about Rs 15 lakh. This is over 15 times of a senior bureaucrat’s salary in India, as even after the implementation of 6th pay Commission recommendations, the cabinet secretary who is the senior-most Indian bureaucrat, receives a gross monthly salary of Rs 80,000! Related stories a) It’s not funny: Japanese bureaucrats get lessons from comedians, posted on June 8, 2009. b) Global cues for Indian Babus: Retired Korean bureaucrats clinch high paying bank jobs, posted on June 10, 2009. c) Japanese bureaucrats face highest ever bonus cuts; Indian babus are still lucky, posted on August 5, 2009. CJI’s office falls under RTI purview: Delhi HC Delhi High Court on Wednesday said that Chief Justice of India was a public authority and is thereby covered under the Right to Information Act (RTI). The Court observed that the information in possession of the CJI is within the purview of the RTI Act and all such information should be disclosed. However, it added that personal information about judges need not be disclosed.