Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Another Subba Rao to move to North Block; set to take mantle as all-powerful Establishment Officer

TWO years after Duvvuri Subbarao, 1972 batch IAS topper and then finance secretary left the North Block to proceed for Mint Road in Mumbai, yet another Subba Rao is soon joining the other side of the North Block housing the personnel ministry. IV Subba Rao, a 1979 batch Andhra Pradesh cadre IAS, has been appointed as the Establishment Officer in place of PK Mishra who recently took over as steel secretary.
The EO is an influential officer in the DoPT as he reports to cabinet secretary and is largely responsible for transfers, postings etc. of most IAS officers. The EO also acts as a secretary to Appointments Committee of Cabinet which is headed by the Prime Minister.
A post graduate in English literature, Subba Rao had an earlier innings in Central deputation in 1990s when he worked in the ministries like chemical and fertilizers and human resource development.
Subba Rao was a newsmaker during 2009 general and assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh when as the chief electoral officer, he successfully conducted the mega show. Media reports say that he was instrumental in the transfer of the Director General of Police ahead of the polls.

BoI Extraa…
Guess what US Prez Obama is telling Ambassador Shankar
This is a recent picture of Ambassador Meera Shankar with President Obama at the Iftar party at the White House on August 13, 2010. Ms Shankar seems to be attentive, yet nervous. None of us know what Obama is trying to explain to the Ambassador. You are welcome to guess it and post your comments. You can also write to us at

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"Prof" Pujari is India’s new DGFT

Dr Anup K Pujari, a full-time bureaucrat and part-time Harvard professor, is India’s new DGFT (Director General of Foreign Trade). A 1980 batch Karnataka cadre IAS, Dr Pujari, who had an earlier innings in foreign trade between June 2000 to May 2003 as Additional DGFT, is now back as its Director General.
Those who know him well will tell you how the man handling World Bank and ADB in the ministry of finance hardly uses the red light outside his ground floor corner room of the North Block. Hailing from Orissa, Pujari, the suave and soft-spoken officer was also in Election Commission of India, and had earlier served as Managing Director of Mysore Sugar Co Ltd and Karnataka Food and Civil Supplies Corporation Ltd.
Born in 1956, Pujari is a post-graduate from the University of Boston, and is a doctorate in economics. On a number of occasions, he took up short-duration teaching assignments at the University of Harvard which in turn allowed him to interact with some of the young brilliant minds from across the world.
As the global economy has just recovered from the lows, and India is setting ambitious export targets, Pujari’s innings as DGFT is set to be keenly watched.

Mayawati’s transfer raj forces 1982 batch IAS to resign
Dr Raju Sharma, a 1982 batch Uttar Pradesh cadre IAS officer, has resigned following his three-time transfers in two months, according to media report. A post graduate in physics and a doctorate in public administration, Sharma had a long innings (2002-2008) in the National Authority of Chemical Weapons Convention under the cabinet secretariat. Since his joining back to the cadre, Sharma was first posted as principal secretary Basic Education, then got him transferred to higher education department in the same capacity. Within a few days, he was transferred to the Revenue Board as member (judicial).
Also Read

Monday, September 27, 2010

POWER GAMES: What’s if principal secretary to PM TKA Nair is made a Governor?

THE talks in the Raisina Hills last weekend were not just confined to hits and misses in the preparation of the Commonwealth Games. Babus picked up the phone even on Sunday to find out whether it’s just a rumour or news that principal secretary to PM, TKA Nair would be moved out of the power corridor and made Governor of Madhya Pradesh after the Commonwealth Games. If Nair, who has been playing a key role in the PMO, is sent for a gubernatorial position in the same way as former national security advisor M K Narayanan was sent a few months ago, the bigger speculation is who would replace Nair in New Delhi’s power epicenter? 
The speculations got intensified when a national newspaper whose editor had a stint in PMO earlier, published a report in its front page on Sunday that Nair is likely to be appointed Governor of Madhya Pradesh and former Chief Election Commissioner Naveen Chawla, who is reportedly close to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, may become Governor of Rajasthan.
If that turns out to be true, former cabinet secretary and Planning Commission Member BK Chaturvedi who enjoys a close rapport with the Prime Minister could be a top contender for the post of principal adviser to PM. But there would be much more action in Raisina Hills if PM chooses his new blue eyed boy and incumbent cabinet secretary KM Chandrasekhar for the post. If PM’s assigning of key Games responsibilities to Chandrasekhar and the latter’s serial extension as the cabinet secretary are any indication, Prime Minister may reserve this high-profile slot to Chandrasekhar too. Mind it, PM himself is a strong believer of continuity.
But if Chandrasekhar is picked up for this coveted post, the next question that comes is who will be the cabinet secretary? Despite World Bank ED and 1974 batch Uttar Pradesh cadre Pulok Chatterjee is close to 10 Janpath, his elevation as cabinet secretary at this juncture would mean superceding of a large number of seniors IAS particularly finance secretary and 1973 batch Gujarat cadre IAS Ashok Chawla who is retiring only on January 31, 2011. (Read: Pulok Chatterjee as the Most Powerful Bureaucrat of 2009)
So, who knows if PM chooses Pulok Chatterjee, who as secretary in the PMO played a key role during UPA-I, as his principal secretary? But who then will be the top contenders for India’s next cabinet secretary once Chandrasekhar retires in June next year? Clearly, at this stage there are more questions than definitive answers. 
Also Read
Bureaucrats as Governors
Bong age in Raisina Hills could be in offing 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Power Corridors witness a week of two strong Chandrasekhars – KM and Rentala

IT WAS KM Chandrasekhar because he was undoubtedly the man of the moment in the last-minute fight to virtually save the Commonwealth Games. As a few participating nations strongly objected to the hygiene condition of the Games Village and termed the living condition as “filthy”, PM banked not on any minister, but on his B-team (Bureaucrats’ team) headed by cabinet secretary and 1970 batch Kerala cadre IAS, KM Chandrasekhar. No wonder, PM cut short his cabinet colleague and sports minister MS Gill when the latter wanted to give a presentation about the progress of the work.
Cabinet secretary specially directed his officers to hold briefing for heads of foreign missions and Press Information Bureau for foreign and Indian media about issues related to hygiene, delays and other glitches associated with the Games. The clean-up work in the Games village was done in a war-footing and everyone including those foreign missions which severely criticized the preparation only a few days ago, came out in public to say “Woh”!
That KM Chandrasekhar was the “real boss” was also indicated when Commonwealth Games Federation president Mike Fennell was asked to meet him. Fennell who was reportedly denied an appointment with the Prime Minister had a one-and-half hour long meeting with the cabinet secretary on Friday. At the direction of the cabinet secretary, all heads of missions and chiefs of bureaus of newspapers are likely to be taken to various venues on Saturday to counter the negative publicity.
The other Chandrasekhar that turned a newsmaker this week was Rentala Chandrashekhar, a 1975 batch Andhra Pradesh cadre IAS, who formally assumed charge as the secretary in the Department of Telecommunications, a post which was held by him in addition to his substantive charge of secretary, department of information technology. A post graduate in chemistry and computer technology, R Chandrasekhar had earlier served as joint secretary in the ministries like commerce and defence.
Also Read
KM Chandrasekhar as India's Most Powerful Bureaucrat
BoI list of India's 5 Most Powerful Bureaucrats

Friday, September 24, 2010

Bureaucrats brainstorm the future of outcome-oriented civil services

WILL outcome-based civil service be a reality in India? Senior bureaucrats from across the country have gathered in New Delhi on Friday to debate over the future of outcome-oriented civil services. This debate is one of the three plenary sessions being held today as a part of the conference of secretaries of administrative reforms of the states and union territories. The other topics to be discussed include implementation of ARC recommendations pertaining to the states in respect of the 12th Report, citizen-centric administration. The administrative reforms secretaries will give their presentations during the conference which will be inaugurated by minister of state (PMO and PP) Prithviraj Chavan.

Two senior Bihar IAS on long study leave
Santosh Mathew, a 1985 batch Bihar cadre IAS and principal secretary in the department of rural development has gone on a 94 days leave. According to a media report, Matthew is pursuing his PhD at his own cost in a foreign university. A postgraduate in economics, Mathew had a stint at the Centre at the rank of a deputy secretary at DoPT. He had also served as a professor at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA). 
Also, Bandana Preyasi (In Picture), a 2003 batch IAS, has gone to UK on a three months study leave from September 25. Preyasi, an alumnus of Delhi’s St Stephens college is an MA and M Phil in English literature. She came in news when as a sub-divisional officer (SDO) of Barh, she locked the foodgrain godown of don-turned-ruling Janata Dal (United) MLA Anant Singh alias 'Chhote Sarkar'. She also served as Bhgalpur’s DM. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Planning Commission bureaucrats watch Peepli Live before brainstorming 12th five-year plan

CALL it a reel plan. Two days ago, senior officials of the Planning Commission came out of their mundane life of preparing what is often perceived as “boring” plan documents to actually enjoy a movie inside the Yojana Bhawan that houses India’s official think tank. Top plan honchos including deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Member Secretary Sudha Pillai, a 1972 batch retired IAS, Members such as Arun Maira and Sayeeda Hamid enjoyed Aamir Khan produced Bollywood film Peepli Live, a satire on farmers’ suicide and inefficiency of development programmes. It remains to be seen whether it would have nay impact on the plan panel bureaucrats who are formulating the draft Approach Paper of the 12th five year plan (20012-17).
After the special screening, Ahluwalia spoke with the reporters to say how important it was to watch a movie that talks about the perception of people on the development programmes. Sometime ago, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh himself watched the movie and praised it during his interaction with newspaper editors.
It was the debut movie for TV journalist turned filmmaker Anusha Rizvi who went out of the way to depict the Great Indian Political and Bureaucratic Tamasha with her humour-laced script and earthy lingo. Will other ministries too initiate special screening of movies which have social relevance.
Disclaimer: The photograph used is imaginary, not real.

UPSC now encourages online applications
As part of its e-governance initiative, Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has introduced the system of online submission of applications for the competitive examinations it conducts. An increasingly good number of candidates have already started applying online for the UPSC examinations notified during 2010. Although this facility is in addition to the option of submitting paper applications already available, the prospective candidates are encouraged to prefer online mode of applying for the UPSC examinations using the link, according to a government release.
Also Read

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Stray dogs inside “filthy” Games Village apartments raise doubts whether PM’s B-team under KM Chandrasekhar is in-charge or not

ABOUT a month ago, BoI ( hailed Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s decision to take out his trump card – an army of 10 IAS officers under cabinet secretary KM Chandrasekhar – to manage the Commonwealth Games, and termed the move as the “biggest ever victory of Indian bureaucracy during the last one decade”. But Tuesday’s incident of participating countries like Canada and New Zealand objecting to “filthy” and “unhygienic” atmosphere of the Games Village, has raised doubts about effectiveness of PM’s B-team (Bureaucrats’ team), or at least whether they are in full control of the situation despite making them “empowered” by the last month’s PMO order. The question here is whether it’s just Suresh Kalmadi and Co which should be held accountable for the national shame of the Games Village being not cleaned till hours before athletes arrive in Delhi? Shouldn’t the high-profile bureaucrats who are in-charge of the Games village be also blamed when stray dogs are reportedly spotted on the beds of those swanky apartments meant for the use of international players? 
After various countries raised alarm over the “filthy” atmosphere, Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) chief Michael Fennell still chose to dash off a letter to the Union cabinet secretary KM Chandrasekhar asking for immediate action, indicating the fact that cabinet secretary is still in-charge of the event’s last minute preparedness.
Meanwhile, a team of bureaucrats under Lt Governor of Delhi reviewed the Games Village on Tuesday and recommended a few measures including enhancing the manpower and resources for cleaning and maintenance of apartments, and deputing one dedicated officer each from the Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Civil Service for each of the 34 towers of the Games Village. Those bureaucrats who were part of the review included principal secretary to Prime Minister TKA Nair, cabinet secretary KM Chandrasekhar, chief secretary of Delhi Rakesh Mehra and vice-chairman of DDA Ashok Kumar among others.
Also Read

Action and Appointments
a) Usha Mathur, a 1974 batch IRAS has been appointed as secretary, ministry of Parliamentary Affairs in the vacancy of Anil Kumar, a 1973 batch UP cadre IAS. Prior to this appointment, she was additional Member, Finance in the Railway Board. During her long career, she has handled many finance and general management posts in the Indian Railways. She has also had a stint in the ministry of finance as joint secretary.
b) Nilanjan Sanyal, a 1979 batch Orissa cadre IAS has been appointed as additional secretary in the department of food and public distribution under the ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution, on in-situ elevation basis, with effect from July 28, 2010.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

110,000 Russian bureaucrats to be axed in next 3 years, says finance minister Kudrin

CALL it one of the worst nightmares for bureaucrats in Russia. The government of Russia has announced a plan to cut the number of bureaucrats by whopping 110,000 in the next three years, keeping the bureaucrats guessing --- where the axe would fall. The announcement was made on Monday by none other than Russia’s finance minister Aleksei Kudrin who said the move would save the nation more than $1 billion (or roughly Rs 4,600 crore in Indian currencies), media reports in Russia said.
This is in line with President Dmitry Medvedev’s order in June that the number of civil servants would be reduced by 20 percent.
Under the government’s plan, ministries and agencies will have to sack five percent of their staff in 2011 and 2012, and 10 percent in 2013. Quoting a government commission, the finance minister further said that 1,468 government positions were redundant, 263 duplicated each other and 868 required investigations to find out if they were necessary.
Interestingly, during the last three years, 20,000 bureaucrats got added to Russia’s federal government, 60,000 in regional governments and 50,000 at municipality level. Russian media reports further quoted a Statistics Committee report to say that the total number of federal civil servants in the country amounted to 604,600 in July 2010.

2009 batch IAS reportedly commits suicide
IN A tragic incident, a 33-year-old IAS probationary allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree in the compound of his official quarter at Moti Daman area. J Rajamurugan, a 2009 batch UT cadre IAS, hails from Tamil Nadu. He was discharging his duties for Panchayat elections held at Daman. He has been at Daman only over a month, and has been living in the official residence with his wife. The police has taken up the case for further investigation.

BoI Online Survey
If you have a say on power dynamics of bureaucrats and politicians in India, do participate in on-going Online BoI survey, placed at the top left corner of this page. Air your voice on power equations in Raisina Hills.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cayman Islands’ premier berates bureaucrats; calls them bottlenecks in economic recovery

YOU might have heard of Cayman Islands as a tax haven where there is no income tax, capital gain tax or corporate tax. But no one probably has any idea about Cayman Islands’ high-flying premier McKeeva Bush’s official take on bureaucracy.
Known for taking occasional swipes at his own bureaucracy, McKeeva has recently said that bureaucracy is hampering his efforts to get the country’s economy back on track, local media of this Britain-held island of western Caribbean Sea, said. The premier described the bureaucracy as “silent, passive non-compliance” and a “dragging of feet” when people were opposed to government projects. He further said that bureaucracy has prevented the country from making positive progress.
Significantly, Caymanians have high standard of living as the country’s per capita GDP is 12th highest in the world. The economy of the country is based on tourism and indirect taxation, say import duties.
Of late, bureaucracy bashing has become a global fashion statement for many a global icon including prime ministers of Japan and UK.
(In Picture: Premier McKeeva Bush with a Miss Cayman)
Also Read

DoPT invites nominations for short training programme at Doha
DoPT has invited nominations of mid to senior level Indian officers for attending a 4-day-long Singapore-Qatar Third Country Training Programme (TCTP) on “Managing Public Sector Performance for Excellence”. The programme will be conducted at the Asia-Middle East Dialogue (AME D) Regional Training Centre for Public Administration in Doha from December 12 to 15, 2010. The last date of sending nomination is October 25, 2010.
For details, check the ACTUAL CIRCULAR, dated September 14, 2010

Saturday, September 18, 2010

VN Tripathi takes over as Member Staff, Railway Board; to hold GM post too

VN Tripathi took over as new Member Staff, Railway Board and ex-officio secretary to government of India on Thursday. Prior to joining as Member Staff, Railway Board, Tripathi has been holding the post of General Manager, Eastern Railway. In addition to his new assignment, he will continue to look after the work of General Manager, Eastern Railway for the time being, a railway ministry release said.
An MSc in mathematics from the University of Allahabad, Tripathi joined the Indian Railway Traffic Services (IRTS) in 1974. Among the important posts that he has held so far, included General Manager, Metro Railway, Kolkata and Southern Railway, Chennai, Chief Operations Manager of Western Railway, ADRM/CST (Mumbai), Central Railway and Divisional Railway Manager, Waltair, East Coast Railway. He also held key zonal railway positions such as chief freight traffic manager and senior deputy General Manager in Central Railway.
He has visited many countries like USA, UK, Austria, France and Germany to study their railway systems.

Action and Appointments
a) Tourism secretary RH Khwaja, a 1976 batch Andhra Pradesh cadre IAS received PATA Grand Award from the chairman, PATA, Hiran Cooray, at the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Travel Mart 2010, in Macau on September 17, 2010 (See picture
b) Anand Kumar, a 1984 batch Kerala cadre IAS, and joint secretary in the ministry of tourism, received PATA Gold Award, at the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Travel Mart 2010, in Macau on September 17, 2010.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Nirupama Rao leaves for US to hold talks with American bureaucrats before Obama’s India visit

THE preparation for US president Barack Obama’s visit to Indian in November has officially begun. Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, a 1973 batch IFS, left for the US on Thursday to meet several high-level US officials, including chairman of the Senate on foreign relations committee to discuss about the high-profile visit.
Rao is likely to meet National Secretary Advisor James Jones and Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns. Later Foreign Secretary will join external affairs minister SM Krishna who would reach New York on September 20 to participate in the UN General Assembly. The issue of visa hike and threat to outsourcing to India are likely to figure during the US visit of the foreign secretary. Rao would be aided by her batch-mate and Indian ambassador to US Meera Shankar when she would engage in dialogue with top US officials.
(File Photo: Ambassador Meera Shankar and foreign secretary Nirupama Rao with external affairs minister SM Krishna, in Washington DC on June 2, 2010)

Babus In Demand
Are you an Indian officer at the rank of deputy secretary or director level, but with fairly good knowledge of Tamil language? If you fit the description, you could be a contender for a vacant post in development cooperation wing of Indian High Commission at Colombo. The period of deputation will be three years. An academic background in finance, economics or civil engineering would be desirable. Last date of application is October 15, 2010. Only in August, the government had invited applications for filling up the post of Counsellor, Community Affairs (Development) under the ministry of overseas Indian affairs at Abu Dhabi.

Action and Appointments
a) Mohan Kumar, presently Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of India, Paris, has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Bahrain in succession to Dr George Joseph. He is expected to take up his assignment shortly.
b) Delhi police has registered a case of molestation against a 50-year-old Delhi Metro officer under Sections 354 for allegedly outraging the modesty of a woman colleague, and 509 (making indecent gestures to insult a woman) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). A woman in her mid-30s complained that she was being sexually harassed for the past few months by the DMRC officer, and the accused allegedly sent lewd text messages on her mobile phone.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Moily’s “saints after retirement” comment for bureaucrats echoes a sense of Netagiri

A SEASONED Indian politician and Union law minister M Veerappa Moily’s sarcastic comment about failed bureaucrats becoming saints after retirement, has once again demonstrated the growing tension between politicians and a new breed of outspoken bureaucrats. There have been a number of recent instances in which ministers such as Jairam Ramesh, Dinesh Trivedi and Subodh Kant Sahay have used public platforms to pass adverse remarks on bureaucrats.
For Moily, however, it was not a direct assault as he did not name the bureaucrat he was attacking, though it could be easily inferred that he was referring to former Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) Pratyush Sinha. Sinha recently told a section of media that one-third of Indians are “utterly corrupt”. Moily said that a few top officials could have made a difference in office, but having failed to do so, they become “saints after retirement”. “When I was abroad recently, I came across the comments of a retired bureaucrat who said in a media interview that every third Indian is corrupt,” he said.
Though Moily’s comment has angered many a sitting and retired bureaucrat, all have chosen to remain silent and bury the issue at this stage. But India’s principal opposition party BJP picked up the issue and slammed Moily’s comment. Media reports have quoted BJP spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad saying that a government which “patronises corruption should not shoot the messenger”. 
(In Picture: A night view of Raisina Hills, the hotbed of power politics in India)
BoI Online Survey
If you have a say on power dynamics of bureaucrats and politicians in India, do participate in on-going online BoI survey, placed at the top left corner of this page. Air your voice on power equations in Raisina Hills.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Honest Always Stand Alone: A tribute to power-bureaucrat CG Somaiah

DURING Rajiv Gandhi’s regime in 1980s, Delhi police commissioner Ved Marwah had a “security breach” as his car had reportedly intruded in the route of the visiting Russian Prime Minister. Then home minister Buta Singh almost made up his mind to suspend the senior cop, but it was one influential IAS who persuaded Singh not to punish Marwah. He was CG Somaiah who began his career as an assistant collector in Orissa only to rise up the ladder to become Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
CG Somaiah is no more. Somaiah died in Bangalore on Monday following brief illness. Somaiah, 79, is survived by wife Indira, and one son and a daughter. Incidentally, his daughter Pria (In picture with her father) is married to Nikhil Alva, son of Congress leader and Uttarakhand Governor Margaret Alva.
As the home secretary of the country during Buta Singh’s regime, Somaiah played a key role not only in fighting Punjab terror, but was instrumental in clinching a deal with student leaders from Assam who were agitating against illegal Bangladeshi migrants. He also served as Central Vigilance Commissioner and had a six-year-long tenure as Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
Only two months ago, Somaiah’s book titled, “The Honest Always Stand Alone”, was released in New Delhi by former president APJ Abdul Kalam.
Read About Bureaucrat-writers

Major penalty proceedings against 96 officers
The Central Vigilance Commission advised imposition of major penalty against 96 officers including 15 from MCD, six from ministry of defence, five from ministry of railways, four from government of NCT of Delhi, three each from Central Public Works Department, Department of Education, New Delhi Municipal Corporation and Oriental Bank of Commerce, from Central Board of Excise and Customs etc. The Commission disposed of 1387 cases during July 2010 referred to it for advice. Of these, 1109 complaints were sent for necessary action/ATR whereas 96 complaints were sent for investigation and report. No action was required on 212 complaints.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Despite RTI, governance remains officer-centric rather than citizen-centric, says Moily

THE government has acknowledged that a large number of Indian populace including those in urban India are not aware of Right To Information (RTI), and the governance is still remaining officer-centric rather than citizen centric, as policy makers have gathered in New Delhi to deliberate on prospects of RTI in a two-day conference.
While inaugurating the convention, Union minister of law and justice Veerappa Moily said there is a need to put in place a mechanism by preventing the abuse of RTI Act. He was referring to the instances of attacks on RTI activists including the murder of Amit Jethwa, an environmentalist in Gujarat, and Satish Shetty, an activist in Maharashtra.
The Minister further said that the whistleblowers and RTI activists are instrumental in furthering the cause of transparency and they need adequate protection. He asserted that the Whistleblower Bill (The Public Interest Disclosure and Protection to Persons making the Disclosure Bill) would be taken up the Parliament during the winter session.

1977 batch IAS Subhash Kumar appointed Uttarakhand chief secretary
Subhash Kumar, a 1977 batch IAS has been appointed as the new chief secretary of Uttarakhand. Kumar, who was the additional chief secretary in the state, has been given the charge replacing NS Napalchyal. A post graduate in political science and a certificate holder of Tibetan studies, Kumar has never been in Central deputation.
Meanwhile, Kumar’s batch-mate and a cabinet secretary hopeful Ajay Joshi, who was recently transferred to Nainital as the Director General of the Administrative Training Institute (ATI), has challenged his transfer order in CAT.

Workshop on designing Sevottam compliant citizen’s charters begins
The second workshop on designing and implementing Sevottam Compliant Citizen’s Charters and Grievances Redress Mechanism has begun in New Delhi on Tuesday. The two-day workshop was inaugurated by the cabinet secretary KM.Chandrasekar. Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances in collaboration with Performance Management Division of cabinet secretariat with consultancy support from FICCI Quality Forum is organizing these workshops for 62 ministries or departments to facilitate them in achieving the Sevottam compliance success indicators under RFD. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

RTI convention to work out modalities to get information in PPP projects

ONE of the very few things no Indian bureaucrat can afford to avoid these days is a new development on Right to Information (RTI). With the fifth convention on RTI beginning in New Delhi on Monday, the officers of various cadres are waiting to find what is in store next.
The two-day RTI conference is likely to discuss among others the ways of using RTIs in Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects. The convention, to be inaugurated by Union minister of law and justice Veerappa Moily, will also discuss responsibility of political leadership in promoting RTI, the role of media and civil societies and use of RTI in Unique Identification Project among others.
The technical sessions of the convention, which are being attended by delegation from SAARC countries, will be chaired by AN Tiwari, IC, CIC, Jaswant Singh, MP, Lok Sabha, Wajahat Habibullah, Chief IC, CIC and Ms Mrinal Pandey, chairperson, Prasar Bharti. The Central Information Commission has been organizing the annual convention every year since 2006.

CAG to inaugurate international training programme for 45 audit officers
Vinod Rai, a 1972 batch IAS officer and Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India will inaugurate the 96th International Training Programme on ‘Performance Audit’ at C and AG Office, New Delhi on Monday. The training programme will be attended by 45 participants from 36 nations. Georgia is a new country for this programme.
In fact, 95 international training programmes have been organized so far and 2,815 middle and senior level officers from Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) of 121 countries of Africa, Central Asia, South East Asia, Far East, Middle East, Pacific and East European region have participated in these training programmes. Most of the trainees are funded under Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) and Special Commonwealth Assistance for Africa Programme (SCAAP) and Colombo Plan.

An international police meet to begin in Kochi on Nov 3
A major international police conference is beginning on Kochi from November 3, 2010. About 120 delegates from countries like USA, Canada, UK, South Africa and Germany are expected to participate in the mega meet which will deliberate on community policing initiatives around the world. Kiran Bedi, Dr RK Raghavan and Hormis Tharakan, DGPs and top police officers from different states are expected to participate. It is expected to work out modalities of PPP in policing among others. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thoughts on dealing with fire-breathing monster of bureaucracy

WHAT do you do if a senior police officer finds jobs of many of his team-mates need to be axed because of tightening of budget? Police chief of one of the prominent counties of UK Essex, has resorted to an interesting “motivation speech” when it because apparent that cuts in government financing could render hundreds of policemen jobless.
Police chief of Essex Jim Barker-McCardle said cuts in budget would give senior officers an opportunity to “challenge the way we do things”.
“I do see an opportunity across policing to challenge the way we do things. Police forces will have to rise up like a valiant St George and slay the last breaths of the fire-breathing monster of bureaucracy,” said the police chief according to media reports in UK.
For the record, Greek mythology mentions about a fire-breathing dragon with a hundred heads that never rest.
Essex's policing budget could be cut by £45 million by 2015 which is about one sixth of the current budget.

Friday, September 10, 2010

61,000 port workers and officers to get productivity linked rewards

CALL it party time for about 61,000 port workers and officers. The Central government has approved the payment of Productivity Linked Reward (PLR) at the rate of 17.34 percent of the annual salary to the port workers or officers for the year 2009-10.
Salary of each worker for this purpose will consist of Basic Pay, DA and incentive payments subject to a maximum of Rs 3500 per month. In respect of workers or officers, whose wage or salary exceed Rs 3500 per month, the calculation of payment will be made as if their salary/wage were only Rs.3500 per month.
The move will not have any impact on government exchequer as all expenditure on account of this payment will be borne by the major port trusts from their own resources without any budgetary support from the Government of India.

Cabinet secretary to take stock of Games preparation on Friday
Cabinet Secretary KM Chandrasekhar on Friday will take stock of the progress made in all the works related to the October 3 to 14 Commonwealth Games. All senior IAS of the bureaucrats’ panel will participate in the deliberation to be held in New Delhi. In fact, Prime Minister recently gave his nod in forming a 10-member bureaucrats’ panel headed by KM Chandrasekhar to fix the problems related to the Games. The panel was designated as “empowered” which can overrule the decisions taken by Kalmadi –headed Organization Committee. (Read: Who are the officers in the bureaucrats’ panel). 

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Tax hounds search 40 properties of a hotel group promoted by a former Gujarat cadre IAS

TAX hounds have reportedly searched 40 properties of a hotel and resort group owned by a former Gujarat cadre IAS of 1985 batch and a key player in the state’s power corridor in pre-Narendra Modi era.
According to reports, the Income Tax officials on Wednesday searched 40 establishments of Neesa Group headed by former IAS officer Sanjay Gupta. The searches were conducted in the group’s establishments located in Mumbai, Jaipur, Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad, and few other cities, but details of the seizure are not known as yet.
An IIT engineer from Roorkee, 47-year-old Gupta joined the IAS and handled assignments ranging from secretary of the Gujarat chief minister to Managing Director of Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPCL) and Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Ltd (TCGIL). The Neesa group is now a multi business conglomerate worth Rs 1000 crore with a work force of over 1500. Cambay is the flagship brand of the group.
Gupta left IAS in 2002 to join as CEO (Infrastructure) of Adani Group.

Action and Appointments
a) The suspension order on Avinash Kumar, an IAS officer who was OSD to ex-Jharkhand Governor S S Razi, has been revoked, according to reports. He was suspended following CBI had raided at his residence last year.
b) The government has decided to grant the higher grade of DG in the pay scale of Rs 75500-80000/- to the following officers with effect from April 26, 2010, i.e. the date on which the junior-most officer, namely RN Ravi, IPS (KL-76) took charge of the post of Special Director in IB on 'in-situ' basis:-(i) Mahavir Singh Bali, IPS(UP-76), (ii) Rakesh Jaruhar, IPS(JHK-76), (iii) PC Sabarwal, IPS(UP-76), (iv) Smt. Manjari Jaruhar, IPS(JHK-76), (v) Anirudh Uppal, IPS(HP-76) and (vi) Alaxander Daniel, IPS(UP-76)
c) Justice Jora Singh, Additional Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has been appointed as a Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Cabinet secretary contender PJ Thomas sworn in as CVC; what’s in store for M Ramachandran?

WITH Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s firm backing, telecom secretary PJ Thomas was sworn in as 14th Central Vigilance Commissioner by the President of India in a ceremony held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Tuesday despite BJP’s serious objection to his appointment alleging he has a tainted background. The BJP leaders boycotted the ceremony which was attended by Vice-President of India, Prime Minister, home minister, law minister and minister of state for personnel, public grievances and pensions.
A 1973 batch Kerala cadre IAS, Thomas was instrumental in successful 3G auctions that gave the government a windfall of whopping Rs 67,000 cr. He was also a serious contender for cabinet secretary’s post in May this year when incumbent KM Chandrasekhar was given the second extension marring prospects of Thomas and a few other senior officers including then urban development secretary M Ramachandran and finance secretary Ashok Chawla. It’s believed that PM promised all these contenders important post-retirement government assignments.
With Thomas getting his due with the CVC’s post, it remains to be seen what PM has to offer to Ramachandran. If sources in corridor are to be believed, Ramachandran could be engaged either in National Disaster Management Authority where all Members hold the rank of a minister of state, or even made Delhi metro chief when 78-year-old E Sreedharan retires after the Commonwealth Games. The announcement of the next Delhi Metro chief could come at the end of September, or beginning of October.
For Thomas, who holds a master’s degree in physics and economics, post-mortem of the allegations related to the Commonwealth Games could be the immediate priority.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Junior health minister Dinesh Trivedi continues his tirade against bureaucrats; moots all-India Health Service independent of IAS

IN YET another blast against bureaucrats, Trinamool Congress leader and minister of state for health Dinesh Trivedi said he doubted the efficiency of bureaucrats in his own ministry, and proposed to create a separate cadre for health services. Minister Trivedi’s proposal of an all-India health service is in line with Railways services where officers go up the ladder to reach top positions.
Trivedi who was at the loggerhead with health secretary K Sujatha Rao over a Rs 140-crore health portal, had recently said that college kids would do better than bureaucrats in health ministry. (Read: College kids versus bureaucrats)
Now, Trivedi has publicly demonstrated his displeasure of his own team of bureaucrats. While speaking at industry lobby Ficci in New Delhi on Monday, minister Trivedi, however, added that he had not questioned the sincerity of bureaucrats but had doubts on efficiency of his ministry’s bureaucrats. (Also Read: Trivedi, Rao and Rs 140 cr portal)
So long as Trivedi’s proposal of creating a separate Indian Health Service on the line of Railway services is concerned, it’s not an easy task at all, as such steps would be vehemently opposed by the IAS lobby as it would curb their power. Currently, IAS officers have no control over Indian Railways and postal departments where their own cadres clinch the top posts. There has been a silent movement of 4000-plus IRS-IT officers to reorient their cadre in the line of the Indian Railways, but it’s a Herculean task considering the fact that currently revenue secretary happens to be an IAS whereas CBDT and CBEC chairmen are officers at the rank of special secretaries.
For Trivedi, the proposal seems to be one straight from his heart, as it lacks basic groundwork and a reality check. Sometime ago, HRD ministry too toyed with an idea of creating an Indian Education Service. No wonder, senior bureaucrats of any department for that matter do not attach much importance to the diktats of ministers of states, as they know for sure who ultimately calls the shots in the ministry! Is Trivedi’s serial tirade against his own bureaucrats a fallout of  senior bureaucrats ignoring him?
If you have a say on real-power of bureaucrats vis-à-vis politicians, do participate in BoI’s online survey, placed on the top left corner of this page. Your vote could make it a difference to find out the truth inside corridors of power.

Action and Appointments
a) UN Panjiyar, a 1973 batch Bihar cadre IAS and secretary in the ministry of water resources will hold the additional charge of the post of secretary in ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, for a period of two months with effect from September 1, 2010 or until further orders.
b) Kapil Mohan, a 1990 batch Karnataka cadre, presently working as director in the ministry of power has been appointed as Deputy Director General (DDG), Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) in the rank and pay of joint secretary.
c) The ACC has approved the proposal of the ministry of home affairs for the appointment of RK Medhekar, a 1975 batch Kerala cadre IPS, presently working as special DG, BSF, as Director General, National Security Guard (NSG).

Monday, September 06, 2010

BoI list of 5 Most Powerful Bureaucrats, 2010, is out; 3 IAS, 1 IRS and 1 IFS figure

THE final BoI ( list of 5 Most Powerful Bureaucrats in India, 2010, is out. Based on feedback from over 50 bureaucrats and politicians in corridors of power in Delhi, BoI Team has prepared the list which has three IAS, one IRS and one IFS officer. These bureaucrats, who wield tremendous power and have capacity to influence key government decisions, have derived their power not because of the posts they hold, but thanks to their proactive and at times controversial way of pushing matters ahead. In corridors of power, you can criticize each one of them for some decision or the other, but you can’t simply ignore any one of them. Welcome to the world of power babus.

No 1: KM Chandrasekhar
The Prime Minister’s recent decision to bestow overriding power to cabinet secretary KM Chandrasekhar-headed committee to monitor Commonwealth Games is just one of many instances of how “soft spoken”, “non-interfering” and “mild” Cab Sec has asserted himself during the last one year as the most powerful bureaucrat in India. His serial extension as India’s top bureaucrat even at the cost of making new rules and causing heartburns to his juniors, has vindicated his clout in the government and demonstrated PM’s growing confidence on him. (Read: Why is Chandrasekhar powerful?)

No 2: TKA Nair
A 1963 batch retired IAS, working as principal secretary to PM since May 2004, TKA Nair, is ranked No 2 in the BoI’s ( list of 5 Most Powerful Bureaucrats second time in a row. From managing crisis for the Prime Minister, meeting ministers on behalf of the PM to taking the viewpoints of top corporate honchos on all policy matters, Nair is still the man of the moment in PMO. (Read: Nair as Henry Kissinger style bureaucrat)

No 3: GK Pillai
Union home secretary GK Pillai is quite assertive, vocal and even non-diplomatic at times when questions of internal security become a priority. Pillai, a 1972 batch Kerala cadre IAS, is ranked 3rd in BoI’s list of 5 Most Powerful Bureaucrats, 2010. Pillai and his boss P Chidambaram are now gearing up for a fool-proof security arrangement for the biggest sporting extravaganza in India, the Commonwealth Games. For Pillai, Games provide an opportunity to make him a true game-changer. (Read: Is Pillai a game-changer?)

No 4: Sudhir Chandra
When 400 taxmen carried out a massive search operation across properties of former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda last year to trace his Rs 2000 cr allegedly unaccounted assets, a tax hound sitting at his North Block office was instructing everybody how to be extremely polite in handling the operation, but at the same time be as courageous as “Rani of Jhansi”. Sudhir Chandra, Member, Investigation of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) is the 4th Most Powerful Bureaucrat in the list, and undoubtedly the most surprising candidate. But he is the driving force for making IRS no-lesser mortal in front of IAS. (Read: What makes Sudhir Chandra a powerful bureaucrat?)

No 5: Nirupama Rao
Indian foreign secretary Nirupama Rao, the second woman IFS officer to clinch that coveted post, is suave, polite and as the profession demands “highly diplomatic”. For over one year now, she has been instrumental in motivating her colleagues to act like economic ambassadors of the nation and paint a good image of the country. Her firefighting in GK Pillai’s “ISI remark” episode which had resulted into the collapse of India-Pakistan foreign minister level talks, was the most remarkable during the recent time. She walked across the road to North Block to have a cup of tea with Pillai demonstrating real-diplomacy inside Raisina Hills! 

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Tamil Nadu government revokes suspension order of 1990 batch IAS C Umashankar

A 1990 batch Tamil Nadu cadre IAS C Umashankar, whose suspension created a political divide in the state, got a reprieve as the state government on Thursday revoked the suspension order. Former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa openly defended the suspended IAS and the state BSP went one step ahead in resorting to postering in the cities in solidarity of the suspended IAS.
Umashankar was suspended on the charge of furnishing false information to obtain his community certificate. He has been posted as managing director of the Tamil Nadu Small Industries Corporation (Tansi). A government order said that as an inquiry had already been initiated against him, the government "has considered, and revokes the suspension of C Umashankar, with effect from the afternoon of September 2, 2010".
Also Read

Action and Appointments
a) Pradeep Kumar Misra, a 1976 batch Uttar Pradesh cadre IAS, has taken over as secretary in the ministry of steel. Earlier, Misra was Special Secretary and Establishment Officer in the ministry of personnel and training. (Read about PK Mishra)
b) Shamhu Singh, a 1986 batch Manipur-Tripura cadre IAS has been appointed as joint secretary in the ministry of home affairs.
c) The Appointments Committee of Cabinet has approved the proposal for extension of inter cadre deputation of Chitrangad, a 1996 batch Uttarakhand cadre IPS from Uttarakhand to Uttar Pradesh for further period of one year beyond August 25, .2010.
d) The competent authority has approved that Syamal Kumar Sarkar, a 1979 batch West Bengal cadre IAS, additional secretary, Department of Personnel and Training will hold the additional charge of the post of Establishment Officer and Additional Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training, for a period of three months with effect from September 1, 2010.

Manmohan Singh and 86 lucky officers
Woh! The Union Service Public Commission (UPSC) has recommended 87 candidates from Civil Services Examination, 2008 for appointments. Guess who has figured in the list? The last person who has been selected is incidentally “Man Mohan Singh”. 

Friday, September 03, 2010

PillaiSpeak: Home secretary’s “paragliders” remark in a Canadian newspaper draws international media attention

HOME secretary GK Pillai’s reported remark that militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba had bought “as many as 150 paragliders” from China and the Gulf to launch attack during the Commonwealth Games, has attracted Western media’s attention. The Canadian newspaper, The Star, which broke the story, mentioned how Pillai said in an interview on Tuesday that “it’s very worrisome” that the paragliders were bought to launch airborne attacks on athletes, tourists and visiting politicians at the Commonwealth Games.
The paper has further elaborated how paragliders are controlled by a pilot who’s suspended on a harness under a special controllable parachute. Modern paragliders can travel as many as 500 kilometres and stay in the air for up to 11 hours.
An Wall Street Journal item, in an analytical piece, has drawn a comparison between a typical Indian bureaucrat versus Pillai. “India’s bureaucrats are generally known for being pretty tight-lipped. When they give press conferences, they often stick to repeating well-established policy mantra. When they grant one-on-one interviews, they’re quick to insist that large chunks of it are off-the-record or can only be attributed to “a source.” Even official spokesmen frequently request anonymity while stating little more than basic fact…But GK Pillai, the country’s top security civil servant, appears to be cut from different material,” the WSJ report said. 
Also Read

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Finance Minister wants IRS officers’ rising aspirations to be met; wants CBDT and CBEC to be model employers

INDIAN Revenue Service officers have a reason to cheer about. Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has asked Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) to aim at becoming model employers and improve the human resource management to meet the rising expectations of the officers and the staff. FM was speaking at a review meeting with the chief commissioners and commissioners of income tax, customs and central excise in Mumbai on Tuesday.
The government has begun to look into the concerns of the IRS officers after annual tax collections have increased manifold during the last six years, and the fiscal discipline of the government is increasingly depending on the taxmen’s ability to meet over-ambitious target of tax collections. The UPA government’s rising expenditure on social sector activities is largely to be funded by increased tax collections.
Mukherjee said that all annual general transfers should be carried out by the second week of April. “I have noticed that transfer orders of the officers are issued in mid of the year, which affects not only the officer, but also the department. The officer has to shift his family and children in the mid of the academic session, which causes avoidable mental stress. Similarly, by shifting of the officers in the mid of the year from one charge to the other charge, the continuity and time available is reduced considerably. This adversely affects achieving the targeted revenue,” Mukherjee said.
(In Picture: FM addressing the press after meeting with Custom, Excise and Income Tax officers, in Mumbai on September 01, 2010)

Action and Appointments
a) Sutanu Behuria, a 1976 batch Himachal Pradesh cadre IAS, currently working as special secretary in the department of commerce has been appointed as secretary, in the department of fertilizers.
b) The ACC has approved the inter-cadre deputation of M Senthil Kumar, a 1999 batch Nagaland cadre IFS from Nagaland to Tamil Nadu cadre for a period of five years.
c) Mukul Joshi, a 1975 batch Punjab cadre IAS, presently secretary, Inter State Council Secretariat has been appointed as secretary in the department of pharmaceuticals.
d) M Raman, a 1976 batch Tamil Nadu cadre IAS, has been appointed as secretary, department of chemicals and petrochemicals.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Newly-appointed Tamil Nadu chief secretary S Malathi’s philosophy of mind and body

MANY people know her as an upright officer, but very few can gauge her intellectual mind. A 1977 batch IAS S Malathi, who has been appointed as chief secretary of Tamil Nadu, only the second woman to clinch the top bureaucrat’s post in the state, wrote a mind-boggling piece sometime ago, narrating her life after she was diagnosed with cancer of the breast seven years ago.
“I have come to understand that the fear I experienced at the time of diagnosis was more to do with the process of dying than with death itself…The fact is that nothing stops for anybody and individuals really do not matter in the bigger canvas of life. It’s a tremendously humbling feeling to realise I’m just another actor with a role to play. Life is too beautiful to be spent in self-pity,” Malathi wrote in “Indiainteracts” in an article dated January, 2007.
A postgraduate in zoology and diploma-holder in development finance from Britain’s Birmingham University, Malathi has always been posted in the state, taking up many a challenging role including state’s home secretary and vigilance commissioner. During the AIADMK regime, she was implicated in a flyover scam case, which later turned out to be a case of political vendetta. The case was dropped later.
Here is an excerpt of her philosophy of life, courtesy “Indiainteracts”
“If you are one of those diagnosed with cancer, believe me, it’s not the end. For all you know it may be the beginning of a totally new and enjoyable life. If, however, you are one of the fortunate ones not suffering from cancer, be grateful and learn to live each day as it comes. Take care of your mind and body because one affects the other”.

Action and appointments
a) Uday Kumar Varma, a 1976 batch MP cadre IAS, presently special secretary, in the ministry of information and broadcasting has been appointed as secretary, ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises.
b) Brijeshwar Singh, a 1975 batch Tamil Nadu cadre IAS, will continue as chairman, National Highways Authority of India for another three months. The appointment, on contract basis, will be for three months with effect from September 1, 2010. or till a regular incumbent takes over, whichever is earlier.
c) The proposal of the ministry of road transport and highways for extension in Central deputation tenure of joint secretary Saroj Kumar Dash, a 1980 batch Himachal Pradesh cadre IAS, for a period of three months beyond November 27, 2010, has been approved.
d) The proposal for premature repatriation of Dilip Rath, a 1979 batch West Bengal cadre IAS to his parent cadre, has been approved.
e) Ms Esther Sakunthala Kar, a 1983 batch IIS has been appointed as joint secretary, in the National Commission for Minorities under the ministry of minority affairs.
f) Gudey Srinivas, a 1990 batch Orissa cadre IAS, presently working as director in the ministry of mines has been appointed as joint secretary in that ministry.