Monday, December 27, 2010

Sidelights of Indian bureaucracy, 2010

Fake Memo Brings Joy
The year 2010 might have witnessed many disappointing events in power corridors, but what disappointed the bureaucrats most was a clarification on a fake official circular. For many Central government employees, it was the Diwali coming too soon when the finance ministry in an office memo dated March 27, 2010 announced a revised rate of Overtime Allowance. But as it turned out three days later, it was a fake Office Memo, and the government had no clues who had played the prangs! The DoPT clarified that no such allowance would be doled out.

A Moment Of Anger
Many bureaucrats were upset and angry at Samajwadi Party supreme Mulayam Singh Yadav’s reported comment on daughters and wives of officers and businessmen. Yadav who opposed the Women’s reservation Bill tooth and nail in Rajya Sabha, reportedly said that if the Bill was passed, “wives and daughters of officers and businessmen who invite whistles from boys” would enter Parliament. Though many politicians love to insult their bureaucrats and always want them to behave like their private secretaries, this is probably the first ever seriously objectionable remark by a senior politician about wives and daughters of bureaucrats.

Happily Ignored
Cabinet secretary KM Chandrasekhar wrote two official letters on March 3, 2010 to all government of India secretaries and state chief secretaries insisting that there was a need for an image make-over of India’s civil servants. He mentioned how the recent “disturbing incidents” called for “serious introspection by civil servants”, and reminded the officers of the government’s policy of zero tolerance on corruption. The letters were shot off after a series of Income-Tax raids unearthed a huge amount of cash in senior IAS officials’ residences.

Brand Police To Sell Products
Despite Indian police personnel suffering an image crisis thanks to day-to-day experiences of ordinary citizens, a newly set-up insurance company, IndiaFirst Life Insurance, put up huge hoardings along the roads of major Indian cities featuring two police officers. The message was to drive home a nationalistic feeling and connect to the audience that India comes first. After all, it’s rare to spot a company selling their products through “brand police”.

A Bureaucrat By Mind, Poet By Heart
For Bishnupada Sethi, a 1995 batch Orissa cadre IAS, life is a bigger canvas and poetry is his art. Sethi published a collection of poems, My World of Words with an underlining theme that words are central to human existence. Sample this:
Lying quietly on a wooden cot,
kept on the verandah of a mud hut,
I move my eyes slowly
like the rare waves
in the cool waters of a static lake.

Sporting Beard
When a Japanese town banned sporting beard by bureaucrats, there were laughter in corridors of power. When reported the news there were gossips in Raisina Hills that what would happen if such rules apply to Indian bureaucracy as well. Yes, food processing industries secretary Ashok Sinha who sports a French cut will have to rush to the bathroom with a razor and come clean, literally.
No beard please, we are bureaucrats

1 comment:

  1. The ban on bureaucrats' beard is too good. There will be heart-burn if it's implemented here!