WHAT could be the main reason behind Indian bureaucrats toeing the line of corrupt politicians? During this season of scams and alleged involvement of bureaucrats in most of them, the BoI (Babus of India) readers have given a verdict that “the fear of transfers and punishment postings” is the prime reason why bureaucrats obey the command of corrupt politicians. Yet, 28% respondents say that bureaucrats themselves want to take a share of the corruption pie thereby making them party to wrong decisions of their political masters. The survey is based on 250 comments.
According to BoI online survey undertaken in December, 2010, one out of three respondents says that the worry of transfer and punishment postings forces bureaucrats agreeing on the dictate of their political masters. The issue cropped up recently when former telecom secretary and 1973 batch IAS Siddhartha Behura, who signed the controversial 2G licence files, said that he had no option but to sign the files. Behura said that all decisions with regard to granting of licences were taken either verbally or on files when he joined office as telecom secretary on
January 1, 2008. “I had no option but to implement the minister’s decision. The relationship between the minister and secretary is a very tenuous one and I would not like to go into it, but my record is clean,” he told an Indian newspaper. (Read: Behura’s role in 1991 economic liberalisation)
But according to the BoI survey, no less than 28% respondents also said that bureaucrats themselves want to take a share of the loot and thus do not resist any corrupt politicians. Many bureaucrats are also interested in future postings including those of post-retirement, according to 26% respondents of the online survey. Only 13% feel that a bureaucrat supports his corrupt political master as he fears of isolation within the ministry.