|Secretary Christy Fernandes behind President Patil|
President’s Views on Bureaucracy
In one of the rare comments on Indian bureaucracy, President Pratibha Devisingh Patil said in an RTI function in October 2009 that Right to Information (RTI) would help bureaucrats shedding the image of bureaucracy as that of red-tapism. “…there are many occasions where the bureaucracy, evokes an image of red-tapism and certain opaqueness. It is my hope that as the Right to Information gets further embedded into our civil society, there will be even more urgency felt to take action to negate this perception, which at times may be wrong. Good governance and corruption free systems are what people are rightfully expecting, and they can use the Act to get it in full measure.”
Patil’s “At Home” Party
Senior civil servants accompanied by their spouses do attend special programmes at Rashtrapati Bhawan’s sprawling Mughal Garden. Every year, country’s top bureaucrats, diplomats, armed forces officials gather at the backyard of Rashtrapati Bhavan to join the high tea party hosted by the President. This year’s menu of the President’s “At Home” party on January 26 included samocha, pakora, fish fries and sweets. And of course tea and coffee!
One Bureaucrat Show at Raisina Hills
Secretary to President is the only bureaucrat who runs the show at Raisina Hills. For a secretary level person, it’s a cool job. Christy Fernandes, a 1973 batch Gujarat cadre IAS, however, took a few initiatives for which he had to go an extra mile, and co-ordinate and convince officials from other ministries on a few policy agenda. He tried his best to make President Patil’s dream of framing a policy on private participation in agriculture a reality. There was some progress, but President’s dream did not materialize. Yet, Fernandes had the time to have a social life. A newspaper advertisement issued by organizers of the last Auto Expo in New Delhi quoted Fernandes as saying: “It was a great experience! My wife and I enjoyed the glimpse of some of the most beautiful machines. Congratulations to…”
If you can guess who will be the next President, you can also shortlist the probable names for secretary to the next President.