Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dear Usmani, ask your men to be “civil servants”, not servants to any minister

FIRST we would like to congratulate you. You could have become either the commerce or economic affairs secretary, had you not ventured into becoming chief secretary of Uttar Pradesh, one of the most problematic states with a population of whopping 200 million, or 40 times than that of Norway. Many in corridors firmly believe you are a future cabinet secretary. No one doubts your talents; nor should anyone question your administrative skills.
Having said that, the “badtameez” episode that took place on Tuesday may not only demoralize bureaucrats across the country but also dent your image if you prefer to remain silent.
For our readers, here is the summary of Uttar Pradesh’s badtameez incident displaying the worst form of Netagiri:
UP’s urban development minister Mohd Azam Khan lost his cool, and shouted at a bureaucrat in front of TV cameras: "Chup baithiye ... badtameez kaheen ke" (Sit quietly... you disrespectful). The episode was repeatedly shown in many national TV channels. The minister was angry with the official who merely informed him the reasons why key officers were not present at the meeting. According to media reports, principal secretary in urban department Pravir Kumar, who is a 1982 batch IAS, was not present in the meeting as he was summoned by chief secretary Jawed Usmani. Only sometime ago, Khan recommended suspension of Lucknow Municipal Commissioner N P Singh, but his request was turned down by chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.
Now dear Usmani, we do understand that Netagiri is not an UP-centric phenomenon. It is prevalent in all over the country. We do notice at times how honest secretary ranked officers get suffocated under regime of corrupt and arrogant ministers. But the situation worsens if the officials fail to stand up and call spade a spade. Only recently, Andhra minister G Venkatesh said in a public function that officials with no commitment to their work should be shot dead. The IAS Officers’ Association had issued a strong statement condemning the minister’s reported remarks. One ex-bureaucrat even approached the court to book the minister under IPC (Indian Penal Code). The minister remained unapologetic.
In this backdrop, dear Usmani, you should not keep quiet. Kindly call your officers and tell them to object politely but forcefully, any such behaviour in future. A few more such incidents will demoralize bureaucracy at large. Yes, taking on political leaders is easier said than done. But why should bureaucrats be servants to ministers? They are only civil servants.

Action and Appointments
a) Central Government has accorded approval for extension of inter-cadre deputation of HS Meena, a 1997 batch Tamil Nadu cadre IAS, from Tamil Nadu cadre to Rajasthan cadre for a period of one year.

1 comment:

  1. The tragedy is when an officer has to work under a very corrupt minister. If the officer has the guts he/she will refuse to be a party to the minister's decision. But sometime, the officers want a good post-retirement posting. So, he /she does not object to what the minister asks him/her to do. Many wrongs get burried