Monday, August 27, 2012

India's Most Powerful Bureaucrats, 2012; Pulok Chatterji tops BoI list

Pulok Chatterji (Middle). Menon, Mathai are also seen
THE final BoI List of India’s Most Powerful Bureaucrats, 2012, is here. And this is the fourth year in running, www.babusofindia.com has come out with the list of 5 most powerful Indian bureaucrats. This time, the selection is based on opinion of about 100 people including politicians, bureaucrats and civil society activists who understand the nuances of corridors of power: who goes up and who is lagging behind. The power list incidentally includes a seasoned diplomat, a state chief secretary and even a joint secretary for the first time.
And ladies and gentlemen, the most powerful Indian bureaucrat in 2012 is none other than…
Pulok Chatterji, principal secretary to PM and the only bureaucrat in India who does not need an appointment to drive down to 10 Janpath, the official residence of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
In August 2009, BoI surprised many of its readers when it ranked Chatterji above TKA Nair even when Chatterji was then located in Washington DC serving as India’s executive director to World Bank. We wrote: “…but his one phone call carries more power than many important files doing round the power corridors of Delhi.” After all, he has been attached to the Gandhi family from the time he was the district magistrate of Rae Bareli in early 1980s when Indira Gandhi represented the constituency. Later, he had served as private secretary to Sonia Gandhi when she was the leader of the Opposition during the NDA regime.
His high connection is further supplemented by his massive administrative skills. He along with cabinet secretary and his IAS batch-mate Ajit K Seth (you can call both as Pulokaseth) have picked up right secretary for each department. But the real contribution of Chatterji as principal secretary to PM has been his ability to co-ordinate with ministries and cripple “policy paralysis” wherever possible. When most bureaucrats were shying away from initiating any pro-industry policies, Chatterji has become a key driver in pushing big-ticket infrastructure projects and getting the "India story" still on track.
But, there are challengers all around him. The so-called Coalgate scam has dragged PMO into controversy. Top Indian auditor CAG has given an astronomical figure as “loss to the exchequer” because of allocation of coal blocks to private companies without an auction. The government has argued that it has just followed the policy of earlier regimes. But it remains to be seen whether Chatterji succeeds in keeping the PMO at the “arm’s length”? Chatterji’s bigger challenge, however, is to make the government’s social agenda digestible for the Congress party which will face the crucial general elections in May 2014.
And if sources are to be believed, Chatterji is quietly mentoring Rahul Gandhi by giving him “real-life" lessons from inside the government.

4 Other Powerful Bureaucrats

Menon as 2nd Most Powerful
National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon’s mother tongue is Malayalam but he speaks Chinese as fluently as someone from north of the McMohan Line. He speaks German too. But his ability to speak multiple languages does not qualify him to be powerful. BoI has chosen this ultra-low profile diplomat to be India’s second most powerful bureaucrat because he has remained at the core of India’s security and diplomacy at least for the last six years.
Read

Changing faces of national security

Mr Investigator, 3rd Most Powerful
Mr Investigator is faceless and plural; could be from CBI, CVC, ED or I-T. He is taking more and more responsibilities, and in that process he has invariably entered a hitherto “no go” area of probing powerful politicians.
Read
Heading CBI, ED…


Usmani as 4th Most Powerful
He is the chief secretary of India’s most populated state, Uttar Pradesh. But how can a bureaucrat located at 500 km away from power-centre become powerful? It is because this Lucknow-based bureaucrat and 1978 batch senior-most IAS officer, can speed up his state’s agenda by using his personal equations with those who matter in Delhi.
Read
Usmani’s equations


Mr Indispensable, 5th most powerful
The appointment rules were relaxed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to accommodate BVR Subrahmanyam, a 1987 batch Chhattisgarh cadre IAS, as a joint secretary in PMO. What makes BVR Mr Indispensable?
Read
PM on BVR

31 comments:

  1. The list of five TMPBs shows the allegiance of their master towards World Bank. All policies of the UPA -1 & 2 are in tandem with the World Bank requirements for India. All officers who are fulfilling the above or provide aid to the above get appreciated by their political masters and earn reward in terms of fast promotions. They have direct access to the top political lobby and hence are being rated the most powerful. It is highly unfortunate for this country that Bureaucrat(considered the best minds) take pride in serving the personal interests of their political masters which at times may clash with the overall interest of the common people at large.

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  2. I agree these are powerful bureaucrats, but there are very influential babus in revenue departments, railways and particularly in some states. Don't ignore them.

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  3. 65 years of independence. IAS are bright minds?! On a macro level it has failed which is quite evident when we look around. Cities are in a mess and administration as a whole is a failure. Time to revisit this legacy of IAS etc. But salute for the few who do inspiring and spirited job!

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  4. Give me a break. Since when have IAS people become bright minds? Just because they pass one exam and then allowed to decide policy matters for the government does not make them bright minds. They can be corrupt, servile and venal minds. But not bright minds. If they were so bright, then the condition of India won't have been so pathetic. And as a previous commentator said the first requirement is servility to World Bank which decides how the state or the country should run. We have a third-rate bureaucracy.

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    1. hmmm...i think you didnt passed prelim? grapes are souuurrrrr....

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    2. A miniscule 100 IAS out of 500,000 (Half a million) applicants, undoubtedly TOUGHEST in the world. Tell me what is your qualification first, and the Toughest exam you have passed apart from 10th class.
      Waiting for your reply.

      PS: I am not a civil servant.

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  5. A little inaccuracy, it was Mr Pulok's appointment as DM Sultanpur when Amethi was part of it, and Rajiv Gandhi was DM that started his metoric rise

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  6. Basically this article just tells ordinary Indians (which we all know) that Maska (Buttering) Maarna is still a VALID RECIPE for career advancement and all sorts of economic benefits. The real reason Pulok Chatterjee was brought back from Washington was to ensure Sonia and Rahul Ghandi's directions are followed by PM Manmohan Skam Singh and the government. Sonia and Rahul have to just open their mouth and PulokDa would get it done even if PM Manmohan Skam Singh disagrees. Pulokda taking over the PMO was Sonia and Rahul's idea to keep PM Manmohan Skam Singh in check and ensuring that PM Manmohan Skam Singh does what he is told. The other write-up in the article, that IAS officers are bright minds. IAS --> I AM SAFE officers have failed India and a significant amount of blame has to be attributed to a large majority of these IAS officers for poor governance, massive poverty and lastly for being subservient and slavish to their political masters, in order to feather their own nests. Show me a poor IAS officer and I will sell you a beachfront property in the Thar Desert in Rajasthan! IAS/IPS/IFS/IRS/IFS {Forest}/IRS {Railways}/IES/IIS and all other I combinations of services should be abolished immediately. There should be decentralization and let states, cities, districts, taluks, village governments decide whom to hire and how to govern. Yes like all things there would be a growing up pain, but this will help in the medium to long run. Just because some one is an IAS officer, he/she is not an expert in foreign policy, trade, economics, sociology, etc. Thank GOD I did not aspire to be an IAS officer.

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  7. The above comment is a typical case of babu bashing which many people enjoy. Yes, there are problems in administration. But getting rid of officers is hardly a solution. Only highly qualified technical experts can't run this country. -- A serving officer

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  8. Ha Ha Ha....
    What I all see is a bunch of losers venting their frustration here.
    IAS is the toughest exam on earth.
    There are still lakhs of aspirants in India who dream of this job

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    1. IAS is the one of the useless Examination fore civil side as only son of IAS Lobby is becoming the IAS and not from poor family. Go to Hell. India will go down in one day in near future due to bad work of basterd Bureaucrat as they are making policies for their own benefits and not for common and poor people.

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  9. I passed the IAS and IFS and yet I did not join the civil services. I went abroad to a prestigious university, did extraordinarily well and continuing, have got worldwide recognition in my area of specialization and am a frequent consultant to some of the most advanced countries at the highest level. So those who are myopic in their mindset and constricted in their views, and are of the belief that IAS is GOD's gift to the Indian mankind, is spewing utter nonsense. A brief not about my family. Our family has connections to the old ICS service and members of our family have stood All India First in IFS, IAS, IRS and RBI exams. Indira Gandhi had many non-IAS officers as her close aides and advisers. Why? Because of loyalty, sharp intellect, discipline, and smooth governance. People disagreed with many of IG's policies, but that did not change the fact that IG had many non-IAS officers as her close aides and advisers. So to smear those who are not IAS or any of the other I..... services, as losers and that ONLY IAS officers can govern and the rest are incapable and do not have the capability is absolutely false, and predicated based on condescension and moral superiority. The Tata family ran Air-India smoothly for years, profitably, and Air-India earned a good reputation. What happened once Air-India was nationalized? Air-India's good name got severely bruised (tarnished), quality service was left by the wayside, to be replaced with sub-standard service, and last but not the least malfeasance became the way of governance. Who were the CMDs of Air-India? Not the Tatas, nor other Indian industry titans and experts in operating airlines, but the great IAS babus. Look what 65 years of IAS babudom has done for India? Two thirds of Indians live in poverty, poor governance seems to be the norm, coupled with nepotism and corruption. Like a great soul once told many of us during our younger days that we Indians rest on our past glory. Yes I am proud of my heritage and glory, but that dies not automatically translate that the future is fantastic too. Have a good day.

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    1. Please do not forget that IG paid with her liofe for her folly.

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    2. Sir/MAdam,

      With all respects to you, IG was not assassinated by her non-security staff (many of whom were not IAS officers), but by her security staff of a particular ethnicity and that too because IG ordered the entry of security forces to flush out the terrorists inside the Golden Temple (a place of worship)in Amritsar. The non-security aides and officers had nothing to do with this. I hope you are able to correct yourself. Have a nice day.

      Satya

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    3. I agree with your views dear.
      mahendra mutha
      mahendramutha@hotmail.com

      Delete
  10. We see a lot of people who think the grapes are sour ..Had they not been so they would not have been anonymous ...Long Live IAs, IPS, IFS ..They still are the top notch which some loosers are jealous of ..btw it was a surprise how the person who posted above got selected in two services LOLZ

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    Replies
    1. Why are you anonymous anonymous?

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  11. To the above responder (Anonymous, Nov 12th, 2012, 8:11 PM), since you are admonishing the commenter before that he/she should not have been anonymous, and calling him/her as a thinker of sour grapes, why did you sign off as Anonymous instead of showing your courage? Shame on you for being a coward, and you for one definitely lack testicular fortitude.

    Satya

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  12. Pulok Chatterjee is the most unbureaucratic amidst the bureaucrats.He has spent almost two decades serving the dynasty.Inbetween he has managed to get lucrative posts in UN/WB.If servitude to the powers be is the criterion of becoming the most powerful bureaucrat,God save us ,the faceless typical bureaucrats and our blessed nation.

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  13. To AnonymousNovember 28, 2012 12:33 PM,

    You are so right, the mutual admiration society of these bureaucrats and their surrogates are so full of themselves that anything else (in this case the truth you wrote above) is strange and unbelievable. Have a good day sir/madam.

    Satya

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  14. Why not have IAS entrance exams after class XII as Medical , engineering & NDA entance exams ?

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  15. At best have IAS,IFS, IPS, RES, and other I..Serices ONLY for Government of India and let the states tinker with administration setup the way they want it. See Gujarat with Modi and Bihar With Nitish Kumar. They know that by delivering good government service to the pubic, they will be repeatedly elected to office. India would do better with FEDERALISM than the current set up.

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  16. PLEASE GIVE THE OPTION to subscribe to blog updates by email. The option is there in Feedburner.

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  17. it is perhaps the most toughest exam of the nation and it is also evident from the fact that it is not only open for people of well off families but also aspirants got selected who were even finding it hard to keep their household lively with recent few examples.... so please do not make mockery of this institution IAS and UPSC and strive to be selected for it... and best of luck to every one whosoever aspires for it

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  18. Selction of IAS/IPS/IFS and class 1 officers through Civil services is a quality funnel for creating leadership minds. What has deteriorated is the SOPs to use these minds to the interest of the national in the highest ethical standards. Its not a debate -bright and sharp minds are in both forms-Babu and non Babus . The ecosystem in which Babu's has been operating has changed over the period -more so with Coalition politics becoming the driving force. There are rotten eggs in all baskets -Babus and non babus , but by and large -its a creditable funnel for quality leadership . How you use it or abuse it , its the governance machinery call.

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  19. this is unfair that ias with close contact with gandhi family is posted at key levels. posting should be in fair manner.

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  20. There is no doubt that IAS, IPS.. are a quality funnel for getting the top minds for creating a robust administrative ecosystem. What is disturbing is despite such a filtering in place the country has failed in governance and progress. Why blame only the politicians - the babus born from such a 'robust' and 'quality' system are equally answerable. What is the use of power if not for the good of the state?

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  21. Babus take orders from their political masters and draft policies as ordained by them. If a politician is corrupt his babus have to be corrupt for a harmonious working. 'Disharmony' alone is sufficient ground to shunt an officer. Some who stand up against corruption suffer their fate silently in the oblivion. Those who are 'practical' team up with their corrupt political masters and make the most out of the existing system. Why then blame the bureaucrats. Coming to the politicians, who makes them? It's the people who adore and elect such people out of illiteracy, ignorance, helplessness etc. And who makes/keeps them illiterate, ignorant, helpless etc. It is the politicians, their policies and governance back again. Therefore, it's a vicious circle. Then what is the solution? Revolution? Requires a charismatic leader. Such leaders appear once in a way in the horizon. But then such movements are easily diffused by dividing society on caste/community lines and granting some sops here and there. To sum up, masses are kept at a subsistence level to pre-empt any kind of uprising. What if by accident we have a leader/Prime Minister who is well-meaning and at the same time powerful enough in his own right to curb this menace of corruption and set right the system. Most think Modi has that. Let us all support him in his endeavour to cleanse the system and be patient with him.

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