|Scene at Red Fort as PM (not seen here) was delivering his speech|
reassured public functionaries that they would be protected against “baseless allegations and unnecessary litigation”. Singh who himself was a bureaucrat in commerce and finance ministry for two decades before assuming charge as FM in 1991, is now facing the silent challenge from the bureaucracy which is refusing to take big decisions in fear of future allegations. This is what is PM’s assurance at Red Fort: “We will continue our efforts to bring more transparency and accountability in the work of public servants and to reduce corruption. But we will also take care that these measures do not result in a situation in which the morale of public functionaries taking decisions in public interest gets affected because of baseless allegations and unnecessary litigation,” PM said while delivering the Independence Day on Wednesday.
It’s however not the first time PM has highlighted the concerns of honest civil servants and other public functionaries who are often bracketed along with the corrupt machinery. The bureaucracy has been at the receiving end from the time the debate on anti-corruption ombudsman Lokpal began. Many honest officers have intentionally lied low and refused to take major decisions as they thought that might haunt them at a later stage. While taking part in the Lokpal debate in Lok Sabha in December, 2011, PM had an interesting observation. He said: “I don’t think all public functionaries need to be painted with the same brush…While I agree that public functionaries must be above board and that delinquents must be dealt with expeditiously and decisively, I must express my deep appreciation for many a public servant who have shown exemplary integrity in discharging their functions in an environment of distrust.”
PM’s yet another comment during that Parliament debate was significant. “Very often our public servants have to take decisions under conditions of uncertainty. The future being inherently uncertain, it is possible that an action which ex ante appears to be rational may ex post turn out to be faulty. Our systems of reward and punishment must not lose sight of this fact.”
In fact, if you study the speeches that PM has delivered during the last one and half years, he has been repeating the same point on bureaucracy mainly to allay fear among officials and ministers. And that is a major departure from the time he came to power second time in May 2009. When UPA-II government was formed, the question of any policy paralysis did not arise. What did Singh tell his bureaucrats then? In the first meeting with PMO officials in June 2009, Singh appealed his officers to “think creatively”, and stressed the need to be “believers in equity, innovation and public accountability at work”.
Babu Marriage: IAS bride, IPS groom
Ms Arti Lal, a 2010 batch Gujarat cadre IAS officer, has been transferred from Gujarat cadre to AGMUT cadre on the ground of marriage to Gaurav Sharma, a 2009 batch AGMUT cadre Indian Police Service officer.