Monday, September 09, 2013

India's Most Powerful Bureaucrats, 2013: Corridors’ Durgas 1st, Pulokaseth 3rd

WHEN young Indians fearlessly question the conduct of India’s high and mighty, a top-ranked post may no longer give a license to a bureaucrat to flex his muscles. The BoI Power List 2013, based on the opinions of about 100 people including politicians, bureaucrats and civil society activists, has ranked Durgas of bureaucracy as India’s Most Powerful Bureaucrat, 2013. Those who understand the nuances of corridors of power say…
the so called powerful bureaucrats have taken a back seat, and they now use their power judiciously, weighing in the pros and cons of showing that extra bit of aggression.
But a young bureaucrat serving in a state has nothing to hide, and hence has nothing to fear either. Unlike seasoned bureaucrats who would hesitate to do anything that might upset their political masters, young bureaucrats are not tied by such fears. Durga Shakti Nagpal, an UP cadre IAS officer of 2010 batch, belongs to that category of young Indian babus. It’s not that she has not suffered because of her courage of taking on the faulty system. When she took on the sand mafia in Greater Noida area adjoining Delhi, she was aware that those elements were highly connected to influential politicians of the state. No wonder, she was framed and suspended for allegedly breaking the wall of a religious shrine, giving the episode a communal twist.
No doubt, Nagpal has suffered. But she chose to maintain a dignified silence. Today, she is an inspiration for millions of young Indians who want to become change agents of the society. Young Durgas of the corridors can’t be “managed”. And that makes them more powerful than the rest.

4 Other Powerful Bureaucrats

Ranjit Sinha is 2nd Most Powerful 
1974 batch Bihar cadre IPS officer and CBI director Ranjit Sinha draws his power not so much from his chair but from the unpredictability of each of his move. What has compounded the woes of the government of the day is Sinha’s habit of freely interacting with the media and placing his points of view, including those who many bureaucrats would have preferred off-the-record, well in public domain.
“Caged Parrot” or Powerful Bureaucrat?

Pulokaseth ranked 3rd Most Powerful
The question is how can the combo of PM’s principal secretary and the cabinet secretary of the country be ranked only at the third place among most powerful bureaucrats? The reason is simple. Armed with RTIs, hyper-active media, anti-corruption crusade and activist bureaucracy (Rais, Durgas and Khemkas), the anti-establishment voices are no longer restricted to opposition parties and insipid editorial pages of daily newspapers. The common people, particularly the Twitter-happy new Indians, have started asking questions on anything and everything about the government, which were in older days swept under the carpet.
Corridors’ Combo

Nirupama Rao ranked 4th Most Powerful
Former foreign secretary and India's ambassador to US Nirupama Rao has figured in the list of powerful bureaucrats because of her immense clout in social media: 1,68,228 Twitter followers as on August 25, 2013, and counting. As New India is hyper active in social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+, a long followers’ list indicates not just one’s popularity but one’s influence and power as well. In fact, Rao’s list of followers has dwarfed those of veteran politicians who have installed huge teams to engage the net savvy citizens through Twitter and other social media platforms.
Diva of Indian Diplomacy

Ex-IRS Aman Singh as 5th Most Powerful
Sounds odd, but you do spot highly powerful bureaucrats, that too non-IAS, a thousand miles away from the usual power corridors of Delhi’s North and South Blocks. This Indian Revenue Service officer of 1995 batch went to Raipur on a deputation when Raman Singh took over as the chief minister 10 years ago. He left the Central service mid-way and decided to serve one of India’s youngest states, Chhattisgarh on a full-time basis.
Why is Aman Singh Powerful?


  1. Enjoyed reading the list. Why don't you compile such lists at the state level also? There are many happening babus in the states. Must come into the limelight.

  2. By ranking bureaucrats as " most powerful", are we not taking the entire bureaucracy for a ride? I would like to treat them as the "most manipulative, pliable,compromising" who are always eager to please the political class for their career progression.They have always been holding coveted positions in the GOI by pulling the right strings at right time. They never seem to retire.They are fit to be addressed as the 'Field Marshals" in bureaucracy,ending up as MPs , Members UPSC, CEC or even Governors.This way, the mediocrity is perpetuated,the merit takes the back seat. Examples are countless.

    A K SAXENA (A retired civil servant)

  3. what about Shri K.K.Pathak?