Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Netagiri Rises: Are UP bureaucrats being harassed by political leaders?

Fixed Match? CM being awarded in a cricket match against IAS (File Photo)
THE row over young IAS from Uttar Pradesh Durga Shakti Nagpal, who was suspended and reinstated in the state, may finally get over, but a new debate on whether senior bureaucrats in the state are harassed by the political masters or not, has kick-started. Only recently, a senior BJP leader from the…
state strongly criticised the Akhilesh Yadav-led government for adopting what he said “dictatorial attitude”, making the bureaucracy “inefficient”. National newspapers too highlighted the story where state BJP spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak claimed a few days ago that senior officers were harassed, and applications of as many as 18 IAS officers for proceeding on deputation are pending. The transfer of officers at the whims and fancies of political leadership is quite common in UP, but there are allegations that many of them are actually harassed for not toeing the line of powerful ministers.
Also, the state government reportedly engineered as many as 6,000 transfers in the last 18 months, as if it was like shuffling of cards. More and more critics have now questioned whether such reckless exercise has given any dividends at all.
In fact, the debate over rampant transfers and harassing of officers by netas has cropped up just a fortnight after the Supreme Court in a landmark ruling asked the Centre and the state governments to frame rules in three months to fix tenures of civil servants. Hearing on a petition filed by 83 former bureaucrats, the Apex Court also made it clear that civil servants should not take verbal orders from political leaders.
In UP, there were hopes when a young politician, and not an old neta, became the state chief minister. New chief minister Akhilesh Yadav also managed to get a bright officer of 1978 batch, Jawed Usmani, as his chief secretary. But the hopes were dashed after more and more of his ministerial colleagues wanted bureaucrats to behave like personal servants, and not public servants.
Only recently, the staff of senior minister Mohd Azam Khan refused to work after the minister allegedly used foul language against them. But they were handed over a charge-sheet, in an apparent one-sided action.

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