Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Untold story of Jawaharlal Nehru’s Udyog Bhawan room; Guess, who uses it now?

MS, an earlier occupant of the room, with three of today's officers 
HERE is something most people familiar with Delhi’s corridors of power are actually unaware of. The room of Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) in Udyog Bhawan was once used by India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru when he came to the building to preside over meetings of the Planning Commission. Nehru probably found the room (No: 008, H-wing) convenient because…
that was one of the biggest rooms then. The other advantages included its location on the ground floor, closer to the entry gate and the attached toilet there.
Most of the Indian Trade Service (ITS) officers working in the building were amused on Tuesday when 1953 batch Karnataka cadre retired IAS, Mani Narayanswamy, who had an interactive session with them, gave that interesting piece of information.
Narayanswamy, popularly known as MS to his friends and colleagues, was the chief controller of imports and exports between 1980 and 1983. The post was renamed later as DGFT. Significantly, current occupant of the room, DGFT Anup K Pujari, had just joined the IAS when his senior colleague MS occupied the room in 1980.
While talking to young ITS officers present in the interactive session, MS recounted his experience with the then commerce minister VP Singh, and how they were trying to introduce changes in the export-import policy of the country, according to officials present during the session. VP Singh later became the country’s prime minister. MS further recalled how the then joint chief controller, Late Takhat Ram used to be the repository of rules and regulation regarding export-import policy.
Here is MS’ advice to the young officers: Find ways to accept a proposal rather than rejecting it.


  1. One of the best stories I have read in this site. Keep it up

  2. Hope from now on only Indian Trade Service (ITS) officers occupy that post of DGFT and that room. After all ITS was created for this purpose - to look after India's trade. What the hell do IAS officers doing here in the Commerce Ministry? Come on ITS rise up and start asserting yourself to fight this usurpation of your post by the ever expanding IAS lobby. ITS officers who know the trade and are experienced after working as ADGFT, DDGFT, JDGFT are allowed to rise only upto AddlDGFT. DGFT post is always occupied by an IAS who doesn't know anything about trade and in most cases a junior officer to the senior most batches of ITS.

  3. I feel, anti-IAS lobby is more active than the IAS lobby

  4. During the British period Congress and other nationalists appeared to be more active than the British raj itself. Actually they were more active than the British raj. Its because they were at the receiving end. This is the same situation now. British raj is replaced by IAS raj and the nationalists are replaced by other civil services. History teaches us who will win at the end. Truth always triumphs. It may be subdued for long but will emerge out at the end. British raj took 200 years. IAS raj may remain there for 50-100 years. Most of that time is already completed. Coming to the above comment, anti-IAS lobby looks active because they are the sufferers and are fighting for their rights. IAS lobby need not fight because they are the usurpers. Actually it is not anti-IAS lobby. That's a misnomer. Out nationalist leaders were not ant-British. They were fighting for their rights. When independence was achieved, Great Britain became an ally. Same thing will happen here in the Indian Civil Services and administration.

  5. @Anon at 20 Nov 11:56 PM, the situation that the IAS is junior to the seniormost batch of ITS has not yet arisen, but in the future is surely going to come...So, let us wait and watch and see what happens...

  6. DGFT as an institution has metamorphosed from being a regulatory and impersonal organization to an extremely friendly export facilitator. They are lucky to have extremely competent and positive minded IAS officers as their DGs. Today at Chennai we saw an Open House with the Finance Minister where the current DG Anoop Pujari made a very grand impression. Very direct, focused, and clear headed being witty at the same time. Customs officers were not as good. Our best wishes

  7. @Anonymous November 23, 2013 at 4:39 PM - what are you suggesting? IAS presence should improve in customs so that they also become like DGFT?
    lets stop recruiting central services from UPSC - CSE, let us recruit IAS to take care of everything and all the other services through an exam called "UPSC - CSE - second rate". then all institutions in government can become as lucky as DGFT and all other services can prosper like ITS