former coal secretary Prasanna Mishra in a recent article in Millennium Post. The article was also sent by the author to Babus of India.
“A civil servant should have the ability to offer his differing views with benign conviction without a trace of crude arrogance. A civil servant should be sensitive enough to appreciate the compulsions in which a minister works. The civil servant should work towards his minister being a success rather than a failure; his efforts should be to see that his minister performs well in Parliament,” Mishra argues in the article.
Mishra further writes that bureaucrat-minister partnership has to be “healthy, not collusive; with shared approach towards constitutionality and probity. The complexity of governance is not amenable to an easy and simplistic solution like acting only on written orders,” he says.
Former secretary, however, does not want a status-quo. The system, he says, calls for a serious and immediate re-look “at the manner in which political executive rewards a civil servant on retirement”. “The country needs greater demonstration of the objectivity of the political executive so that the widely held view that pliant ones are rewarded is proved incorrect. The favoured civil servants get into sinecures – whose number is increasing – and stay with the perks and privileges for five years or even more,” Mishra writes.
There are still a number of unsolved riddles tied with the administration. “Why was a cabinet secretary shifted soon after a change in government? Are we to believe that the members and even the head of the civil service have to be political appointees? Is it in sync with the ethos of the service?” Mishra asks.