Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What if a driver asks for a written order to turn left? Ex-coal secretary Prasanna Mishra on Neta-Babu equations

THE recent Supreme Court order directing the government to frame rules to ensure that a civil servant does not act on verbal orders of the political boss has been hailed by civil servants among others. But what has not been discussed, or debated much, is whether it is feasible for a civil servant to work only under written instructions of political executives. Will such an arrangement not be as unworkable as a driver asking for written order from the owner of the moving vehicle in a busy road instead of his oral order to turn left instead of proceeding straight, asks...
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.


  1. oh wah Babus have now found their aukat....they are truly the drivers....drivers who have killed many a ciotizen due to their rash driving...

    Allah will also not forgive this breed..!!!

  2. Good step to get evaluation on ethics and morals for aspiring babus. Fruits of these steps will take time.
    Will is important. Oral or written, where there is will there is a way. Will to serve the country and its people in a just and honest way. Salam/Peace