Wednesday, July 29, 2015

“Hang corrupt IAS officers in India Gate, but…”- a fascinating talk by 1994 batch IAS Srivatsa Krishna

Srivatsa Krishna, 1994 batch Karnataka cadre IAS officer and one of the most articulate voices of the elite Indian Administrative Service says there are many honest IAS officers undertaking tough jobs away from media limelight, though there are some who are corrupt.  Hang corrupt officers in India Gate, but don't tar everyone with the same brush, says Krishna while addressing a gathering of young entrepreneurs in Bengaluru recently for a TV show titled…
Young Turks hosted by popular business news anchor Shereen Bhan. The video of Krishna’s talk is available in YouTube. Krishna says there are IAS “who are corrupt, who steal and do all kind of stuff”. “They should be hanged. No doubt about that. Hang them in India Gate. But don't tar everyone with the same brush,” adding that there are many proactive civil servants undertaking tough jobs and that too in circumstances where most private sector executives may not like to be in. The IAS officer was replying to a question on how hard it is to be a “disruptive babu”.
Krishna gave an example of an IAS officer (with degrees from IIT and IIM) serving in a border district of the North-eastern state of Tripura, something many a bright private sector executive may hesitate to pursue.
He also elaborated how for every wrong there is a tendency to blame the government and the bureaucrat. “If the cow next door does not give milk...the government is to be blamed. There must be some babu doing something wrong,” he quips.
He said Bengaluru is not just the IT capital of India but the IT capital of the world after the Silicon Valley, and there will be 2 million IT professionals in Bengaluru by 2020. Krishna had earlier worked very closely with Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu and played a key role in making Hyderabad an IT hub.
An MA in international studies from Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University and MBA from Harvard University, Krishna topped the civil services examination. Three years ago, a Bollywood thriller “Shanghai” was made on Krishna’s life (actor Abhay Deol playing the role of a Tamilian IAS officer in this Dibakar Banerjee film). In the film, Krishna himself turned a singer, singing “Vishnu Sahasranamam Mantra”. 


  1. He is one of the most outstanding officers ever in IAS. His talk on Global TED Stage and Dream In both exemplary. It should be made mandatory reading for IAS. Surprising he has not been picked up for bigger things in Digital India

  2. Good to hear that he is the same person played by Abhay Deol

  3. Tough, firm, exceptional EQ and IQ. We in the IT Industry will miss him. His 2 years are more than what was done by many of his predecessors like Vidyashankar, Manoli, Anup Pujari who only did foreign tours and no work. He was moved for taking a strong stand against proposed procurement of pillows and blankets through Karnataka IT Corporation, without a bid. Shame on Siddaramaih Government for losing a good officer

  4. One of the best officers. I am surprised Narendra Modi Government has not spotted this hidden gem yet. He would be an asset inside PMO to roll out all convergence initiatives. His attention to detail and to make everything world class is extraordinary. We startups interacted with him and he was always helpful and direct. Sad to lose him

  5. Constitution does not privilege the IAS to sit as a judge in its own cause. If Mr. Srivatsa Krishna indded admitted, that too on air, that he has some knowledge of those among his IAS folk, “who are corrupt, who steal and do all kind of stuff”, why is the Union Ministry of personnel not following up on it? Is it because its higher echelons too are staffed by the same "heaven born" public servants?

    To reaffirm our faith in rule of law, Mr. Srivatsa Krishna should be immediately and publicly asked to depose against such corrupt IAS. The truth is, since his appointment, Srivatsa Krishna did more to weaken the Wilsonian politics - administration dichotomy, by acting as a self-appointed blowhard for the imagined solo contributions of the IAS. No leader who fails to acknowledge the contribution of his team (comprising of public servants from many other services) will be respected. He has never hidden his political ambitions and even debated a C.M. (Arvind Kejriwal) despite the professed apolitical role he is supposed to play, as an IAS.

    A decade from now, if public clamours for removing the constitutional protections for All India Services, it will be in great part because Johnny come lately's like Srivatsa Krishna have chosen to leave the path of their predecessors in the IAS, and assumed an actively political role by shedding any pretense of anonymity and inserting themselves into media glare.

    Finally let us not romanticize those achievers who work on the frontier districts of Tripura. They joined the IAS knowing that after 5 yrs of such postings, they will , by virtue of being in the IAS, be automatically elevated to higher positions despite unexceptional performance. Clearing the IIM and IIT only proves they are good at taking exams. Doing well in standardized tests, seems to be an Indian characteristic now. Let us not assume, that automatically translates into some kind of genious. Even Mr. Srivatsa Krishna, despite several self-promotional TV, youtube talks, and columns, has not exactly proven himself among the general public to be "exceptional" in his years as an IAS officer so far, despite earning accumulating further credentials like a harvard degree on the tax payer's money. Ultimately, if you do good work, people will notice. Srivatsa Krishna should do that, by either staying away from all mass media outlets, and focusing fully on his well paying government job or by resigning and joining the pvt sector, where hopefully his numerous accumulated degrees will help him become the next Nilekani. The way I see it, I don't see either happening, because as we all know, it is much easier to stay in a government job and complain loudly like an angry grandpa, and like a consultant talk about fish to a hungry public, than to actually catch fish.

    1. I think you should watch the video again, view things in their proper context and then comment. Such cynicism . There is no gainsaying the fact the civil service has its share of bad apple , there is not an iota of doubt about it, but to besmirch someone just to attract attention has become fashionable these days. I do not know about you , I do not know about the reactions his transfer has generated ( actually I know that many IT/Start Up in Bangalore have acknowledged the unstinted support and mentorship of Mr Krishna ) . I was a student in the early 2000s when Mr Srivatsa Krishna and his team at the APTS was making a splash for their stellar efforts to turn Hyderabad into a Cyber Mecca and it is due to tireless efforts and initiative of public weal minded folks like him that civil servants , atleast in some quarters , are still held in high esteem. Is it fair to tar all the officers with the same brush of venality , what a disincentive it is for honest ,upright officers to know inspite of their efforts they are bracketed with their corrupt brethren . I remember a conversation I had with Prof. Bala Balachandran (Emeritus Professor, Kellogg) on the sideline of a major conference sometime back and he was fulsome in his praise of the efforts of officers like Mr Srivatsa for putting Hyderabad nay India on the global technology map... I suggest, yet again, the writer of his venomous post to watch video again for what it is . We have enough of shadow warrior on the net making use of anonymity to besmirch well earned reputation. It is time we put an end to this shoot and scoot approach of us. And time also that we ring-fenced the good .

      Prof. Satya Kiran
      Anurag Group

  6. Fact remains he wasn't complaining. He was praising the good officers in IAS. And criticising those who bring bad name. Instead of jealous arm chair theorists who write nonsense above they should first see the talk. It's one of the best ever. Instead of having pride, perhaps because the writer has something to hide, he is writing foolishly

  7. Im shocked by the long meaningless comment. Mr Krishna has brought in ExxonMobil into Bangalore which will be investing around $400m dollars. He has established the Startup Warehouse where many startups get incubated. He has setup Biotechnology training program and brought out three new policies. All this is on their official website. In Delhi he setup CATS ambulance service which exists and thrives even today. I have personally spoken to those he has worked with and those who work for him, you testify he is an exceptional officer. Obviously the writer is either ignorant OR has been hit by Mr Krishna in some of his work, which is what has provoked such a meaningless and long comment. Im shocked the blog is allowing such a personal attack on a good officer.

  8. All the positive comments here are written by Mr. Krishna himself in the garb of anonymous writers. Wonder why private people are following the posts and comments here so keenly. Mr. Krishna please work rather than promoting yourself like this. Shame on you.

  9. Are you one of the corrupt IAS officers Mr Krishna is talking about? Chor ki daadi mein tinka? What kind of a cussed colorless fellow will write such a foolish comment instead of admiring such a brilliant talk?

  10. BoI values healthy debate on all issues. But we do request all our esteemed readers to restrain themselves and use only Parliamentary language while expressing their views.

  11. Everything is done in the name of President/Governor at the instance of political masters. The capital belongs to private persons. Then how can this Bureaucrat claim all credit for himself for setting up start ups and companies?

  12. i think you have not seen the talk and are just criticizing Mr Krishna for the sake of doing so. ALl through he says Government and We. and even if a bureaucrat takes credit for some work he has done, is that a crime, when most of our babus dont do productive work at all?

  13. I am shocked at this self appraisal by Krishna. Every senior officer has a large number of persons working under him. If Krishna speaks of corruption, he should also say what action he has taken against some of his subordinates. If he has not taken any action, it means either there is no one under him who is corrupt.Or what he is saying is pure bull shit.