Monday, February 29, 2016

5 Most Powerful Bureaucrats 2015: Who are they and how they influence corridors' power dynamics

THE BoI list of 5 Most Powerful Bureaucrats, 2015, is out. As we had mentioned in our December 31, 2015 post, there were very few powerful bureaucrats at the Centre in 2015, making it difficult for the BoI to prepare a more acceptable and error-free list. Since 2009, this website has been publishing an annual list of 5 Most Powerful Bureaucrats sometime in August-September every year. For 2015, BoI finds former IPS, ex-spy and current National Security Adviser Ajit Doval as the most powerful bureaucrat. Yes, there were criticism against him when…
the Pathankot terror attack on the New Year's day was somewhat mishandled. But in the end of the day, Doval is by far more powerful than any other bureaucrats in India, according to the feedback we have received from about 50 people including politicians, bureaucrats and journalists who understand the dynamics of the power corridor.
Actually, there is no surprise element in having Doval as the most powerful bureaucrat in India. In 2014 BoI Power List too, Doval topped the list. A highly decorated police officer of Kerala cadre, Doval retired as director of Intelligence Bureau in 2005. Looking back, the highpoint of his career was his seven years long stay in Lahore as a Pakistani Muslim, a feat that earns him the reputation of a super-spy, and some goes to the extent of comparing him to Hollywood character James Bond.
But his power under Modi regime comes mainly on two grounds. First, the NSA is such as position that automatically gives huge power to the incumbent. All intelligence outfits including Research and Analysis Wing and Intelligence Bureau report to him. Secondly and more importantly, Doval has full confidence of the PM. He travels with PM whenever the latter goes on a foreign visit and many say, he also influences the PM beyond the matters of national security. 
Let’s now check out who are the 4 other most powerful bureaucrats.

2nd Most Powerful Bureaucrat and how he keeps lobbyists at bay
The man behind taking a decisive stand after withstanding all pressure from the telecom lobby and international giant Facebook, and preserving what’s called net neutrality is none other than a bureaucrat — Ram Sewak Sharma, a 1978 batch former IAS of Jharkhand cadre.

Why S Jaishankar is 3rd Most Powerful Bureaucrat 
The way Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought in S Jaishankar, the topper of 1977 batch IFS, as India’s foreign secretary in January end, 2015, by virtually sacking 1976 batch incumbent officer Sujatha Singh, says it all – Jaishankar is influential, powerful, talented and preferred to his peers to anchor India’s diplomacy.

Twitter Bureaucrats wield power, get 4th position
Yes, corridors' power rules have changed. A bureaucrat no longer derives power just from signing a file. The power of a bureaucrat also comes from the number of Twitter followers or number of comments that he or she gets in a Facebook post.

5th Most Powerful Bureaucrat: Sanyal, Singh and Bhanu
Based on the feedback that we have received, and considering the current trend of bureaucrats voluntarily deciding to move to the states, BoI has spotted a few power-hubs at the state level.

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