Thursday, August 11, 2016

Corruption in Senior Bureaucracy: A free-wheeling commentary by an anonymous IAS officer

A THOROUGH data mining of the past corruption cases of senior bureaucrats stored in agencies such as Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) will reveal some kind of a pattern of corruption by senior bureaucrats in the government, both at the Centre and the states. But an IAS officer claiming to have 10 years of experience revealed a lot early this week while answering a question on Quora, a popular question-answer website. The question was — what is the lifestyle of an IAS officer? The post, seen so far by over 2.3 lakh visitors, went viral in social media sites on Monday. There, the officer mentioned about…
relatively poor salary in government, overtime work, least time to be spared for the family etc., but the officer’s observations on corruption are not only interesting but are closer to the reality, according to a number of officers saying without being named.
As estimated by this anonymous IAS writer, 10% IAS officers are “extremely corrupt” looking for money in clearing each file whereas 20 to 40% are “moderately corrupt” with rates fixed only for certain types of work such as clearing layout designs etc. In both these categories, the officers make in crores in a year through corrupt practices. The next 20 to 40% are “less corrupt” who take bribes from builders, industrialists etc., but don’e harass them if bribes are not paid. There are 10% who accepts freebies ranging from free cinema ticket and free dining to free hotel stay etc. And the last 10% are “extremely honest”. The anonymous officer then writes about instances of IAS officers travelling in state transport bus, sleeper coach of train for personal travel so as to save money. Another instance of a secretary-level officer not availing a club facility to save Rs 12,000 per year is also highlighted.
Then, can the corrupt IAS officers be compared with corrupt bureaucrats belonging to other services According to the anonymous IAS officer's post, IAS ranks just below armed forces and higher judiciary in terms of number of honest officers, but it is way above other services such as IPS, IRS etc. and also PSUs, engineering services, lower judiciary etc.
Another interesting line of the post is when the anonymous writer says, restaurant and cinema hall owners usually refuse to take payment from IAS. “But this is usually 2-3 times in a year luxury”, the “officer” adds. 
(Disclaimer: Those figures are not based on any survey or actual findings, but taken from a post by someone being identified as an IAS officer with a decade-long experience)


  1. Now we are waiting eagerly for IRS officers to yell at IAS officers!:) Corruption in armed forces is a fact

  2. Respected All,

    One should appreciate the frank message by the officer. It may be true that some officers are corrupt in every cadre / hierarchy, but quantifying the proportions and rank-ordering the services is bit too much, could be erroneous.

    Though the Government service gives great respect, stature, stability etc., the incomes are moderate, one has to learn to live with in the means be it elite IAS or other services. If not happy, one could always quit and venture on own business / private jobs etc.,

    Nice to know that there are decent number of honest officers, now with decent 7 cpc salary wish their proportion is more.

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    This is the hard reality at ground zero.

    A K SAXENA (A retd civil servant)

  5. When I joined in 1962 we never heard of corruption in the service. I travelled with my ration box and my personal servant who would cook my food.I was even chastised by the then Dy CM of MP Mr Saklecha for refusing to eat food in a panchayat reception for him.
    I never attended any party in my 14 years in Delhi and my family travelled only in 3rd sleeper excepting under LTC. My flew by air for the first time when we had to visit our ailing daughter in Mumbai.When I left India ona posting to the US my bankbalance was less than Rs 10,000 as my take home salary was around Rs 12000 as Secy.GOI. I was rewarded well by the govt.with good postings and I never had to compromise with my conscience.Many IAS officers remain absolutely honest.
    But now the position has sharply deteriorated with a number of them getting arrested for blatant corruption when salaries are several times more.
    A thorough psychological evaluation of the candidates are required before their appointments to the AIS about their proclivity for corruption, violence and cowardice

  6. But sir is it possible to survive in d system with absoute integrity, say in a state like UP where even local mla's frequently interfere with action taken by you against criminals. May be in the 60s and 70s the politicians were committed to public service n interffered less with bureaucrats' work

  7. Definately, it is possible to survive in any kind of system.
    It is the moral values and its strength that helps move in the most corrupt is personal integrity and not external force. Definately, moving against a corrupt system is difficult and sometimes very difficult for oneself and the family.
    Only a honest person can understand this and value it.