Tuesday, October 17, 2017

M Ramachandran who narrowly missed the cabinet secretary’s post writes his memoir: The Mavericks of Mussoorie

1972 BATCH retired IAS and former union urban development secretary M Ramachandran, who had narrowly missed post of cabinet secretary, has come out with his memoir, “The Mavericks of Mussoorie” where he opens up on how and why the country’s top bureaucrat’s post eluded him. As the district magistrate of Rae Bareli in 1980s, he personally knew successive Prime Ministers -- Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, but the bureaucrat missed the bus during the UPA period itself…
as the then cabinet secretary KM Chandrasekhar got extensions for two years. Ramachandran who was also the chief secretary of Uttarakhand, ended up retiring as the urban development secretary. 
The book which unfolds many behind-the-scenes incidents of Indian bureaucracy was launched on Sunday by Vice President of India M Venkaiah Naidu.
Vice President Naidu in his address said that Ramachandra’s book provides an opportunity to acquaint the general reader more intimately with how the IAS or the bureaucracy functions, according to a statement issued by the Vice President’s office. He further said that the book also captures the professional competence, commitment to duty and hard work exhibited by the author in improving governance, adding that the higher civil services in the country have been one of the greatest contributors to nation building in the post-Independence India. “Friends, no doubt, civil servants do face complex challenges in implementing policies of the government. Instead of routinely going about the task, the bureaucrats, especially those from the IAS and other central services have to act in innovative manner to ensure that there is maximum governance and minimum government”, Naidu said.  
Vice President of India further said that the civil service has been described as the ‘steel frame’ that holds the society together because it is supposed to be an objective implementer of the laws of the land. “It has also been sometimes viewed in a negative light as too rigid and unbending. Sometimes it is also described as a steel frame that has got rusted because of inefficiency and corruption. While there are some aberrations and exceptions, I must say, the higher civil services in the country have been one of the greatest contributors to nation building in the post-Independence India. Most of them have been women and men of conviction, deep commitment and high level of competence. They have been creative translators of national policies. They have been innovative thinkers advising the political executive on policies and programmes. They have led from the front and provided India with the administrative leadership that the founding fathers like Sardar Vallabhai Patel had envisaged when they created the All India civil services in seventy years ago”, he said.


  1. Influence is the biggest factor in such appointments. Such biographies are only an act of lament on part of retired bureaucrats.

  2. Lt. General (R) JoshiOctober 18, 2017 at 2:09 AM

    Cabinet Secretary is nothing but "Secretary to the Cabinet of India". That is all.

    Just being appointed and warming up chairs/seats/posts is no more needed in India. The country need educated, meritorious, competent individuals only Performance should speak for itself.

    It is time that the post of Cabinet Secretary is open to members of all civil services in India. It should not be for IAS only. IAS is only one among many AIS and Central Civil Services.

    Dr. Manmohan Singh with his Oxbridge education and UN assignment couldn't perform well as PM. No wonder Mr. Modi became PM. No more seat warmers in Government of India.

    1. Dear Sir

      While I agree with some of what you have posted it seems you harbour some jealousy of IAS. If you were truly keen to introduce meritocracy you would have said that any professional can apply for cabinet secretary. I personally believe that anyone who has spent 30+ years in any government service - civil or military - is actually not fit to be cabinet secretary (or any other important administrative position). Why not encourage someone who is CEO of an indian company to join?

      Also, I am surprised you sign your name as Lt Gen (R) when any young officer knows that ranks never retire, only individual retires. You are Lt Gen Joshi (R), not Lt Gen (R) Joshi. Kindly take note.

      Brig. S.S.Dhillon (r)


    2. Lt. General (R) JoshiOctober 22, 2017 at 4:44 PM

      Mr. Brigadier,

      You are not a serving but a retired officer of the Indian Armed Forces. Lets be clear about that and not beat around the bush.

      Ranks never retire! Who are you kidding? A retired CEO of a private company will never say CEO Mr. XY (Retired, Microsoft). This bullshit need to stop. This privilege does not exist with civil services and neither in political establishment.

      I hope government servants stop and their double standards and do jobs what they are supposed to do.

    3. http://www.indiandefencereview.com/news/military-arrogance-of-seniority/

    4. Lt. General (R) JoshiOctober 29, 2017 at 6:01 PM

      Mr. Amit Ghosh,

      The Intelligence Unit of the Economist Magazine ranks India as a flawed democracy. India is not a pure or neither a full democracy.

      India is currently a free country only because Indian Armed Forces are doing their jobs.

      The day there is no Armed Forces in India, be prepared to be a slave under the ISIS or Pakistan or some other Mughal or European invaders. Be ready for a Azad J&K!

      US is only a superpower because its Armed Forces is super strong as its military expenditure is US$600 billion. India only spends US$50 billion; whereas China (PRC) spends US$250 billion.

    5. 1. Economist is right. We all have our work cut out..
      2. India's freedom and sovereignty are a national project, the army indubitably plays a critical role, as it must.
      3. No one can envisage a day without the armed forces guarding the frontiers and protecting the nation against enemy states as well as non-state actors.
      4. Expenditure on defence is critical to achieving geo-strategic goals of the country and the level of defence expenditure is a function of national GDP. In 1750 AD, China and India contributed more than 50% of world's GDP. 5. Nation building is a complex task and a work in progress. All must contribute to this project. Disputes within elements comprising the nation building team might be there but ultimately the nation must come first, always and every time.

  3. Why Defence personnel , including retired defence officers, have such a hatred and bias against civil servants (particularly IAS)? Doesn't make any sense!

    1. Lt. General (R) JoshiOctober 22, 2017 at 5:02 PM

      Mr. Anonymous,

      There is no hatred. But there is need to understand that why all IAS officers are promoted 11 to 15 years ahead in comparison to all other AIS services and Central Civil Services?

      Why does it take CSS cadre, ISS, IES, ITS, Indian Railway Service to complete a minimum of 28 years service to become Joint Secretary (GOI); whereas, all IAS officers have only 15 years of total work experience to be promoted to this rank.

      What does the IAS do so special, that makes All other civil service officers and military officers dumb?

    2. IAS Officers are definitely given an advantage only because they are IAS. Their field experience is limited only to 5-7 years of posing as DM or SDO. After hey become glorified clerks in Secretariate , their job is to endorse the note initiated by clerks. I know many of hem rather most of them can not violate or counter he notes given by clerk. This leaves them with job of chamchgiri to political bosses and managing posting. The situaltion is just reverse with other services from IPS downwards and Army.