September 1530

OROP Logjam

All eyes on OROP. The outcome is in limbo .The Golden Jubilee celebrations of 1965 Indo-Pak war was boycotted by war veterans. Blame game is on. The veterans blame top officers of Ministries of  Defence and  Finance for delaying crucial decisions. The ubiquitous presence of clones of  Sir Humphrey Appleby in Indian bureaucracy has deferred resolution of veterans’ demands. The bureaucracy, it is alleged, opposed OROP from inception ostensibly due to vested interests. Is  higher bureaucracy feeling threatened on quantum of pensions to veterans? 

The veterans seeking intervention of India’s Supreme Commander of Armed Forces ( The President) will be an exercise in futility? The latter failed to find a solution even as FM. Negotiations alone would help. Mutual acrimony would demoralize the armed forces. Prolonging the uncertainty would increase trust . Differences must be narrowed down and demands made affordable.Sooner,the better. One trusts, there will be light at the end of the tunnel? 

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Jats and Gujjars already fighting for OBC status.

The existing SC,ST and OBC ,feeling threatened, are in agitation mode against Hardik Patel.

Simmering discontentment could spin out of control leading to a civil war.

It is time to scrap RESERVATION policy

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The Indian Skill Development Service ( ISDS) Group “A”  organized service   created under  Union ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship is a good initiative by the Centre to meet challenges of demographic dividend. Its cascading effect in States cannot be stopped. Digital India requires  a slim, trim bureaucracy to replace the existing monolith. Demands for creating   top level posts with supporting and administrative staff, recruitment and maintenance cannot be stifled.

Solution?  A complete  ban on creation of new posts, appointment of superannuated bureaucrats  as consultants on contract basis , purchase of staff cars, hiring of office space etc. Let the GOI make-do it requirement from  out of its surplus  human resources and physical assets. Engage serving officers and staff on deputation from other ministries.

The list of 125 officers identified by PMO for sacking, will not make a dent.Dead wood has to be weeded out both on grounds of poor performance and corruption. Create ISDS by all means. But, aim for a slim and  smart  bureaucracy. It is now or never.

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Referring to downsizing bureaucracy for better governance, PM Modi had  made a clarion call  : “ Minimum Government , Maximum Governance “. Did he measure upto the stated policy ? Here is the reality check . Was the dead wood chopped off ? Was intake into the oversized bureaucracy truncated? Inaction  has made the bureaucratic structure take  the shape of an inverted pyramid-  Top heavy  with a  bulging middle  and effete base to stand on.  Too many bosses to supervise too few subordinates , is a common sight. A joke in digital age, PM Modi is so passionate about.

 DOP&T  (Cadre Review Div), pushed by PMO, tenaciously  pursues the mandate of ‘ Cadre Restructuring of organized  services ‘ on quinquinnial basis. Motive:  Faster promotions at top echelons. The functional necessity and workload requirement behind creating higher level posts by abolishing posts at lower rungs ( to achieve  matching savings  and make the cadre review proposal  budget- neutral )  is never checked through M/Finance’s  SIU . Illogical and simplistic. Earlier, such proposals were shelved after notification of  successive Pay Commissions.  

Appointing “Consultants “ by re-employing retired officers (on contract)  is a scam going on in  Ministries/PSUs/ Autonomous bodies etc. Payment of huge emoluments in addition to pension is a drain on tax payers’ money . Existing dispensation ( PM and FM) is mute spectator of the profligacy initiated by P. Chidambaram in UPA regime.

PM Modi  is blissfully unaware. At least, so it seems. His top bureaucratic aides have much to explain.

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Policy statements by successive governments, highlighting “ Zero tolerance to corruption” have been non-starters? Recent initiatives by the present political dispensation brazenly contradict the stated policy:-- (a)With amendment to Prevention of corruption Act, the already thin dividing line between  " corruption" and honest error " has  vanished . Giving benefit of doubt to corrupt civil servants is now discretionary , liable to be misused by the Executive apparently for boosting  the “ sagging morale “ of bureaucracy.

 (b) No smoke without fire. Verifiable anonymous complaints, at times, contain explosive information about illegal practices . Suppression  is unethical .These must be pursued to logical culmination . Trashing the same will oxygenate scams.  It would be simplistic to ignore un-named complaints citing  reasons like “Policy paralysis “ , shortage of manpower in anti-corruption  agencies like CBI, CVC, CVOs, ED, IT for verification. Fill vacancies with best brains instead of making excuses. Strengthen Vigilance wings in all ministries, deptts, PSUs and autonomous organizations.

(c)PM’s latest directive prohibiting govt. officers from sending  even named complaints to PMO , amounts to bureaucratic gag.What is the alternative,if, HODs in ministries refuse to take these seriously. Need for preventive vigilance has been diluted. Non-cognizance of anonymous complaints will force- multiply  corruption. Worse still, in absence of protection to whistleblowers, sending “ named “ complaints is  dangerous. 

PM Modi is urged to re-visit the policy decisions against this background.

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Public awards and recognitions are arbitrary and discretionary , motivated by extraneous considerations.

Nehru and Indira Gandhi got their names recommended for Bharat Ratna, as serving PMs.

Bharat Ratna Sachin Tendulkar is brand ambassadors for commercial products like fans, inverters etc with enhanced endorsement fees.

Padma Vibhushan Amitabh Bachhan is selling " Chyavan Prash" and some " Kesh tail ".

Mera Desh Mahaan.

Paradoxically, the Padma awards catapulted some nondescript beneficiaries to sudden fame.

Why not scrap these awards ?

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About A.K.Saxena

A K SAXENA, an Indian national, is a retired civil servant from Government of India He is also a freelance journalist with several published investigative articles and columns in various fields to his credit. His writings are a reflection of his interest in writing on divergent themes and making the topics relevant to a wider audience. A post graduate in Chemistry from University of Delhi,he could not sustain his interest in pursuing research and instead chose to enter the government service through the IAS etc exam held by the UPSC. “KALASAVYA” that brought out several publications besides organizing cultural shows.


You can contact me at

aksaxena1947@gmail.com

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