PM Modi’s decision to haul up top Railway officers for negligence in UP rail accident, is praise-worthy.

Ironically,the Railway services officers have benefited the most from cadre reviews (CR).Accelerated promotions without raising accountability standards, increase the comfort zone of bureaucracy.

Let us take the cadre review debate furthe.

GOI is mulling over 25% job cuts in its strength, screams one prominent daily. Whispersinthecorridors.com regularly monitors progress of cadre review ( CR) proposals of organised Gr A Services.

What about various Gr B services that face the brunt of the cuts. The country needs a slim, trim and bureaucracy, fully committed to work instead of idling away time due to lack of work.  The job cut plan of GOI, If, inspired by the objective of curtailing bludgeoning government office expenditure , it deserves appreciation.

What is the ground reality?

The reality check will uncover the covert plan of top bureaucracy. DOP&T along with cadre controlling authorities increase number of top posts through the charade of Cadre review,which is a a tool to fulfil the expansionist designs . This results in an inverted pyramid of top bureaucracy with bulging middle standing on effete bottom.

Some mathematical formulation and checklist are used by the CR div of DOP&T,to justify creation of top rung posts. A simple clerical check. No application of mind.

The trick employed by smart cadre controlling authorities to make the cadre review proposals “budget-neutral “, is to abolish posts at  lower rungs and show savings matching savings, at times notional.

Career progression of top officers involves creation of additional posts without reference to workload requirement.The role of Staff Inspection Unit (SIU) in MoF was gradually diluted by UPA govt before finally scrapping it. Thanks to the wisdom of the then successive Finance ministers Pranab Mukherjee and P Chidambaram. Worse, in the anxiety for quick promotions at par with the IAS, in cases, where eligible candidates were not available due to non-fulfilment of conditions contained in Rectt Rules, promotions were made on ad hoc basis.

Situation in some ministries has become topsy turvy . Jobs earlier performed by Director-level functionaries are now handled by ADG and DG level officers.This is how bureaucrats create work for each other.

Instead of addressing the public concerns relating to cutting down on bureaucratic obesity , the GOI, as a ritual, announces its decision, year after year, to inject fresh blood by hiring private sector professionals for top management positions in PSUs and government  bureaucracy. 

This is one way to impress business houses. The induction experiment,one may recall, has already failed due to differences in work-cultures in private and government sector. Imprudent decision.

Though, PM Modi has attention for details, but, he cannot be expected to devote time on micro- details.Top bureaucracy,instead of briefing him truthfully, grabs the opportunity to suppress details of negative implications of carrying out cadre reviews in organised services. 

Elevated incumbents in several ministries are searching for work; others are prompt in demanding additional facilities (as per new entitlements) like  fully-furnished bigger rooms, independent chauffeur- driven cars, new furnitures, TV sets, additional back-up manpower supports etc. This adds to office expenses.

Did the GOI in MoF ever think of quantifying the financial implications of such seemingly innocuous cadre review exercises and increase in concomitant expenses ?

The Indian Economic Service, cadre-controlled by MoF,is the biggest beneficiary. Both IES and the ISS,its sister service ,got immense benefits by creating top posts in respective cadres,without assessment of workload justifying creation of new posts by abolishing posts at lower rungs.

Other organised Services particularly the IPS, IRS (IT), IRS ( Custom & Excise), Telecom, Railways etc have grown top heavy by virtue of cadre reviews.

More officers, more corruption.Some elevated officers without adequate workload serve as devils’ advocates.

Disciplinary action is often cited to do away with dead wood,the non-performing human assets

The CVC has hit the roadblock as government deptts are withholding sanctions to prosecute 84 corrupt officers . These 84 officers are reportedly involved in 45 cases of alleged wrongdoing. Some cases have been pending sanction for up to five years despite the political leadership pushing for strict action against corrupt government officers. Horrible state of affairs.

A word about non-performing officers. PM Modi has been persistently stressing upon the importance of finalising disciplinary proceedings against Group A officers.One wonders whether the CVOs in ministries, PSUs, Banks ,are taking their jobs  seriously. Investigations move at snails’ pace. PMO must reprimand the laggards.

Media reports that 138 graft cases attracting Prevention of Corruption Act,  have been pending in Supreme court due to delay in deciding appeals, some as old as 15 years

PM Modi, one trusts,is honest  and incorruptible.But,his blind reliance on bureaucracy ,is a matter of concern.He may guard against it .

PM is urged to take action on the following lines:-

(a) keep all cadre review proposals in abeyance ;

(b) Revive SIU or a similar professional body in MOF for scrutinising manpower demands of ministries and deptts of GOI ;

(c) Subject all cadre review proposals to scrutiny by SIU on workload basis.

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Recent Media reports opposing  creation of National Judicial Service (NJC ) by 9 high courts ( AP,Bombay, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, MP, Patna, Punjab &Haryana) make disturbing reading.While, Sikkim,Tripura  Jharkhand ,Rajasthan  are still to firm-up their stands,States like Kerala, Chhatisgarh, Allahabad,Manipur, HP, Meghalay, Orissa oppose Centre’s proposal.

Relying on provisions in the Constitution buttressed by advice/ recommendations of the Law Commission,  the Supreme Court and the Parliamentary Standing Committee on law and justice, the  ruling dispensation wrote to all States for seeking their views. It is not competent to create a new Service unilaterally.

As per proposed scheme of things ,the Centre will have no say in the recruitment and posting process. Top judiciary to have full authority in selection and appointment of  judicial officers. No executive interference. The merit order list to be prepared based on cut-offs and reservation policy as decided by top judiciary.

The States have their own judicial services; administrative control vesting with High courts. Unless the High courts and States agree to creation of NJS , the Centre cannot decide.Recruitments are presently made either by High courts or State PSCs. Attracting best talent becomes the casualty. Roles of some State PSCs have been dubious. Charges of nepotism, favouritism, flying thick and fast.Posts on sale by auction.Chairperson of UP-PSC is facing the heat for selecting candidates belonging to a particular community.All under former ruling dispensation.

Consider loop holes in the existing process of selection . No consistency, no uniformity in the conduct of exams by different States. Different syllabii and different difficulty levels of Question papers set by different examiners. And worse, different norms of valuation. Recruitments are presently made either by High courts or State PSCs. Attracting best talent becomes the casualty. 

It is strange that the unethical practices Take Subordinate Judiciary. Position far from hunky dory. Pathetic Charges of corruption, favouritism and arbitrariness abound. Zero accountability .

Poor qualities of judgements.Frequent adjournments on frivolous grounds cause undue harassments to litigants. Unholy nexus between the prosecution and the defence lawyers with blessings of willing judges. Tareekh pe tareekh; tareekh pe tareekh, a bollywood jumla, is a ground reality.

The judiciary habitually complains of large backlog of vacancies of sub-judges when questioned by higher courts about massive pendency of cases numbering about 3 crores.

Around 5,000 posts of sub-judges are reportedly lying vacant.Intake is low and quality poor.

This is admitted privately by members of the Bar.

The Supreme court is urged to put its foot down and give due consideration to ensure transparency in making  fool-proof selection of meritorious judges to subordinate judiciary.

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Indian army has 39 military farms, housing some 25,000 cattle, occupying 20,000 acres of land across the country. British legacy.Cows milk was utilised by British officers and their orderlies.No longer popular with indian army officers when shelf-stable, higienically manufactured canned milk is readily available.

Employing about 20 officers and 2,000 civilians, the annual cost of maintenance of infrastructure of military farms is reported to be Rs 300 crores.Not economically viable.

It is time to consider proper utilisation of land in public interest.

Let the Army auction the cattle and valuable land to get handsome revenue and divert the money to make India’s Armed forces battle ready.

The Gau rakshak goons must keep their hands off.

Besides military farms , there are large patches of vacant land owned by the Army spread all over the country. One is not sure whether these serve any purpose for the army.

If not in use, these could be meaningfully utilized by the central government for implementing social sector schemes.

Acquisition should, no doubt, be subject to  approval of the Armed forces and without jeopardising  national security.

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China is India's permanent enemy. We must talk tough with China and remain battle-ready. India’s candy-floss foreign policy emboldens China to wild gesticulation, over estimating its potential. India must keep enhancing its missile technology, naval quotient. All at fast pace.

China’s mindless pestering through government-controlled daily the “Global Times “ and official  spokespersons deserve forceful reposte from India.

China threatens attacking India,if , it does not first withdraw troops from Doklam and stop “ interference “ in Bhutan.

India must set its own pre-conditions for settling border dispute with China on holistic basis. Aggression is the best form of defence.

Consider the following factors

China must be continuously warned about its continuous infringements of bilateral and multilateral treaties to satisfy its insatiable appetite for land

(a) China must vacate Tibet and restore its autonomy to pre- 7 October 1950 position when it was taken over by China . Guarantee of non- interference in future is a must ; 

(b) Must restore Aksai Chin to India. Forcibly occupied by China in 1958. Nehru’s historic blunder.

(c) Must demolish and stop further construction at Doklam. Recall how Aksai chin road  was constructed , not insidiously. But, missed out by IB. Pt Nehru broke the news to Parliament an year too late. Lot of fireworks was generated in Parliament.

(d) Must stop bullying India;

(e) Must stop poking Bhutan;

(f ) Must stop abetting indian Maoists ;

(g) Must stop incursions into India -- HP, AP, Sikkim, Uttranchal

(h)Chinese intelligence is hyper-active in inciting the north-eastern militant groups. In retaliation, the unrest among the Chinese Uyghur muslim population, must be addressed.

(i ) Declare Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin as a global terrorist  and blocking India’s application  by misusing its Veto power.

China must be warned by World powers for continuous infringements of bilateral and multilateral treaties to satisfy its insatiable appetite for land that is increasing by the day.

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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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