I was shocked to see two contrasting news items on TV portraying ground realities of mid-day scheme in Bihar and Gujarat.First Bihar. The scheme is implemented there without supervision. Food is cooked under the most unheigenic conditions near the toilets and cow sheds with no seating arrangements for the poor children who looked emaciated and malnourished. Did the DM and Commissioner ever conducted surprise checks? Bihar’s administrators and the political class must hang their heads in shame.They must explain ,how public funds are being siphoned off. On the contrary, Gujarat government is funding a Karnataka-based NGO in procuring State-of-the- art equipment for cooking meals and serve them to students,across the board.The children in Gujarat looked contented.

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The CBI,while opposing Centre’s Accounability Panel”, has in its affidavit filed in Supreme court on July 16, has sought a three years term for its Director with enhanced status of Secretary to GOI. One woners whether the suggestions would succeed in insulating the head of premier investive agency from extraneous influences?These demands are of tertiary importance. Instead, it will be meaningful to locate an officer, who could withstand political pressures. Hon’ble Supreme court’s frequent indictments of the agency, is a wake up call. Considering the moral degeneration of the political class, personality takes precedence over Status. The likes of former Directors of CBI : D P Kohli ( 1963-68), F V Arul (1968-71) and D Sen (1971-77) –all from Indian Police (IP), have become extinct species. The political Executive could never approach them for favours. M G Pimputkar ICS could send shivers down the spines of the political and bureaucratical class One hopes the law makers take a holistic view , while debating the draft Bill on CBI’s autonomy in Parliament.

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The CBI in an affidavit to Supreme court on July 16, has sought a three year term for its head with a raise in his status to that of Secretary. This has sent shock waves across all civil services. Will this,one wonders, insulate the head of premier investive agency from extraneous influences? Is this not an exercise in self-promotion and self-perpetuation.For appointing the head of CBI, it would be meaningful to look for someone who is not pliable and could stand his ground before the political Executive. No purpose will be served by enhancing the tenure from 2 to 3 years and raising the status to that of Secretary. Worse, the suggestions will have far reaching repercussions on the posts of Director (IB), Director RAW, CVC etc. This will open a pandora's box of similar demands from other quarters that the government will find difficult to resist.These are absurd propositions to perpetuate oneself. One hopes the law makers will take the entire scenario into consideration while discussing the draft Bill on CBI’s autonomy in the Parliament.

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Used to taking orders from its political masters ,the CBI does not seem interested in getting total autonomy in investigating corruption cases. The infamous ‘single directive’ rule contained in the CVC Act 2003 remains undisturbed,courtesy the political executive. This draconian rule is being misused by the politians in power, as a tool to protect favourite civil servants who have acceded to irregular executive demands.This single factor is at the root of all corruption scams in the country.

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One wonders whether the cabinet’s decisions would succeed in insulating CBI from political interferences. These need to be re-visited due to following reasons : (i) PM’s inclusion in the collegium for selecting Director, CBI, would be meaningless,he being a “caged parrot” himself.Similarly, LoP (LS) is a politician. Why have politicians in the collegium ? The ruling dispensation as well as the party represented by LOP (LS) would prefer a “pliant” officer as Director CBI. In this regard, the observation of Justice P Sathasivam,CJI-designate (TOI dt July 1,2013)is timely. He is opposed to re-employing retired judges to head inquiry panels. Thus, in order to thwart political interference in appointing Director ,CBI ,having a panel of two serving judges of SC headed by CJI ,would be a better option. For the same reasons, getting CBI’s investigations overseen by the “oversight panel” of three serving (instead of the proposed retired) judges would be more appropriate.(ii)Also, the existing practice of giving post-retirement assignments to former Directors of CBI as Members of UPSC, NHRC, Inquiry commissions, Governors etc , must be given a good- bye . This gives the ruling government draconian powers to manipulate the retiring CBI Directors by holding out hopes of future rewards of coveted assignments, provided they fall in line. (iii)Law officers must be appointed with great care after consulting the bar and verifying their credentials.Some Law Officers, appointed by the Congress-led UPA, seriously compromised the dignity of their offices. They are liable to be politically managed.The clash between the Attorney General and a former ASG (since resigned) in 2G scam, became a free-for-all.(iv) Since the MHA will continue to remain the Cadre controlling authothority for all IPS officers in CBI, their maneuvering by politicians and bureaucrats,could not be ruled out. s Unless the above issues are first addressed through debates in Parliament,the cabinet decisions will remain a ruse to fool the gullible public. The situation will be far worse than present with the “cadged parrot”, instead of getting independence,will have its wings clipped.No jumping out of frying pan into fire !

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According to the NSSO 68th Round of survey , poorest of the poor in India survive on barely Rs.17 per day in villages and Rs.23 a day in cities.

Two years ago, the Planning Commission drew flak for setting the poverty line at Rs.26 per capita per day in rural areas and Rs.32 per capita per day in urban areas.

Seems to be true. Members of Parliament survive on a THALI in Parliament House costing Rs 10.The UPA-II ensures food security for MPs

Who cares for declining GDP and galloping inflation and record-breaking corruption ?Every thing is hunky dory.

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The Chairperson and Members UPSC enjoy the status and privileges equivalent to that of Cabinet Secretary. The Chairperson is first among equals.Member UPSC A P Singh’s (IPS 74, Jharkhand) visit to union Home Secretary (IAS 75,Bihar ) was Constitutionally inappropriate. Raising suspicion was natural as he had served as  Director,CBI for two years  till relinquishment of  charge on Nov 30,2012. Prior to becoming Member UPSC in Feb 2013,Singh handled several high profile  sensitive cases.He must be often meeting the Home Secretary to take instructions  as  Director CBI. Old habits die hard.He ,surely, did not visit the Home Secretary for a chat or courtesy call.One wonders whether views on sensitive cases were shared between them. But, he did certainly compromise his position as Member UPSC. Ironically, both officers were selected by the UPSC. Are we to blame the Commission for selecting such brilliant officers? Ignorance of protocol cannot be an alibi for violating the oath of secrecy and upholding the dignity of UPSC.Having served in UPSC as Joint Secretary in early nineties,I have some knowledge of its internal functioning.I did not hear of any Chairperson and Members having visited any one except the President or the Prime Minister. I trust the same practice continues till date. I feel that calling on the Prime Minister should be considered inappropriate as he could influence the UPSC. In this context, I would share an actual episode narrated by a civil servant  in his autobiography.Sh R N Banerjee ICS who served as Chairperson UPSC from 1949 to 1955, was summoned by Pt Nehru for recommending a candidate for selection by interview into IAS. Banerjee’s outright refusal carried the desired message to the then PM. Such officers are an extinct specie.

Would the Commission take the call to avoid recurrence of similar faux pas in future, overtly or covertly ?

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The Supreme Court  while hearing the case of alleged irregularities in coal blocks   allocation had indicted the premier investigating agency for being a "caged parrot" of its political masters and directed it to make an effort to come out with a law to insulate CBI from external influence. As per newspaper report (IE, June 25), the GOI now proposes to constitute an  “Accountability Committee” of retired Judges to oversee CBI’s investigations. GOM’s report,it is understood, will be submitted to  Cabinet on June 27 and the affidavit to Supreme court on July 6. It is to be seen whether the govt’s proposal would stand the judicial scrutiny of the Apex Court  on July 10,2013,the date of next hearing.

The CrPC confers sufficient autonomy for unfettered investigation to the CBI. It is a different thing that successive Directors of CBI chose to  kowtow to politicians instead of exercising their legitimate authority. There is no systemic fault. A serving IPS officer who,as a deputationist, had investigated several high profile cases in CBI ,confided in me that there was no institutional or legal hindrance in conducting fair investigations provided the top echelons in CBI did not succumb to extraneous pressures. The need for reinforcement is now felt due to persistent misuse of investigating  agency by successive ruling dispensations. Situation has now reached a flashpoint.

All things considered, the ongoing autonomy exercise will prove futile unless: (a) the issue of CBI Director’s initial appointment is taken out of clutches of GOI and (b) the deputation policy  for induction of  IPS officers into CBI at the level of SP and above, is reviewed-lock,stock and barrel- to improve better promotional avenues  of home grown, in –house cadred officers of CBI. This is a frustrated lot.The deputationists from the States could be susceptible to political pressures and that of  MHA as their Cadre Controlling Authority.

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Discrimination based on  castes is an electoral fraud. While, atrocities against SC/ST is common in rural areas, there is  reverse discrimination against Non-SC/ST employees in urban areas.

Consider the flip side.Coteries of SC/ST  employees have sprouted in  govt. offices,hospitals, teaching institutions in full view of  authorities. By misusing the “Brahmaastra”  of caste card, the coteries, at times,slap fabricated charges against others, supported by fake witnesses. The authorities have turned a blind eye to resultant frustration simmering across the board. The GOI has fuelled mistrust among different communities .For instance,  DOP&T’s guidelines on Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) envisage the mandatory presence of an SC/ST officer to participate in DPC’s meetings.The doubting Thomas acts as a watchdog on DPC’s decision making and forces his/her subjective opinions on the outcome.Reservation is an electoral fraud for political parties. Mayavati is desperately trying to woo the “Brahmins” while demanding at the same time reservations in promotions. What extraordinary paradoxes.Baba Bheem Rao Ambedkar would never have approved of  the present condescending approach towards SC/ST that makes them dependent on the government. It is high time the law makers rose above vote bank politics and  took legislative measures to stop further division of Indian society

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After Union Home Minister’s  googly on Bastar carnage, comes a bouncer from his Home Secretary whose missive is a serious indictment of DG CRPF. This is a case of : “Passing the Buck”. True to his genre, R K Singh  enjoys making thoughtless statements without application of mind. His fault-finding outburst must have  demotivated the CRPF officers.The federal States police forces are ill-equipped,ill-trained to take on the Maoists.That explains why the MHA decided to deploy CRPF that is beleaguered by its own problems of  “performance anxiety”.If the CRPF troops are killed in the maoist violence,they are proceeded against departmentally for disciplinary actions.This robbed them of initiative in carrying out anti-insurgency operations for fear of losing its troops.R K Singh is being unfair in setting the agenda for his successor.The motive is clear: To cover his own failures . His accolades to Delhi’s Police Commissioner in the wake of infamous Delhi bus gang rape was unjust,unfair  and undeserved. He is a loose cannon, who does not make sense. Why did he fail to address the problems and take remedial steps instead of playing blame game at the fag end of his career? Whom is he trying to please by his senseless statements? Why did he fail to plug the supply lines to the Maoists who are reportedly receiving funds and weapons from China and the ISI?

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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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