September 1201

Municipal Decay ?

Where have our footpaths vanished?  The Indian citizens are demanding these back. The police is reluctant and insensitive to removing encroachers from public land. Reason? It is their assured source of regular income. Consider India’s capital city. Multiplicity of municipal authorities in Delhi is confusing. Details of controlling municipalities like DDA,NDMC,MCD(East,west,north,south ) the Delhi Police Stations , their officers concerned , Vigilance cells, are never displayed. The Aam Aadmi does not know where to complain. This helps the hawkers, encroachers belonging to unorganized sectors. Complaints made to zonal  Municipal Commissioners and Delhi Police Commissioner, are not even acknowledged.

Will the MHA (In- charge of Delhi Police)and Urban Development ministries apply their mind to the menace ,at least, in Delhi,to begin with ?

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The states have no power over allocation of coal blocks . 

All policy matters are decided by the GOI alone. 

It is not on the concurrent list. 

The states can only make recommendations. 

In the present case ,the recommendations made by the Opposition-ruled states were straightaway rejected by the UPA-I&II despite clear opposition from successive Coal Secretaries at the Centre.

Any defence by the Congressmen is meaningless.Their denigration of Constitutional or Statutary institutions merits derision and condemnation!

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The Kaalchakra churns out fresh scams  as older ones keep fading from memory. Recall some scams and events that  rocked the country . The list is illustrative,not exhaustive : Telgi’s fake stamp paper scam; Satyam  fiasco; Quattrocchi’s  grand escape; 2G spectrum allocation; CWG scam; wasting  Plan funds   by   Mayavati for erecting  statues ; Vote-for-cash scam;  high inflation rate; declining  GDP; Unusual  hikes in  rates of power, water and petrol; Soft-pedalling investigations against  Mayavati and Mulayam Singh Yadav in lieu of  their support to  the Congress; wasteful expenditure on  VIPs Security including that on  "democratic monarchy";  quid pro quo defence deals; Tetra scam; corruption in judiciary;  Municipal decay; Wire-tapping of former FM’s chamber and conference rooms; corruption in NRHM/ MNREGA schemes; false sense of food security; the contemplated “Mobile distribution” scheme for the “undefined” BPL category; mis-use of anti-corruption agencies by politicians; collapse of bureaucracy; fizzling out of Anna Hazare movement; Coalgate mega scam; Congress slamming the institution of  C&AG for  bold expose; India emerging as a “SMS” republic in the wake of  Assam infiltration; Kanda’s defiance of law and the hero’s welcome to his  surrender in Delhi at the “police station of his choice” etc…! Rapes and murders continue with impunity. The “nautanki” will go on. The common man wonders: Kya Phir Subhaa Hogi” ?

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One wonders how did Pranab Mukherjee start speaking in chaste hindi so soon after winning the presidential election ? His flawless command over hindi during TV interviews was amazing.

He stayed in Delhi as minister for four decades; but hardly ever spoke in hindi,the official language of the union.

He proudly announced during the last budget session debate that "his hindi was not good".

The sudden transformation is being hotly debated in the media circle and corridors of power.

Do you want to know how did this transformation occur?

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The coming Presidential election is marked by political brinkmanship. With the electronic media covering intra-party and intra-coalition splits on minute-by-minute basis , locating the ‘consensus’ candidate by all political parties, was impossible. Pranab Mukherjee, the “Sankat Mochak” of the Congress emerged as its nominee. Sonia Gandhi is ecstatic as Rahul Baba’s elevation as PM after 2014 general elections, would be hurdle-free. Intensity of politicking reportedly marked by alleged secret deals like gifting Cabinet berths, slowing down investigations in DA cases against corrupt politicians has exposed the quid pro quo culture of Indian polity. Appearance of SP and its bête noire BSP on the same page alongside the Congress re-inforces the belief that “Ends are more important than the Means”. This paradigm shift in ethos spells disaster for the country. Let the eggheads unite.

The moot point is : Could the Opinion Makers including intellectuals, social activists , teachers, Editors, Journalists, retired judges and civil servants ,et el remain as mute witnesses ? In the face of present turbulence in Indian polity, could they not spread awareness among members of Electoral College about the ideal of “ voting as per dictates of conscience”. I am baffled by the reticence of Indian Media.

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After conducting 399 hearings, examining 100 witnesses ,seeking 50 extensions and 17 years of labour pain ,the baby is born ,at last , albeit at such a stupendous cost of Rs 9 crores! The timing of release of Liberhan Commission's report reinforces the public suspicion that this was a Congress's ploy to distract peoples' attention and disturb communal harmony. Both the Congress and the BJP were co-sinners in mosque demolition ! They have a single point agenda: How to disturb the communal harmony? In my humble view, both the Congress and the BJP were jointly responsible for the catastrophy on Dec,6,1992. Could Justice Liberhan explain as to how did he take 17 long years to submit his report? He has attributed the delay to the "non-cooperative attitude" of the witnesses. This argument is absolutely fallacious . Freebies like HRA (or rent-free residential accommodation),TA, DA, emoluments , chauffeur-driven car, and several other facilities as admissible to a Supreme Court Judge, must have been available to him. These are magnets, that could attract any one! Why did he not submit his findings within three months ie by March,16,1993. Why did he accept the assignment of the Inquiry Commission,if he was not sure of completing the job within the prescribed period? Further, in the interest of transparency, it would be appropriate to ascertain whether the staggering expenditure of Rs 9 crores on the Commission during the past 17 years, was incurred as per rules, particularly the payments ,if any, made to the lawyers or any other agencies engaged by the Commission. The C&AG may take up the study.It is never too late.

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The CBI as a highly professional and premier investigating agency of the country is held in high esteem by the Supreme Court, the High Courts, the Parliament and above all the public. It investigates major crimes in the country having inter...-state and international ramifications. It enjoys high credibility even among the CMs of Opposition –ruled States. Against this background, Sheila Dikshit's recent utterances have been most reprehensible, not expected of the CM of NCT Delhi. Dikshit’s open appeal and formal leters to PM and HM for insulating former Chairperson NDMC from CBI investigation in CWG -related works is unjust and unfair. This amounts to directly influencing the course of investigations by the CBI. This criminal misconduct is punishable under the Law of the land. Equality before the law is the key principle of the indian legal system. The rich and the powerful are as subject to the law as are the weak and the vulnerable. Dr Manmohan Singh, the Mauni Baba did not even reprimand Sheila Dikshit. Let us remind Delhi’s CM:‘Be ye ever so high, the law is always above you’

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Based on thirty five years of my experience in GOI, I have always felt cheated by the MOF's austerity drive carried out year after year. Action of Ministers and bureaucrats never fits into the government's sham focus on austerity. Take the case of our peripatetic Ministers, MPs and bureaucrats visiting abroad at the cost of taxpayers money. The expenses run into thousands of crores of INR. The Planning Commission has no remorse about spending Rs 35 lakhs for renovating two toilets in Yojana Bhavan.The foreign tours undertaken by the President of India and her kins and the Deputy Chairperson Planning Commission have already attracted adverse media publicity. Tours within and outside, are manipulated . With modern IT facilities including video conferencing, more than 70 percent government tours could be straightaway cancelled. Another area of government insensitivity and hypocrisy is the discretionary power given to ministries for making unfettered appointment of "Consultants". This is a scam where officers are rewarded , post retirement, for their loyalties. The consultants are taking over the regular functions with access to sensitive info and without any accountability. What happens to Pranab Da's commitment made in 2009 for restoring black money to the country. According to Director CBI ,the black money stashed abroad ,is estimated to be of the order of Rs 25 lakh crores. India will be able to feed its millions of hungry, malnourished people. At present, the obese Indian Government is doling out low calorie diet to the undefined BPL category. This is a fraud committed on Aam aadmi.

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The PMO has hijacked the mandated functions of the MEA leaving its career diplomats marginalized and de-motivated. It does not auger well for the IFS fraternity. One wonders how was an IFS officer promoted as Foreign Secretary after superseding several officers and then reappointed as National Security Advisor (on retirement) despite the drafting fiasco at Sharm-el-Sheikh. The appointment of Brajesh Mishra (1952 vintage of IFS)as the NSA in 1998 did not raise the eye brow in the fraternity. There were, however, muted reactions to the appointment of an IPS officer and then an IFS officer of a junior batch as the NSA. Their strength was their perceived proximity to the PM. The level of frustration is writ large on the faces of MEA’s mandarins The “Personality factor” counts a lot in relation between the PMO and MEA. Why was Pranab Mukherjee not made India’s foreign minister, one wonders ? That would have diluted PMO’s importance. The suave S M Krishna, however, does not mind playing a second fiddle to the PMO. Unfortunately, he cannot open his mouth without putting his foot into it. The grapevine has it that the PMO does not keep the MEA in the loop on important foreign policy matters.

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The Indian bureaucracy is unstable due to its skewed structure: top heavy, bulging middle and effete knees. The top echelon is the mastermind. Ensconced in ivory tower, It has empowered itself by its marriage of convenience (Call it “arranged marriage”. if you will) to political bosses. Serial scams could not have taken place without the covert support of the Steel frame of bureaucracy. Consider the latest GOI orders that exclude top bureaucrats (Secretaries, Addl Secretaries et al ) from CVC’s purview in corruption matters. About 1300 top GOI officers, CMDs, Functional Directors of PSUs , public sector Financial and Banking institutions, are now out of bounds of the CVC by a single masterstroke. Complaints against this “privileged monarchy” would now be handled by a Committee of four top Officers. With preliminary investigations in the hands of Secretary (Coordination) in Cab Sectt, genuine complaints getting trashed on grounds of being “frivolous, baseless and motivated”. About 90 % of CVOs in PSUs and Banks are IAS officers whose annual performances are assessed by respective CEOs on quid pro quo basis. Implications would be disastrous. The decision to transfer CVC’s powers to a panel of babus would benefit extra-Constitutional authorities, Political parties, Ministers , Secretaries, CMDs, Functional Directors of central PSUs , financial and banking institutions . Freebies to ministerial mandarins would grow exponentially. It is now clear why are the IAS generalists (lacking domain knowledge) lining up for appointment as CEOs of PSUs, banking & financial institutions, as willing replacements to professionals? Strangely, the draconian move passed off innocuously without catching Media’s attention. One wonders what was the crying need to dilute the importance of a statutory body like the CVC, when the scope and coverage of the Lokpal Bill is under active consideration of the Parliamentary Committee. Is it a subtle move to save top officers involved in CWG, 2G and the Coal scams? One could file the RTI application with DOP&T to access relevant notings and analyse the ulterior motives of the temporary Executive . Perhaps, K M Chandrasekhar, former Cabinet Secretary would know better !

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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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