The Ramp Show by IAS officers’ of 2015 batch, designated as Assistant Secretaries to GOI, at New Delhi’s India Gate has, on Sunday evening , Sept 10, 2017 ,dented the image of bureaucracy in India. Preposterous.

How will the pageant  help in bringing Good governance ?

How did DOP&T permit this extravaganza at tax-payers’ cost?

How much was spent on event managers to prepare the un-initiated IAS officers in boastful display of their talent.

Was it a part of their curricula?

Wrong signals generated for all particularly for the non-IAS biradri.

Absolute Non-application of mind by decision makers of  elite bureaucrats in GOI.

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Who built Delhi's Chhatarpur temple ,immediately after raiding Maharani Gayatri devi fort ?

Can anyone explain the lavish life-styles of all Sankaracharyas and their sources of incomes.?

The Congress,BJP, DMK,AIADMK and others have a lot to explain

Does the Hinduism not need ethnic cleansing and reforms to restore its pristine glory.

Till, then, I hang my head in shame.

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DISCLAIMER :

My motive is not to hurt anyone’s sentiments. If anyone feels hurt due to difference in opinions, I seek apologies in advance.

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20 Joint Secretaries in Union Ministry of Home Affairs  have been delegated  substantial financial and administrative powers in matters of executing works , land purchases upto Rs 50 crores, full powers incurring administrative expenses, hiring accommodation, TA, LTC and related cases in the ministry.

A prudent step to responsibilise the army of JSs in MHA.

The decision must be replicated in all union ministries.

An effective mechanism of checks and balances by way of submitting monthly returns to respective Financial Advisors and union Secretaries must be evolved.

Now is the time to abolish posts of Special Secretaries and Addl Secretaries in GOI in a phased manner as these would become redundant.

This will result in huge savings in expenditure from public exchequer.

Let the State governments follow suit.

Give a good buy to top heavy structure of bureaucracy at the Centre and the States.

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The US is justifiably miffed by North Korea’s policy of nuclear brinkmanship and for issuing daily threats of nuclear attack. The US is in a bind.The impasse should not be allowed to last long. 

North Korea’s sixth nuclear test is a slap on US’s face besides sending wrong signals to China and Russia. Pakistan’s clandestine transfer of nuclear technology to N Korea went unpunished.The US is now paying the price of its own folly. 

Condemning N Korea’s testing of nuclear fusion device and ICBM by China and Russia , is a charade. Both double crossing the US . The ground reality is just the opposite. No neighbouring country, especially China would be comfortable with a nuclearised Korean peninsula. 

Against the background of all-round misrust, China’s advice to the US for direct talk with a rogue nation , is simply laughable. 

Should the superpower agree to one-on- one talk with a belligerant country like N Korea. Does N Korea deserve the courtesy of appeasement by the US ? 

Economic sanctions against N Korea, have been half-hearted. Military sanctions with conventional weapons, could cause disastrous backlash to South Korea located just 50 Km away from its belligerant neighbour. 

South Korea will be annihilated. It depends on who carries out the pre-emptive strike.

 Direct talks between two un-equals, the US and N Korea, if ever conducted, will continue upto infinity with zero outcome.This will instead embolden N Korea to keep provoking its adversary,the most powerful nation in the world. 

What is President Trump’s “fire and fury” counter- warning  to North Korea ? Does he mean first strike with conventional weapons or a nuclear attack ? 

North Korea’s military dictator Kim Jong, by his incessant threats , is almost begging for a War with the US. He can’t hold the World as hostage. 

Enough is enough.It is now time for the US to take direct action .Let it pull out all full stops. 

This will help the suppressed people of North Korea and restore democracy. 

Kim Jong deserves the same fate as Saddam Hussain, Gaddafi and Osama bin Laden, former Al Qaeda chief. 

The US with its much advanced technology, capability and intelligence inputs, should know better.

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Gautam Gambhir promised lifelong support to Zohra d/o a martyr in Kashmir.

A big salute to him.

What about billionnaires like Sachin Tendulkar, Dhoni and the Bollywood fraternity with honourable exceptions?

Are they born merely to amass wealth by acting as brand ambassadors for endorsing commercial products, collecting awards and privileges ?

And,what about big corporate houses especially, the Ambanis, the richest indian ?

Let them adopt specific families of Martyrs for financial assistance and help them join country's mainstream.

Let them segregate such noble gestures from the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of their companies.

Finally, the CBDT would be doing a yeoman’s service if they amend the IT Act to provide suitable rebates to donors in their annual income tax returns to those who undertake to help martyrs’ families under intimation to IT deptt.An effective monitoring system must be evolved.

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My honest opinion: No way.

This will remain a pipe dream despite PM Modi’s best intentions.

Let us be realistic, not idealistic. Corruption is a universal malaise. Its complete elimination is a myth. It can, however, be mitigated depending upon the political Will.

First , corruption in local bodies having large public interfaces that impact the common man. Mumbai floods are a classic case of BMC’s insensitivity, inefficiency and political corruption.This is the position in  3255 urban local bodies in India. Police is compromised.

Even, legitimate claims are allowed only after greasing the palms of Inquiry officers, SHOs and their cronies in Police and clerks, engineers, Commissioners of corporations in local bodies. Encroachment on government lands,is a permanent source of income for beat constables, hawaldars, sub-inspectors ,engineers and commissioners. Extortion is considered a matter of right. Due to brazen interference by the political class, responsive mechanism is non-existent and supervision lax.

Public is not the stake holder. No feed back mechanism. No fear of compromised police and corporations officials.

Right to Service Act is in the limbo. Public officers are duty bound to perform their duties within the stipulated time with no other option to avoid penalty. But, no one is penalised in the normal course except. Passage of Lokpal Bill is in cold storage. Concept of Zero tolerance to corruption remains a political rhetoric. Statutary audit and IT raids on local bodies officials are not conducted regularly.

India is a federal democracy, but, not a co-operative federalism. Eliminating corruption is a joint venture that needs joint efforts of the Centre, States and local bodies. State governments ruled by political dispensations different from the one at the Centre, work at loggerheads at different wavelengths and priorities. CMs of states like West Bengal, Kerala and Karnataka, behave like CEOs of “Sovereign, Independent Republics “

Decisions are taken under political pressures rather than on merit.Mediocrity thrives.Pliable bureaucrats consider it safer to prostrate before the political class. Grievance redressal mechanism has failed for the poor .

Big ticket scams of UPA era did not get the attention,they deserve.

PM Modi’s honesty and incorruptibility,is beyond doubt.He has no personal axe to grind. His commitment to India’s development,is unquestioned. Rampant corruption has stunted India’s development. PM Modi’s series of bold initiatives to reduce corruption index like : 

Demonetization, benami assets etc  are notable. But, efforts made to fast-track conviction of the accused involved in Congress-led UPA scams, are not are extremely slow. Loan defaulters and money launderers are having free runs in the country or abroad.

Raids on suspects by IT, ED, CBI and other enforcement agencies must increase.

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September 1701

Dera Jhoota Sauda

Conviction of rapist- cum- anarchist Ram Rahim, sentenced for 20 years of isolated confinement with rigorous imprisonment, is a classic example for a case study of politico- bureaucratic – police nexus leading to mayhem, incendiarism, killings in Haryana, Panjab, UP, Rajasthan and Delhi with large concentration of deras.Fine of Rs 30 lakhs to be divided between two aggrieved girls.  He is convicted 15 years after rape complaint filed in 2002. Thanks to covert support by successive governments in Haryana and Centre by way of en bloc voting by Dera followers.

Demand for converting 20 years RI to Life imprisonment is growing. A large cache of  illegal arms, ammunition, hand grades, AK 47, petrol bombs etc was recovered from his “ ashram “ ,an euphemism for a 5-star guest house.

Out of several DGs, Addl DGs, IGs in Haryana police, it is shocking that not a single top officer cared to visit Ground Zero.Not worth their salt. Later, in the day, one IG was seen on TV getting updated by a DySP . SIs and constables galore.

Bureaucracy proved worthless, glued to seats. Chief Secy, Addl Chief Secretaries, Principal  Secretaries, Secretaries- all failed to take pro-active steps to avoid flare-up.A collective failure of appointed Executive  in collusion with the elected Executive. Tackling emergency to diffuse anarchy lay within domain of permanent bureaucracy. Why were they  awaiting orders from CM and his council of loose cannons .

The extent of Executive culpability must be assessed. Haryana &Panjab High court -monitored investigation by the CBI is needed. Based on its findings, FIRs must be filed by CBI against flagrante delicto andcharges approved by high court.

The larger question crying for attention is : Why permit self- styled Godmen have private armies. Let us take the discussion further,

It will be foolhardy to assume that Indian intelligence and security agencies were oblivious to this fact. We refused to learn from history and history repeated  itself with vengeance.

Recall some infamous Babas and Godmen who owned huge private armies..

Bhindrawale? Too well known to need a recall.

Asaram Bapu and his son had battalion of armed sevadars. Both are presently cooling their heals in jails. Asaram’s appeal for bail invited the wrath of Supreme court in its hearing on August 28,2017.

Recall Sant Rampal whose army of 8000 goons had stored sophisticated weapons, acid tankers, hand grenades, petrol bombs etc to wage a war against the State to shield their Guru. Followers were in no mood to let their guru arrested.Police was shocked to discover large cache 

of arms and ammunitions.The guru finally surrendered.

Megalomaniac Ram Rahim, sentenced for 20 years of isolated confinement with  rigorous imprisonement by the CBI court on Aug 28,2017, had an army of commanders, sub-commanders and 15,000 armed commandos .All trained by ex- armymen hired on payment of fat salaries. 

Furthermore, arguments in cases of alleged murders of two journalist-whistleblowers,are likely to be finalised in CBI court on Sept 15,2017. Solid evidences. Death penalty is for sure.

Caste-based private militias

There are a large number of  caste-based armed militias,mostly thriving in Bihar and UP, who raise their heads to kill members of the lower or rival castes.Take a look at them..

Ram Varishka Yadav

Swadheen Bharat Subhash Sena led by one late Ram Varishka Yadav. His army of Yadav clan unauthorisedly occupied 220 acres Jawahar Bagh Park in Mathura UP. With massive cache of arms, ammunitions, AK47, the private army of 3,000 gave stiff resistance to para-miltary forces before final eviction. SP govt under pressure of Yadav clan, did not take action Ranvir Sena

An upper-caste landlord militia in Bihar, for protecting the rights of the Bhumihar, against “ domination “of the Rajputs.

Besides above , there are several other Senas, fronts, morchas in Bihar owing allegiance to their castes. All have armed militias. Bihar had about a dozen private militia groups belonging to different castes and sub-groups who used to terrorise people in the name of protecting rights of their particular caste or group.While some have been wiped out, others become active during elections.

Are Private Militias legal? Are these not a threat to national security?

Private armies of self-styled godmen and caste-based organisations have no place in indian democracy. They indulge in mis-adventurism to browbeat courts, State and the public.A serious threat.

If, there are no rules, PM Modi must consider introducing a Bill in Parliament for banning private militias  in private hands.

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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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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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