Babu of delhi

Poor vigilance

poor-vigilanceTrouble trails Indian Forest Service (IFS)
officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi wherever he goes. After his much-publicised litany of woes in Haryana in the erstwhile Hooda sarkar, it was believed that his move to Delhi would spell the dawn of quieter times. But his stint as Chief Vigilance Officer at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) was typically stormy. While the last has not been heard on his controversial transfer from AIIMS, the Union Health Ministry, which has also now, after the reshuffle, changed hands, has sunk into further trouble on the appointment of CVOs. After Vishwas Mehta’s repatriation to his home cadre, the Union Health Ministry quietly gave the charge to joint secretary Manoj Jhalani. Unfortunately, it did not inform the Chief Vigilance Commission about the move. Interestingly, it completely ignored the fact that it had removed Chaturvedi on the same ground — that his appointment (in the previous UPA Government) did not have the approval of the Vigilance Commission! Clearly, following “due process” is an arbitrary thing, depending on who the Ministry (or rather the Minister) wants to keep. Chaturvedi has clearly few well-wishers in the Ministry!


Hit by scarcity

There are gaping holes in the bureaucratic framework of Odisha, with 37 senior babus on Central deputation and as many as 50 IAS posts out of the sanctioned strength of 226 lying vacant. Little wonder that the babus who did not move out on deputation are currently struggling to cope with multiple charges. Senior IAS officer R.K. Sharma is juggling both forest and labour departments; Development Commissioner A.P. Padhi is also Additional Chief Secretary to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik; Agriculture Secretary Rajesh Verma is overseeing the Cooperation Department, among many others. Odisha struggles with shortage of IAS officers is not new, or unique. Many other States too face this problem. Though the Patnaik Government promoted more than 50 State service officers to IAS rank in the past five years, clearly there are not enough babus to deal with the administrative challenges. Of course, someone needs to ask why the State Government is not moving fast enough on filling all those vacancies in the IAS cadre allotted to the State.

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No rest for babus

no-rest-for-babusThe bureaucracy has faced the brunt of the changes wrought by the Narendra Modi’s sarkar. From punctuality to transparency babus across the country are beginning to discover what “acche din” truly mean. While babus in the capital have by now become accustomed to working long hours and during weekends, their compatriots in the States too may find their work life changing drastically. Apparently the Centre is mulling the idea of reintroducing the six-day work week in Government offices. The fear is real, since this is a model that already operates in Gujarat and the Modi sarkar has painstakingly introduced many processes from the State in the national capital. The five-day week was introduced by Rajiv Gandhi and babus had got used to it. Sources say that though senior babus and the Prime Minister’s Office are already keeping corporate hours (and days), it is only a matter of time that this new “work culture” is formalised in the form of six-day week work schedules across the bureaucracy.

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