This should set alarm bells ringing in the BJP Government of Karnataka. If babus are known to be accurate forecasters of the political winds of change, then the party may have a lot to worry about. Given that the State is scheduled for elections next year, a number of retired bureaucrats have been making a beeline to join the Congress party.
Sources say, in recent days at least two senior retired IAS officers, Ashok Kumar Manoli and S Puttaswamy joined the Congress party. Babu-watchers say that more retired babus are expected to join the Congress, apart from dissident BJP ministers and legislators. Among the babus whose names are being discussed by babu-watchers are former DGP S.M. Bidari, Siddaiah and Baburao Mudbi. Have these babus sensed the change in the wind, which has eluded the ruling party? This may well be a sign of things to come.
No deputation, please
A marked reluctance displayed by Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officers to serve on deputation in other Central Ministries has created a piquant situation for the Government. The trend has become more marked in recent times, say observers. The objection ‘desi’ diplomats have for not seeking deputation, it is surmised, is that a stint outside the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) would necessarily lead to distancing them from the ‘karmbhoomi’, which could impact their future advancement. Earlier, sources say, it was not unusual to see IFS officers working as Joint Secretaries in various Union Ministries. But the Defence ministry has not seen an IFS officer on deputation in the past four years, resulting in important posts being occupied by IAS babus. Curiously, IFS officers are reluctant to even serve in the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA), which was actually carved out of MEA. Sources say the last Joint Secretary of MOIA, 1984 batch D.N. Srivastava took premature repatriation in 2010, after which there have been no takers for this post from among the IFS officers. We hope we are wrong but it seems that besides 1993 batch Sanjay Sudhir, there are only two other IFS officers currently serving; 1982 batch Amar Sinha in the Commerce Ministry and 1985 batch Rahul Kulshreshth in the Department of Atomic Energy.
Unrest in Haryana
In the recent transfers of babus ordered by the Haryana Government, the media focused on IAS officer Ashok Khemka and his run-ins with the Hooda sarkar. But there is more to the bureaucratic reshuffle than the Khemka affair. Following the transfer, sources say that there is a lot of heartburn among the tribesmen as many senior officers have been ignored while juniors have been posted to cadre posts. Apparently, a la Khemka, another IAS officer Nitin Yadav was shunted out from the post of Managing Director of the Haryana State Electronics Development Corporation after less than three months in the post.
But the most ire is for giving three cadre posts to Vivek Atrey, a State civil service officer. Being an HCS, the babus say, Atrey is not eligible for a cadre post. But not only has he replaced Yadav at Haryana State Electronics Development Corporation (HARTRON) but also given two more positions in the administration. But unlike Khemka who had revolted, the babus in Haryana are keeping their angst in check.