Hoping For Home
Housing is a perennial problem in Mumbai, even for Government officials. Under the State’s revised rules, those babus who already own homes in Maharashtra under Government quota cannot acquire another sarkari home. In Mumbai’s upscale Maitri Cooperative Housing Society, the new rule will disqualify nearly a fourth of the 84 members. While bad news for these members, it does open an opportunity for other officers to queue up for preferential allotment. Sources say the new aspirants for these flats include Additional Chief Secretary in the Home Department Amitabh Rajan, Police Joint Commissioner Dhananjay Kamalakar, Additional Police Commissioner Rajvardhan Sinha and Secretary to the Chief Minister Vikas Kharge, among others. Not surprisingly, the State Housing Board has the discretion to allot land and homes for public housing, which is what raises the hope that these babus may just get lucky. No such luck for the ordinary Mumbaikar, however, who is more than happy to have any roof over his head!
The wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly, and during the UPA regime turned even slower. Still, nearly four years after Madhya Pradesh IAS officer couple Arvind and Tinoo Joshi were found to possess assets disproportionate to their income the Government has finally cleared the decks for their prosecution. In 2010, an income tax raid on the couple’s home resulted in the recovery of Rs 3 crore in cash and created a nation-wide stir. Following the discovery, the Joshis were suspended from service. Though it could still go the way such cases often do i.e. drag on for years in the courts, there is at least a sense of moving forward now that the Centre has cleared their dismissal from service and start of criminal proceedings against the Joshis. Central service officers cannot be prosecuted without approval from the Centre, specifically the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions. Now since that has been accomplished, the prosecution on corruption charges can finally begin.
Dividing The Cadre
The complex process for bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh is well underway, and the Centre has set up an expert committee headed by former Urban Development Secretary K. Sivaramakrishnan to solve the many disputes between Seemandhra and Telangana. But this is just one among many committees being formed to oversee the transition. The Centre has also appointing a retired 1965 AP cadre IAS officer C.R. Kamalanathan to chair a committee that will decide the cadre strengths of IAS, IPS and IFoS services. The panel will also include the State Chief Secretary P. K. Mohanty, a special secretary of the Ministry for Home Affairs, an inspector general of forests from the Ministry of Environment and Forests, with an additional secretary in the Department of Personnel and Training acting as member secretary. Babu observers say that the exercise is not going to be a simple affair. It is also unlikely to solve the problem of shortage of officers in both States. For one, the all-India service officers want choice of cadre, an option that is not allowed under the AP Reorganisation Act. The Act further stipulates that Telangana will get 42 per cent and Andhra Pradesh 58 per cent of the IAS babus. At present the total cadre strength is 376 IAS officers. They also anticipate conflicts as babus tussle to get the cadre of their choice. Look out for updates.