A few good apples, too
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has earned the wrath of a section of the State’s bureaucracy over the suspension of IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal. The perception that has gone around is that unlike his predecessor, the Chief Minister has taken his eye off governance and is allowing politics to interfere with his Government’s functioning. But few know that even as he has put up an abrasive front on Ms Nagpal’s suspension, he has also been quietly putting together a team of brilliant IAS officers who are working diligently, though under the media’s radar, to keep the State Government ticking. Among these dedicated IAS officers, sources say, are Surya Pratap Singh, a 1982 batch officer, who is Principal Secretary at the Uttar Pradesh IDC Department, and Sanjay Agarwal, a 1984 batch officer, currently Principal Secretary in the UP Power Department and Chairman of the UP Power Corporation. These babus are widely regarded within babu circles as “incorruptible” and seen as possessing virtues that bureaucracy should uphold. In fact, recently the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court threw out a petition against Singh who has returned after study leave, and even termed it as “frivolous” and “motivated”. Probably Mr Yadav realises that he really cannot do without IAS officers, after all.
Mamata moves babus
Babus in Bengal, who for many years fiercely resisted moving out of Writers’ Building, have had to kowtow to the no-nonsense Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. After much argument and prevarication, her decision to move 17 Departments and Directorates out from the historic but now endangered secretariat building to Howrah was accepted. But to give an idea of the extent of resistance to the move, it needs to be pointed out that the Chief Minister has been trying to get babus to move out since mid-last year! Sources say though the plan to shift the reluctant babus was on the cards, it got renewed momentum only after Sanjay Mitra became Chief Secretary last October. Ms Banerjee backed him to the hilt, until all nay-sayers fell in line. She has apparently ordered all offices in the building to be relocated by October 1, after which the historic building will get some much-needed repairs.
Luck of the babu
Forty former bureaucrats and IPS officials tried but only one succeeded in being named a member of the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission. A selection panel led by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan recently finalised the composition of the Commission, which has not worked for more than a year and has a backlog of more than 11,367 cases.
The Chavan-led panel selected retired justice S.R. Banurmath as Chairman, M.G. Gaikwad as the second member and Bhagwant More, a former IPS officer, as its third member. More’s appointment, however, has drawn the most attention since among his rivals for the post were former Chief Secretary J.P. Dange, former Home Secretary A.P. Sinha, former Additional Chief Secretary B.P. Pandey, and former IPS officers A.V. Parasnis, T. Singarwel, Raj Khilani and Subhash Awate, among others.