Free rein to corruption
There are rumours that Akhilesh Yadav is about to do a major turnaround in his political management soon. But many fear that in his regime Uttar Pradesh has seen only a return to the old days of corruption and crime. Certainly, instead of going at babus facing charges of corruption, he seems to be rewarding them with top positions so far. Why else would senior IAS officer Pradeep Shukla, a prime accused in the National Rural Health Mission scam, be appointed as a member of the Revenue Board while he is on bail? He has been suspended now but only after being forced by the Allahabad High Court.
Observers also cite the example of former state Industrial Development Corporation chief engineer A.K. Mishra, whose suspension was recently revoked. Indeed some such acts have come to the notice of the judiciary which has now asked the government to explain its actions, especially in the case of K. Dhanlakshmi, another accused IAS officer, who was named district magistrate of Sultanpur by the state government.
The Ministry of External Affairs is in an expansionist mode. It is felt that the current strength of 800 Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officers is grossly inadequate to meet India’s growing engagement with the world. Observers point out that the current strength of India’s diplomatic corps is equivalent to that of Singapore. But foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai is reportedly trying to induct more officers – 500 more by some accounts. While this is nowhere near China, which has over 6,000 diplomats, Mathai is keen to at least get the process going.
According to sources, the government has already sanctioned 500 additional posts. But policy experts say that while this is not an adequate number, a small but significant start has been made. Ranjan however may also have to deal with the IAS lobby which has never been too pleased to see other civil services grow.
A long wait
A retired top cop from Gujarat is battling for his former IPS colleagues with the state government and, now, the Centre. Former Director General of Police (DGP) R.B. Sreekumar has been trying to get Narendra Modi’s sarkar to appoint a “full-time” police chief in the state. The current chief is Chittaranjan Singh, an additional DGP, who has been ‘in-charge DGP’ since 2010, after the retirement of S.S. Khandwawala!
With the state government ignoring Sreekumar’s requests, the former top cop has reportedly now written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the issue, mentioning that the post needed to be filled immediately in view of the approaching state assembly elections. So far, sources say, there has been no response from the Prime Minister’s Office. But IPS officers in Gujarat are keeping their fingers crossed.