Bureaucratese is bland, but its harmless sounding terminology sometimes carries dire connotations for those who inhabit that world. Among the deceptive phrases most dreaded by a babu is “compulsory waiting”, which refers to a condition that is about punishment than reward. This phrase crept out of bureaucratese in the instance of K. Jayaraman, the erstwhile police commissioner in Siliguri who arrested an IAS officer G Kiran Kumar, District Magistrate of Malda in West Bengal and, consequently, was put on “compulsory waiting”. Translated, the phrase means that not only does the officer does not have a regular posting but is also deprived of such “perks” of authority as use of Government car, reimbursement of bills etc, and intangibles, the biggest being sense of power and authority. The officer needs to report to the designated office and wait for a position to become vacant so that he may join, if and when, that is. So, the benign phrase actually connotes a form of punishment for those who have offended the powers-that-be and hence is feared.
A Late Awakening?
Dilli has been puzzling over the eruption of a diplomatic row between India and the United States over the arrest of an Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade for alleged visa fraud. But what has really surprised many is the unusually aggressive Indian reaction to the treatment meted to the young Indian Foreign Service officer. In a clear break from past practice, where Indian responses were usually considered meek and insubstantial, today some are wondering whether India may have gone just a bit overboard in reacting to the US action. While the bleeding hearts have been worrying about the Indian maid, who is at the heart of the ‘crisis’, others see in the present diplomatic row an opportunity for the Indian foreign affairs establishment to flex its rarely used muscle and stand up for one of its own.
Prepping For Partition
In public at least, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran K. Reddy continues to hold out the hope that the State will not be bifurcated. However, behind the prying gaze of the media, the impending creation of Telangana is a foregone conclusion, awaiting only the President’s assent to the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill. State Government officials have already begun the division of Government assets. According to sources, Chief Secretary P.K. Mohanty has written to all heads of departments and public sector units asking them to prepare lists of divisible assets, liabilities, employees and offices. Since the division of the State is likely to be a complex exercise, Mohanty has started the process, under instructions from the Centre, and assuming the President’s formal assent as a given. Among the other requirements, babus in the State have also been asked to fill forms declaring information which will have a direct bearing on whether they will serve in Telangana or Seemandhra.