The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), with ministrations from the Supreme Court, is now making efforts to lose the “caged parrot” tag. Meanwhile, less publicly, a similar effort is underway elsewhere in the bureaucratic corridors. Sources say Director Generals of the various paramilitary outfits are trying to unshackle themselves from the Union Home Ministry. They believe that the review mechanism of the functioning of the paramilitary organisations is “not working properly”. Sources say that the Director-Generals of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Saurashtra Seema Bal and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) have sought a meeting with Home Secretary Anil Goswami on the issue. Apparently the DGs — Subhash Goswami, Arun Chaudhary and Arvind Ranjan — have sought powers to allocate budgets and postings and transfers without seeking approval from the Ministry (read IAS officers). How this pans out is not known, but it does seem like an interesting ‘contest’ is building up between the Ministry and the paramilitary forces.
Retired or serving babus switching careers to politics is old hat. But rare indeed is the babu who is pursued by two political parties to fight elections on their platforms. K.P. Ramaiah, Principal Secretary in the Bihar Government, happens to be in that difficult (or happy) situation! Ramaiah, say sources, has been chosen by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to become the JD(U) candidate against current Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar, who has won twice from Sasaram constituency. Nitish obviously believes that Ramaiah is best suited to trounce Ms Kumar in what is considered her fiefdom. But Nitish Kumar is not alone in valuing Ramaiah’s political abilities. It seems that Y S Jaganmohan Reddy too is keen to get Ramaiah to contest on the YSR Congress ticket in Andhra Pradesh. Ramaiah, of course, hails from Andhra Pradesh, and that obviously counts as a ‘plus’ in Jagan’s gameplan. While the prospective candidate has not revealed which party he’ll go with, he has reportedly sought voluntary retirement to contest the elections.
My numerous batchmates getting into the services tend to speak of transfers as badges of honour. Sadly today it’s getting “managerially” rather dangerous and disruptive. Haryana’s Ashok Khemka already makes headlines as the most transferred IAS officer in the country because he took on high and mighty politicians in the land. But frequent transfers of officers are not unique to Haryana State alone. Frequent transfers are depressingly common across most of the country, though Haryana still remains among the worst States for IAS officers to be posted in. A recent study showed that 68 per cent of India’s top bureaucrats average less than 18 months on a posting! The same study found that besides Khemka, there are many other IAS officers who are in the “40-plus transfers” club. Among them Vineet Chaudhary, a 1982-batch Himachal Pradesh cadre officer has been transferred an astonishing 52 times, followed by W.M.S. Pariat of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre with 50 transfers and 11 others, from such States as Punjab, Jharkhand and of course Haryana. There are six other IAS babus besides Khemka in the State who have witnessed 40-plus transfers! Good governance obviously does not rank high in these States.