At this time when the government has directed all Ministries and Departments to tighten their belts in order to contain the ballooning fiscal deficit, the Ministry for Civil Aviation is reportedly planning to spend a whopping Rs. 84 lakh on Civil Aviation Secretary Nasim Zaidi’s campaign to get elected as Chairman of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). Zaidi, a 1976 batch IAS officer of the Uttar Pradesh cadre, is retiring at the end of this month and the ICAO position is probably part of his post-retirement plan.
Zaidi’s election campaign will take the babu to 36 cities across the world to canvass support for his candidature. But sources say that Zaidi’s plans fly in the face of the call for austerity in babudom. There is grumbling in some quarters that the Ministry cannot afford to spend such vast sums of money on the babu’s poll drive. What happens next will obviously merit a close watch!