Opinion Columnists 04 Jan 2022 Dilip Cherian | Secy ...
Love them, hate them ignore them at national peril, is the babu guarantee and Dilip’s belief. Share significant babu escapades dilipcherian@hotmail.com

Dilip Cherian | Secys’ shuffle in Delhi: Change of guard, or is it change of heart?

Published Jan 5, 2022, 1:44 am IST
Updated Jan 5, 2022, 1:44 am IST
Nine Central ministries and departments got new secretaries
The aim of sending babus to teach school students is to create trust of parents in government schools and also to inspect the schools for any deficiency in infrastructure. (Representational Image/ PTI)
 The aim of sending babus to teach school students is to create trust of parents in government schools and also to inspect the schools for any deficiency in infrastructure. (Representational Image/ PTI)

The secretary-level reshuffle, in which nine Central ministries and departments got new secretaries, is being depicted as an opportunity for upward mobility for 1990-batch IAS officers who were waiting for secretary-level postings at the Centre for a long time. However, people are still trying to wrap their heads around some of these changes. One or two of them had been stowed away in cold storage but, clearly, circumstances have changed at the Centre and in multiple states and, therefore, a change of guard was felt necessary.

Among those who surprised the conventional babu expectations was Vini Mahajan, the former chief secretary of Punjab, who has been named as secretary of the department of drinking water and sanitation. In 2020, Ms Mahajan was appointed by then Punjab CM Amarinder Singh as the state chief secretary but had stepped down from the post in September this year after Amarinder’s government was toppled. But since he has joined hands with the BJP, Ms Mahajan has been “re-adjusted”. It is likely that her husband Dinkar Gupta, who was removed as director-general of police of Punjab by the current state chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi, may soon be brought to Delhi in a senior capacity with one of the paramilitary organisations.

 

Equally of interest is the appointment of Indian Forest Service (IFoS) officer Bharat Lal as the next secretary of the Lokpal Secretariat. Many expected Mr Lal to become secretary of the department of drinking water and sanitation (which has now gone to Ms Mahajan) on the assumption that he had worked as additional secretary in the department and overseen the completion of some prestigious drinking water pipelines projects.

Now bureaucrats are wondering whether this is a change of guard or a change of heart and what the next moves will be.

 

*

Varun Gandhi leads by example

With the Omicron surge right during the campaigning for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, Varun Gandhi, the third-term BJP MP from Pilibhit, has started the new year with a commendable idea. He, along with district magistrate Pulkit Khare and other district officials, is conducting meetings with health officials in the area to ensure that his parliamentary constituency is prepared to deal with the surge in Covid cases widely anticipated by health experts.

Much too often babus at the grassroots level are used to being harangued by politicians and the public alike. So having their MP actively supervise the preparatory work to face the Covid challenge in the district is a welcome step to enthuse the district officials and try to ensure that the havoc of the second wave of Covid last year is not repeated. Good teamwork and able leadership can achieve a lot. In this pandemic, Varun is setting a “healthy” example that other lawmakers in Uttar Pradesh and at the Centre can emulate in their respective domains.

 

*

Babus to turn school teachers in Himachal

Students and teachers in government schools in Himachal Pradesh are bracing for the “descent” of IAS and state administrative service officers on their premises to “improve standards of education” in these schools. The state government took this new initiative and chief secretary Ram Subagh Singh has sent out an order to all district education officers to implement the decision, which calls for these babus to take classes in the schools under their respective jurisdictions at least once a fortnight.

 

The chief secretary says that the babus will teach students and also share their experiences and guide the students to choose their careers. The aim of sending babus to teach school students is to create trust of parents in government schools and also to inspect the schools for any deficiency in infrastructure. The state education secretary Rajiv Sharma has said that the officers will be expected to turn in regular reports of their teaching experience to the government.

However, the babus may find it disconcerting that this noble initiative has not found favour with the existing teachers who see in this an attempt by the government to “undermine the teaching community”. Meanwhile, the government is hoping that the initiative sparks interest in students to opt for Central and state services. Apparently, there is a marked drop in the number of IAS and IPS aspirants in Himachal Pradesh. Hope this works!

 

...




ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
-->