As the Narendra Modi sarkar enters the last lap of its run before the general elections in 2019, it is beginning to fray at the seams in some places. Many of its controversial decisions are coming under public fire and, inevitably, it is the babus who are getting singed.
Finance secretary Hasmukh Adhia is being accused of allegedly obstructing the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) probe into the coal import scam involving the powerful Adani Group. He has also been blamed for helping celebrity jewellery designer Nirav Modi and his relative Mehul Choksi flee India.
The accusations are grave and aimed at muddying the waters for the Modi sarkar and the finance ministry in particular. And in a poll-bound nation, there is every reason that such allegations can become a political “hot potato”, if not contained at the earliest.
It is not likely that Mr Adhia is in a position to respond, given the service rules. Since many of the Modi government’s acts have bitterly divided public opinion, the bureaucrats behind those decisions may find their acts coming increasingly under hostile scrutiny!
A common police cadre
The Centre has announced the merger of police forces in six Union territories, namely Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman and Diu, Chandigarh, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. Under the new framework, non-IPS officers can be posted in any of the six Union territories and will be at the disposal of the ministry of home affairs. Babu observers note that this is perhaps the first step towards the creation of a Central police cadre, which would allow police personnel to be posted across the country, irrespective of the cadre they were inducted in.
According to sources, the new rules would affect nearly 533 posts of assistant commissioner and deputy superintendent of police. The rules will be applicable upon promotion or direct recruitment of inspectors to the post of ACP. Half of the posts at the ACP rank will be filled through direct recruitment and the other half through promotion. Earlier, these postings were decided by the respective UT administrators.
The rationale behind the Centre’s move reportedly is that creation of a central pool would allow inter-transferability and also ensure that local police personnel do not fall prey to serving vested interests in their home services.
Defiant babus in U’khand
Babus in Uttarakhand are unhappy after the state government recently suspended two senior IAS officials for their alleged role in the Haridwar-Udham Singh Nagar-Bareilly highway (NH-74) compensation scam. Sources say chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat’s “zero-tolerance” policy has upset bureaucrats. Apparently, sources say that the suspension of senior IAS officers P.K. Pandey and Chandresh Yadav is just the beginning of the chief minister’s campaign to clean up his administration.
But the babus apparently are not on board with the government’s policy, and have resorted to the classic defiance mode of stalling the movement of files! Their objection, they say, is not to the government’s policy but the fact that it puts them at the mercy of the police officers in corruption-related matters. Reportedly, IAS officers are habitually seeking permission from seniors and legal opinion on practically every matter placed before them, causing needless delays.
Far from being a “Gandhian” sort of resistance as some may like to imagine, the move is unlikely to win sympathy for the babus from the government or the public....