Dilli Ka Babu: Govt resets lateral entry

Sources say that it is unlikely that Modi's pet initiative will fructify before the new government is formed.

The Modi sarkar has perceptibly slowed down in the last leg of its tenure. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tried to streamline the functioning of the government, it has had mixed results. While the 360-degree evaluation system is now well established, Mr Modi is having significantly more trouble trying to induct outside talent to buttress the bureaucracy.

Though the government received more than 6,000 applications in response to its advertisement in June seeking to appoint 10 private sector specialists as joint secretaries in different Central ministries, the appointment process has got stalled.

According to sources, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) could not make much headway trying to shortlist candidates due to “sketchy” or “unusable” information received from the applicants.

With the hiring process almost stalled, the government has now issued a fresh job advertisement seeking “detailed applications”. So, those seeking to fill the advertised posts must send in fresh applications. Unfortunately, only a few months remain for the general elections and the government has not set a timeline for recruitment. Sources say that it is unlikely that Mr Modi’s pet initiative will fructify before the new government is formed.

Top sleuths get extension
The Intelligence Bureau (IB) director Rajiv Jain and Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) secretary Anil K. Dhasmana have been given six months’ extensions. They were scheduled to retire this month-end.

Sources say that the decision was taken by the Prime Minister Modi-led Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC). Clearly, the Centre does not want to disturb the continuity in the IB and the R&AW and wanted a new government to take a decision on appointments on these key posts after the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

Mr Jain has served with distinction in various departments of the IB, including the sensitive Kashmir desk. He was an adviser to the previous NDA government’s interlocutor on Kashmir, K.C. Pant, when talks were held with separatist leaders such as Shabbir Shah. Mr Dhasmana, a 1981-batch officer from the Madhya Pradesh cadre, has been with R&AW for 23 years, during which he served in important areas, including the Pakistan desk. These are routine moves, but notable as efforts to retain continuity in perilous times.

Babu and people’s power
Karnataka IAS officer D. Randeep, who was transferred from his post as additional commissioner of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, is back in his post owing to public pressure. Last month, chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy had transferred several IAS officers in the state, including Mr Randeep, who was named commissioner of the social welfare department. But the chief minister clearly did not reckon with the IAS officer’s popularity with the public.

According to sources, Mr Randeep earned the confidence and goodwill of waste management activists for his attempts to reform Bengaluru’s notoriously ill-managed waste management system. Once the word of his transfer spread, an online petition was started by people voicing their opposition to his transfer and calling for his reinstatement. Apparently, it got the support of over 900 people. The government got the message and reinstated the babu.

This seems to be the rare case of bureaucrats who are able to win public trust by doing their jobs well. And a rare case too where government listens to citizens who don’t have any political agenda.

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