Dilli Ka Babu: Off with their heads

The succession war is heating up as Delhi's police commissioner B.S. Bassi prepares to retire from service next month.

To get rid of the deadwood in the bureaucracy, the government has been acting tough with Indian Administrative Service and other officers who have been absent from office without authorisation for long periods. Some have even been sacked. It’s now the turn of recalcitrant taxmen.

Earlier this month the Indian Revenue Service sacked 11 IRS officers, including two joint commissioners, five deputy commissioners and three assistant commissioners and an additional commissioner for long absence from duty without authorisation. These babus will not get retirement benefits.

Apparently, they were given several opportunities to explain the reasons for their absence, but to no avail. One assistant commissioner Smita Rawat had been absent for an unbelievable 18 years! Joint commissioners Meenu G. Krishnan and R.K. Jha were missing since 2003 and 2005. The others too have been missing in action for a number of years.

While the government has acted firmly, still it would be interesting to know why it waited so long to take the “inevitable” step. Hopefully this “forceful” step will serve as a warning to others inclined to play hooky with the sarkar.

Hopeful sign?

The Centre’s decision to empanel Indian Police Service and other non-Indian Administrative Service Group-A officers as secretaries and additional secretaries in various ministries should gladden many hearts in babudom. Sources say that Cabinet Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha has written to secretaries of Central ministries and cadre-controlling authorities and sought nomination of officials for such posts. In his communication, the chief secretary reportedly mentioned that officers who have completed at 30 years of service are now eligible for empanelment as secretary, and those with 25 years of service as additional secretary.

The non-IAS officers have long sought parity with IAS officers as also reflected in their submission to the Seventh Central Pay Commission. They have been unhappy with the service-related benefits enjoyed by their IAS brethren. Although the pay panel has been ambiguous on the issue of parity, the Centre’s decision is a clear indication that the government is open to redressing the imbalance in the bureaucracy.

Bassi’s successor

The succession war is heating up as Delhi’s police commissioner B.S. Bassi prepares to retire from service next month, though it is quite likely that he will be accommodated by the Centre in some plum position. Meanwhile, the hunt has begun for his successor from among the many contenders. Sources say that the government is keen to go for someone who is close to the current political leadership. That should be read as someone who enjoys the trust of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Though several Indian Police Service officers are in the race, including two special commissioners of Delhi Police — Deepak Mishra and Dharmendra Kumar — punters are betting on the present police commissioner of Ahmedabad, Shivanand Jha, getting the coveted position. Apparently, the 1983-batch Gujarat-cadre officer enjoys a rapport with Mr Modi as well as the Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah.

For that reason alone some say that Mr Jha is a shoo-in to replace Mr Bassi. If it indeed happens, it may however, weaken home minister Rajnath Singh’s control over Delhi Police since Mr Jha may be asked to report directly to the Prime Minister’s Office instead of Mr Singh. That could get sticky.

( Source : Columnist )
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