Thursday, November 30, 2023

Monday Mirchi : Bureaucrats in the loop missing in scams

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It is natural for most of the babus to know-tow to their political masters. But at least when a scam surfaces, the names of the bureaucrats in the loop are bandied about, more so if they happen to be the signing authority. Curiously, in Andhra Pradesh, scams relating to skill development, Inner Ring Road, Amaravati et al have hit the headlines. Still, the interesting part of all reports relating to these scams is that none of the IAS officers, presumably caught in the crosshairs, has been named so far.

People in the corridors of power are wondering how come all CSs, CMO officials, Special CS, and others in the loop during the Chandrababu Naidu regime have been insulated from accountability in the scams. Does it mean that these high-profile secretaries were not involved in administration then? If not one officer can be blamed, who is the culprit? Did the respective files move on their own? May be they did, by artifice if not artificial intelligence!

Assurance on ex-DGP’s services yet to be fulfilled

It has been nearly a year since former DGP Mahender Reddy retired. During the inaugural of the Integrated Command Control Center, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had heaped praises on him and mentioned that the government would continue to use his services. Contrary to expectations in various quarters, the ex-DGP has so far not got any advisory role. Anurag Sharma has been serving as the advisor on matters relating to Law and Order. Those informed in the uniformed quarters are whispering about the waning influence of the once-powerful DGP over the months.

New look of CS, refreshing change talk of the town

Some winds of change are like those of the Zephyr: welcome. TS Chief Secretary Santhi Kumari’s new look, literally from head to toe, has become the talk of the town. They aver it befits her position; to which she has added grace from the day she took over and has been receiving majorly good feedback from power centres. A bureaucrat told yours truly that things are a lot more organised now, while another amplified that merit and capabilities are well-recognised. As the CS and the DGP visited Bapu Ghat on Gandhi Jayanti along with the Governor, they say she has ushering in a change for the better.

Is he ‘sultan’ of officials?
People working with an official who helms affairs at the grassroots level are sick of his ways. For, he berates officials and surrenders them at the drop of a hat. Even officials who had complained to the Minister about him, see no change in his behaviour. They detest his autocratic behaviour and point out how his attitude is bringing bad name to the government ahead of the elections. Some circles feel that his proximity to the Chief Minister and ‘show of strength’ during a family wedding held last year could be the reasons for his high-handed behaviour.

Babu’s lessons for teachers
Senior IAS officer Praveen Prakash has a lesson or two for teachers while implementing his own ideas in the AP School Education project. He has asked teachers to evaluate the answer books of FA-2 and return them to the students. Besides, every Saturday, for FA-2 toppers, it is going to be ‘Selfie with the Principal Secretary Praveen Prakash’. That is not all, he wants teachers to be punctual so that their studied habit rubs on the students as well.

Inspiring generations

Few IAS officers continue to live for generations in the hearts of people. Bapatla now has the distinction of being the first district headquarters to set up a statue of former IAS officer SR Sankaran under the aegis of the Forum For Better Bapatla.

Sankaran, a bachelor who had devoted his life for the welfare of the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and other marginalised sections of society, lived by the time-tested principle of simple living and high thinking.

Caustic comments on tweets

Retired IAS officer PV Ramesh is back in the news for his caustic comments on tweets concerning the AP skill development scam. He equated some of the investigation officers with fiction writers for what he believes are concocted stories. Drawing attention to certain tweets, he wondered whether they deserve awards. To cap it all, the scam amount dwindled from the initial Rs 3,300 crore to Rs 550 crore, then to Rs 371 crore, and finally settled at Rs 27 crore.

Safe to be apolitical

Come elections, it becomes extremely difficult for bureaucrats to function in an obviously apolitical manner. They must weather harsh criticism, often by ruling as well as opposition parties with a lot at stake in their career. In TS, the Congress party has branded six officials, including IPS officers, as ‘sympathisers’ of BRS and want them to be relieved of election duties.

Now, the future of all such branded officers depends on the outcome of elections. If the ruling party retains power, these officers may get good positions simply by virtue of being named and shamed as sympathisers. But if another party comes to power, they may have to face the music.

— Yours truly

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