Monday, July 22, 2024

Monday Mirchi : Gag order gone, social media active again

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For officials, if it is a choice between learning theories of cooperative federalism and displaying nerve in their day-to-day functioning, they will be glad to pick the latter. One statement from IT Minister K T Rama Rao virtually reversed an unofficial gag order that has been in vogue for over two years in TS bureaucratic circles. KTR merely called upon young IAS officers, Collectors and senior babus to “become active on social media”. At the end of the day, it sounded as if he had pulled up officers for not posting. A day after his statement, many IAS officers’ accounts began buzzing again with hyper activity, not unlike in 2019. Since early 2020, when changes happened in the top ranks of the Telangana administration, the social media presence of bureaucrats thinned out or came down to practically nothing. Shrewd bureaucratic circles have noticed the timing of KTR’s statement removing the gag: it comes hardly hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had chaired a meeting of Chief Secretaries at Dharmashala with focus on ‘cooperative federalism’.

Prying via Google
Googling can take the form of prying when people start searching for somewhat personal information. The New Year triggered questions impinging on the outlook for the year with people becoming inquisitive about babus. The most searched question on Google about Telangana Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar was about his retirement date. For starters, Somesh Kumar will be retiring on December 31, 2023. Likewise, in respect of CM Secretary Smita Sabarwal, the most searched questions were about her husband and age. Even inaccessibility of GHMC Commissioner Lokesh Kumar was searched with the prompt being: ‘How to contact Lokesh?’ As for Irrigation Secretary Rajat Kumar, people were interested to know about his daughter’s wedding!

Andhra cadre Bihar officers call the shots
Nine years into formation of Telangana, a state that had come into being on the crest of regionalism, those calling the shots at top levels in the administration are not locals. Not many have forgotten the Mulki movement pertaining to the erstwhile state of Hyderabad either. Yet, today two of the topmost posts are held by Andhra cadre officers and both are noticeably natives of Bihar. Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar and DGP Anjani Kumar have been assigned to the Andhra Pradesh cadre. For newbies, the Union government had re-allotted IAS and IPS officers on the basis of recommendations made by the Pratyush Sinha Committee. In the process, Somesh Kumar and Anjani Kumar were allotted to the AP cadre. Somesh had moved CAT and got allotted to the cadre. Last year, during Abhishek Mohanty’s stand-off, the Central government had made a pitch to send Somesh Kumar back to Andhra. The matter is pending with the judiciary. Bureaucratic circles are abuzz that there is chance for the Central government to take a tough stance considering the elections ahead.

Praise for CDMA
By choice some babus hide their light under a bushel and let their work speak volumes about themselves. The other day, for a change Minister KT Rama Rao picked, not Jayesh Ranjan or Arvind Kumar, but another IAS officer, Commissioner and Director of Municipal Administration Dr N Satyanarayana, for lavishing praise, and described him as a ‘great asset’. “Satyanarayana garu is a great asset and a knowledgeable officer I know. He is aware of what is happening across the country. He has a great sense of responsibility”. KTR went a step ahead and asked the young IAS officer to reach out to him directly on WhatsApp or knock on his door anytime. The Minister rued that Satyanarayana is not active on social media and not talking enough about his work. A little bird told us that Satyanarayana is giving serious thought to what KTR had suggested.

Big two in TTD do not see eye to eye
Executive Officer of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams A V Dharma Reddy has resumed work soon after his son Chandramouli’s demise, taking just 12-day leave to recover from the shock and perform rites. Meanwhile, a little bird told us that everything is not okay between Dharma Reddy and TTD Chairman Y V Subba Reddy. The two have differences mainly because of their working styles. While Dharma Reddy is sticking to rule book, Subba Reddy is seeking relaxations at work.

Promotions as New Year gifts
Some get promotion as New Year gift for their loyalty, going by what has happened to certain 1993 IPS officers. Three 1993 batch IPS officers in Andhra Pradesh have been promoted to the rank of Director General of Police (DGP). Bureaucratic circles are discussing on how P V Sunil Kumar in particular got his DGP rank for exemplary loyalty. Mahesh Dixit and Amit Garg, serving in New Delhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy in Hyderabad respectively on Central deputation, have also been promoted. A little bird told us that the order was intended to promote Sunil, a loyal lieutenant of Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy. As CID chief, he had stomached several allegations from the opposition party that he always brazenly took the side of the ruling party.

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