Sunday, May 26, 2024

Monday Mirchi : New avatar of Somesh Kumar

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When a senior babu who normally spares little time for others becomes eagerly communicative and unduly inquisitive, his peers, subordinates, and others will start reading between the lines. Of late people are surprised to see a significant change in the behavior of TS Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar. He has started enquiring about ground realities, obtaining feedback and understanding situations from the standpoints of people, visitors and colleagues. Given his position, it is natural for Somesh to meet various people and the whole thing might seem an essential part of his job. However, bureaucratic circles are now discussing whether he is gathering information to be passed on to someone else.

A little bird told us that in some cases there is reverse feedback from people who had sensed it. Another section of people are, however, happy that communication, strictly a two-way process, is at least happening now, though no one knows what purposes.

CS and Super CS

At the apex levels, if babus are not exactly doing what they are supposed to do, it could be that some of the positions have practically become sinecures or somewhat nominal. The plethora of advisors in the AP administration has already drawn flak. Now outgoing CS Sameer Sharma’s appointment as the Chief Executive to Chief Minister has raised questions about what the newly appointed Chief Secretary Jawahar Reddy will do.

For the record, Sameer is Chief Executive to Chief Minister (CE2CM). He has been hired ostensibly for implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and will have the rank and status of an ex-officio CS to the government in the Chief Minister’s Office. As CE2CM, Sharma will also assist the Chief Minister in assessing the performance of AIS officers through the Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs). This is typically done by Chief Secretaries. Bureaucratic circles in AP are wondering who should be regarded as the Chief Secretary: the one designated as such or the one actually writing ACRs.

Praveen Prakash has the last laugh

Praveen Prakash, who had been transferred and posted as the Principal Secretary to Government, School Education Department, in place of Special Chief Secretary to Government Budidha Rajasekhar, seems to have had the last laugh. Bureaucratic circles are discussing how Prakash had previously tried in vain to see Rajashekar moved from the Education Department. A little bird told us that despite Praveen recommending the removal of Rajashekar from the Education Department during the high point of his career, the grip of Rajashekar continued. Now, with Praveen in charge when Rajashekar was on leave, major changes in the Education Department seem to be in the offing. 

At a time when teachers were taken away from election duties, the change of guard has left some sections wondering what is in store. Rajasekhar, upon his return from leave, was asked to report to the government in the General Administration Department for posting orders.

Collectors hear poll buzz

When files move too quickly and works get done on a war-footing, it is the bureaucrats who first feel the undercurrents. In Telangana, the situation now looks almost like pre-poll buzz. Bureaucratic circles are hearing it and discussing the probable reshuffle ahead of the polls. If collectors are moved or if a collectors’ conference is in the offing, can early poll be far behind? A lot of bureaucrats are already disgruntled over continuing in the same position for unduly long, while others are just waiting to move. Officials are discussing the potential reasons for agonizing delay in the reshuffle.

Currying CM’s favour competitively

It appears that in Telangana bureaucrats are getting emboldened to competitively curry the Chief Minister’s favour. For, nothing seems to happen to those in the dock for inappropriate behavior. While one official publicly touched the feet of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao in a revolting display of servility and even got rewarded, another praised KCR as ‘Abhinava Ambedkar’. Since the latter is an IAS officer, the Union Department of Personnel and Training, acting on a complaint made by the Congress, had made enquiries and asked the state Chief Secretary to take action against the official, who is serving as Sangareddy Collector.  Still, so far no action has been taken against the ‘abhinava’ IAS official. The talk in official circles is that babus are outdoing pink party leaders in hailing KCR.

– Your’s truly

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