Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Monday Mirchi : TS officials heave a sigh of relief

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Winds of change are blowing across babudom in Telangana. Officials heaved a sigh of relief after the change in leadership. Chief Secretary Santhi Kumar is flexible and approachable. She is not averse to giving appointments. Officials no longer feel micro-managed or as if they are walking on eggshells. A little bird told us that, compared to her predecessor iron-fisted Somesh Kumar, Santhi Kumar is refreshingly different. She has brought grace to the position by scrupulously following rules and has sent out a strong message to bureaucratic circles with her active presence at functions organized on the Republic Day. She was at the Raj Bhavan, Pragathi Bhavan, and in her office for the unfurling of the national flag. Later in the evening she even attended At Home.

DGP means business
Director-General of Police Anjani Kumar means business. With him at the helm of affairs, it looks like no official is going to sit idle without posting. In the recent reshuffle of IPS and non- cadre officers, as many as 48 officers who had been waiting for posting were given task. Nineteen IPS officers were given posting, including those from the 2017 batch. Bureaucratic circles are now discussing how the party of many these officials, who had been drawing salaries without any work for months, has come to an end. In the second round of rejig in the same week, Anjani Kumar asked 13 officers to report to the Chief Minister’s Office. Anjani Kumar even conducted a session to boost the morale of the officers after rejig. Officials say his ways are different from those of his predecessor Mahender Reddy.

Donations come at a cost
Days after promotion, the Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy government moved senior IPS officer P V Sunil Kumar from the post of state Crime Investigation Department chief. The senior IPS officer of the 1993 batch has been asked to report to the General Administration Department. The sudden transfer has taken many by surprise, considering that Sunil had secured DG rank by climbing up the ladder quickly. Sunil was supposed to be in the good books of the Chief Minister. Apparently a complaint went to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs about PV Sunil and they were not very happy with the way AP government chose to deal with the complaint. There are whispers in the corridors of power that the action was triggered by a complaint about donations raised by an NGO started by PV Sunil. Some circles believe that Sunil Kumar might be given a better post, such as Intelligence chief. He is also tipped to be the next DGP of AP.
Sunil Kumar is known for his controversial decisions relating to filing of cases against TDP leaders, registering case in the alleged Amaravati land scam, an Inner Ring Road case, a sedition case against YSRC rebel MP K Raghurama Krishnam Raju and against a couple of media houses.

More questions than answers
The recent much-publicized intrusion of a deputy tahilsdar into CM Secretary Smita Sabarwal’s house has taken bureaucratic circles by storm. Several questions came up among officials, instead of answers, when yours truly tried to figure out what exactly had happened. What was the security doing? Why didn’t they check with Smita before letting them enter her house at that late hour? Why were the doors not locked? Why was it posted on Twitter two days after the incident? Her colleagues too responded with similar questions, for which there have been no answers till date. During the interrogation, even the second accused never explained why they were there late in the night. All they said was that they wanted to talk about promotions of tahsildars because their Andhra counterparts got elevated. Nonetheless, the police have now decided to increase patrolling and strengthen vigil at bureaucrats’ homes.

Only task is to prepare a revenue model
Priorities change when the fiscal position of the government is weak with no light at the end of the tunnel. Government departments typically focus on their budgets, targets etc. With the countdown for budget nearing, the only task for every secretary of every department in Andhra Pradesh is to prepare a revenue model or loan raising scheme. None of the departments has been spared, including those which generally do not generate revenue. Some of the departments, such as animal husbandry, agriculture, cooperation and marketing, are puzzled as to how they could raise funds. Officials are breaking their heads over how each of them can contribute to enhancing GSDP, improving economy, and creating new jobs.

Streamlining administration under watch
It pays to have a pliant administration during polls. Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has been streamlining the administration, apparently to prepare for the upcoming Assembly and Lok Sabha elections. In one stroke, more than 90 officers have been transferred in the Police Department. In almost in all the districts, new superintendents of Police have been appointed. Officers at top levels have also been changed. The general opinion is that, given the elections ahead, the government has appointed in key positions officers who would be useful. However, since the Election Commission and the courts are keenly observing everything, such officers have little scope to help ruling parties. If they do it out of the way, they have to face the music. KCR is expected to reshuffle IAS officers as well. He may want the entire administration to be in his grip by the time of elections. But that may not be possible because, apart from the Election Commission and Courts, the Union government led by BJP is closely watching the state administration.

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