With Jaya in jail, babus fear pending files will drown TN administration

Panneerselvam takes over but bureaucrats in Chennai fear super-slow decision-making would be a sore point in Amma’s absence

shivani

Shivani Chaturvedi | September 29, 2014 | Chennai



While Tamil Nadu has got its new chief minister in O Panneerselvam, what is a cause of concern for many senior bureaucrats in the state is that the process of decision-making and actual work would slow down with former chief minister J Jayalalithaa in jail.

Several officers told Governance Now that the real power vests with Amma, as Jayalalithaa is referred to, and she is known to take all decisions for both the party and the government.

Panneerselvam had taken over as the caretaker chief minister earlier in 2001, when Jayalalithaa was unseated for a few weeks in another criminal case and till her return to office.He takes over for a second time after a Karnataka court handed Jayalalithaa a four-year sentence in a disproportionate assets case.

A senior bureaucrat in Chennai said on conditions of anonymity that during those times  there used to be meetings at Jayalalithaa’s home in the evenings, when Panneerselvam used to sit with her and discuss issues related to governance and administration. Files were taken to Jayalalithaa and decision-making was not paralysed.

But the case is not the same this time around because Jayalalithaa is likely to be in jail, unless she gets bail or relief from a higher court, he added.
Other senior officers are concerned that many bureaucrats are going to become lethargic now that Jayalalithaa is set to be in jail.

Earlier in the day, new chief minister Panneerselvam, who broke down while taking oath, retained all 30 cabinet ministers appointed by his predecessor, with all of them retaining the same portfolios.

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