Let there be checks on babus jumping into poll fray

Quraishi's initiative is welcome, he should now extend it to former CECs too

prasanna

Prasanna Mohanty | January 30, 2012



One of the scariest aspects of the 2G scam was the discovery that several top-level government officials had joined lobbyist Niira Radia after their retirement. Some of these officers had either directly handled telecom policies before retirement. Though the CBI is yet to complete its probe and find out the precise role they played in influencing 2G spectrum allocations, suspicions about their misconduct lingers on.

It was precisely to prevent this kind of a scenario that the government had framed a policy making it mandatory for officers to wait out two years before seeking post-retirement employment with private firms. In case someone was in a hurry his/her service records were examined to rule out any conflict of interest. But it was diluted in 2001 and the cooling off period was reduced to one year. (It is a different matter that the reverse should have happened, given the liberal post-liberalisation distribution of public resources to private firms.)

However, no such rules exist for those government servants seeking to profit from the electoral politics. Look at the ongoing elections in Punjab. DS Guru, principal secretary to chief minister Prakash Singh Badal, resigned and plunged into election. PS Gill, who retired as director-general of police, is also contesting. So is the case with former hockey player Pargat Singh, who resigned as director (sports) from the Badal government. There have been many cases of this kind in other states going through elections now and also in the past.

The babus may be happy to work for a particular political party running a government at a time with a view to reap personal benefits later but what about governance and public welfare? The chief election commissioner SY Quraishi is rightly worried and has shot off a letter to the department of personnel and training to make suitable policy to prevent this. After all, the babus are meant to serve the interest of the people, not the political parties. In a democracy, people are the masters, not the political party in power.

While this is a welcome initiative, Quraishi would do well also to follow the example of JM Lyngdoh, who occupied the high constitutional office a decade ago. Unlike his predecessors TN Seshan and MS Gill, Lyngdoh has resisted the temptation of political offices post-retirement. Indeed, he should consider a bar for former CECs similar to the one for bureacrats, a cooling period before plunging into politics.

Comments

 

Other News

Making sense of facts – and alternative facts

The Art of Conjuring Alternate Realities: How Information Warfare Shapes Your World By Shivam Shankar Singh and Anand Venkatanarayanan HarperCollins / 284 pages / Rs 599 Professor Noam Chomsky, linguist and public intellectual, has often spoken of &ls

The Manali Trance: Economics of Abandoning Caution in the Time of Coronavirus

The brutal second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in India has left a significant death toll in its wake. Health experts advise that the imminent third wave can be delayed by following simple measures like wearing a mask and engaging in social distancing. However, near the end of the second wave, we witnesse

Govt considers fixing driving hrs of commercial vehicles

Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has emphasised deciding driving hours for truck drivers of commercial vehicles, similar to pilots, to reduce fatigue-induced road accidents. In a Na

Telecom department simplifies KYC processes for mobile users

In a step towards Telecom Reforms which aim to provide internet and tele connectivity for the marginalised section, the Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communica

Mumbai think tank calls for climate action

Raising concerns over rising seawater levels and climate change, Mumbai First, a 25-year-old public-private partnership policy think tank, has written letters to Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, minister for environment and climate change, tourism and protocol, Aditya Thackeray and Mumbai munic

Creation of ‘good bank’ as important as ‘bad bank’ for NPA management

After the recent announcement of the government guarantee for Security Receipts (SRs) to be issued by a public sector-owned National Asset Reconstruction Company Ltd (NARCL), there is a surge of interest around this desi version of a super bad bank. The entity will acquire around ₹2 trillion bad debts fr

Visionary Talk: Gurcharan Das, Author, Commentator & Public Intellectual on key governance issues


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter