The Rusting of the Steel Frame

And the story of two exceptions: An honest officer is deemed guilty, and a top officer says no to post-retirement sinecures

ashishm

Ashish Mehta | December 26, 2018


#Harish Chandra Gupta   #IAS   #Indian Administrative Service   #bureaucracy   #Steel Frame   #Hasmukh Adhia  
Ashish Asthana
Ashish Asthana

The Steel Frame of the government machinery was forged by the Iron Man. The phrase that has come to describe the Indian bureaucracy was coined by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, when he addressed the first batch of Indian Administrative Service (IAS) probationers on April 21, 1947 (the day is celebrated as the Civil Service Day every year since). Patel could not have envisioned this but the frame is now rusted, leaving a few solitary shining spots.

The shining spots, then, stand out. They are the exceptions who prove the rule. In the past fortnight, two such veteran administrators made news. It was a case of shock and awe: shock at the conviction of Harish Chandra Gupta, and awe at the graceful exit of Hasmukh Adhia, among the handful of the most powerful officers till last month.

In case of the modern-day Harish Chandra, irony is that even investigators, who probed him for his alleged role in the allocation of coal blocks as coal secretary in the UPA years, are ready to vouch for his innocence. There are of course legal wrangles in the way, and he is prepared to face them in his own, stoic way.

That is the way also chosen by the other officer. The man who is believed to be the only one prime minister Modi kept in loop on his most historic decision had been offered high-profile positions to choose from after his retirement, but he modestly declined each, thanked his bosses, and vacated his official residence, to pursue his own path.

The subtext of the two events is that the norm these days in the rusted Steel Frame is to garner unaccounted wealth and not get caught, while also keeping political bosses happy to ensure the trapping of power continue past superannuation.

Governance Now tells the unusual story of the two officers who provide a model for the next generation if the Steel Frame is to regain its lost strength.

Read: A Harish Chandra parable gone wrong

Governance of the self

 

(The article appears in December 31, 2018 edition)

Comments

 

Other News

Budget: Highlights

Union minister of finance and corporate affairs Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2023-24 in Parliament on Wednesday. The highlights of the Budget are as follows: PART A     Per capita income has more than doubled to Rs 1.97 lakh in around

Budget presents vision for Amrit Kaal: A blueprint for empowered, inclusive economy

Union Budget 2023-24, presented by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Parliament on Wednesday, outlined the vision of Amrit Kaal which shall reflect an empowered and inclusive economy.  “We envision a prosperous and inclusive India, in which the fruits of development reach all regions an

Soumya Swaminathan to head M S Swaminathan Research Foundation

Former World Health Organisation (WHO) chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan takes charge as chairperson of M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) from February 1.   Founded by her father, the legendary agricultural scientist M S Swaminathan, MSSRF was set up to accelerate the use of m

m-Governance: Key to Digital India

The digital revolution is being led by India. Digital governance is a key component of the government's ambition to transform India into a society where everyone has access to the internet. It includes both M-governance and E-governance, which are major methods for the delivery of services via mobile devic

A sacred offering of the beauty of ‘Saundarya Lahari’ – in English

Saundarya Lahari: Wave of Beauty Translated from the Sanskrit by Mani Rao HarperCollins, 218 pages, Rs 399 ‘Saundarya Lahari’, usually ascribed to Adi Shankaracharya, has a unique status among the religious-spiritual works of Hinduism.

The Boy Who Became the Mahatma

This year, as the nation commemorates the 75th death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on January 30, Rajesh Talwar, a prolific author who is also a legal advisor to the UN, is all set to release a play for children on non-violence chronicling the life of Mahatma Gandhi, ‘The Boy Who Became the Mahat

Visionary Talk: Amitabh Gupta, Pune Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now



Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter