And the story of two exceptions: An honest officer is deemed guilty, and a top officer says no to post-retirement sinecures
Ashish Mehta | December 26, 2018
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.
(The article appears in December 31, 2018 edition)
Every middle-class Indian dreams of a home coupled withlanded property to live off the rent. However, large initial investment, particularly inmetros, and low yields ensure that real estate is out of the reach of the common man. A return of 7-8 percent from commercial properties is considered highly commen
The Maharashtra State Election Commission has urged the residents to take advantage of the ongoing Electors Verification Programme (EVP) and register their names along with those of the members of their families in the electoral rolls. The drive, which started on November 11, 2019, will continue till Febru
The budget season is here, and the annual document has gone to print, beginning the lock-in period till its presentation in parliament on February 1. The Halwa ceremony, marking the commencement of the budget printing process, was held in North Block Monday morning in the presence of finance
Investment banker, venture capitalist and stock-market expert Vallabh Bhansali is the co-founder and chairman of Enam Group, a pioneering equity research company in the country. He is a promoter of spiritual and cultural traditions and also an expert on development economics, behavioural science and co
Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) projects are always under scrutiny, given the options of alternative of traditional procurement for the government. The value-for-money debate is one of the essential parameters to judge any PPP. In the absence of any credible data on this regard, it is very difficult to e
Electoral bonds, introduced in January 2018 to bring in transparency in political funding, has emerged as the preferred route for making donations to parties, according to an analysis of the parties’ audit reports by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR). “Given the anonymi