It is not an ordinary success for those who compete and qualify in UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) examination to enter the Central Civil Services. The job of Indian Administrative Service (IAS) is the most preferred choice of the majority of the aspirants followed by Indian Foreign Service, Indian Revenue Service, and Indian Police Service.
Society holds the successful candidates in good esteem. Earlier, toppers in the examinations used to get space in newspaper columns now they get publicity in television news channels also. In the beginning, successful candidates show commitment to service, commitment to serve the people and the nation with integrity. It is this class of bureaucracy that would implement various government schemes and projects running into lakhs of crores of rupees provided in the annual budget. The responsibility of execution of schemes and programs will rest on their shoulders.
The way the Indian Bureaucracy is being politicised is not a healthy sign. This is also a fact that senior bureaucrats including women officers are getting involved in corruption. Such officers can stoop to any low to please their political patrons. They are getting untamed. They are seen abusing their authority and using power for wrong and illegal purpose. More than 250 crores of properties and cash were recovered during raids on IAS couple Joshi in Madhya Pradesh.
Good Officers a rare commodity
We have lost officers like L. P. Singh, A. K. Damodaran, K. Subramaniam, T. N. Sheshan and J. N. Dixit to name a few. It was A. K. Damodaran who had prepared the draft of a historic peace agreement between India and then the Soviet Union in 1971. Damodaran, an I.F.S. officer of 1953 batch played an important role in giving shape and direction to India’s foreign policy. Although, he worked with the Prime Minister and many Union Ministers during his service but he was never identified with any Minister or Politician then. After he retired he never got attached to any political party or politician to get some position. Now it is difficult to get an officer like Damodaran. Such officers have simply vanished from the scene. Today, officers in civil services get close to politicians and leaders soon after entering the service so that they can get some post-retirement lucrative job or get into politics and become a Member of Parliament.
Towards the Corporate World
A section of crafty bureaucrats who are able to win the trust of politicians and ministers are successful in getting their future secured. They even manipulate rules to fix themselves in a position of power after retirement. The government should enact a law to prohibit any member of Civil Service to take up a job or to join Corporate or to join any Political Party at least three years after retirement. In the present scenario, officers lack sincerity and dedication to work. They are not impartial in approach to administration.
There are many big industrial and corporate houses who have hired retired officers with big fat salary and perks. There could be an exception but in general, the corporate houses hire those officers from whom they get benefits when the officer is in service. In some cases, officers manipulate and bend rules to benefit industrial houses. Post-retirement job is not the end of benefits for corrupt officers. While in service they get bribe in lakhs. There are instances when corporate houses sponsor foreign tours for the officers and their families, meet all expenses within the country if the officer or his family is on a private tour. If son or daughter of an officer is studying abroad, the expenses are born by the Industrial houses.
This way, Yashwant Sinha and Ajit Jogi who were IAS officers but took to politics and became the Member of Parliament and Member of State Assembly should be seen as a different case. Both Sinha and Jogi quit their government jobs before 10-12 years of retirement to take the plunge in politics. Sinha was with the former prime minister Chandra Shekhar and subsequently, he joined the BJP. He was the Minister of Finance and then Minister for External Affairs during the Atal Behari Vajpayee Government from 1998 to 2004. Ajit Jogi was chief minister of Chhattisgarh. These officers did nothing wrong. K.R.Narayan was an IFS officer. He was a diplomat and rose to become President of India. It is the fundamental right of an individual to choose his or her profession or avocation. One can join any political party or even form a new party. R K Singh, currently the Union Minister for Power in the Modi Government was home secretary at the Centre. After retirement, he entered politics and was elected as Lok Sabha member from Bihar in 2014.
K. Natwar Singh a former IFS officer was close to Nehru and then to Indira Gandhi while still in service. Natwar Singh, a 1953 batch IFS officer always got choice posting because of his proximity to Nehru and Indira Gandhi who held the office of Prime Minister for a long period. But with the advent of Janata Party Government at the Centre in 1977, Morarji Desai, the then Prime Minister had tightened the screw on Natwar Singh. Singh had discussed his discomfiture during Moraraji Desai Government in an interview to an English daily published from Delhi.
R K SINHA
(The writer is a Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha)