From the Editor
IT was a glittering gathering at the India International Centre where serving Cabinet Secretary Ajit Kumar Seth and two former Cabinet Secretaries, Prabhat Kumar and the most trusted man of Prime Minister, B K Chaturvedi, assembled to discuss the issue of ‘Governance Reforms’ last month. Apart from them, Comptroller and Auditor General of India Vinod Rai and a host of serving and retired bureaucrats were listening to their leaders in the packed small auditorium. It was a rare occasion. Gfiles is carrying the whole discussion as a cover story, so our readers can know the mindset of the top three decision makers of the country. It is a coincidence that Seth completes one year as Cabinet Secretary in June without any controversy and has one more year to go as guardian of the Indian bureaucracy and administration. Kudos to Seth.
Media shy Cabinet Secretary Seth spoke with restraint but he was very candid in his lecture and gave an idea about the bubbling reforms, which he wants to implement without involving the jargon of different reports. He said “We are concerned about giving attention to officers to let them specialise (especially when I refer to the more complex ventures of the task at hand); we mean to allow officers to have knowledge about that particular area and try to reduce the volatility in tenures. So, on my part as a Cabinet Secretary, I try and even though I don’t always succeed, but I try…and the service is changing.”
Our prolific writer Shailaja Chandra, former Chief Secretary Delhi, is back with her strong opinion in the article. ‘Refuse to succumb to pressure’. She writes, “All the superior civil services have immediate options at hand but they must choose to exercise them. For starters, refuse to play courtier to anyone, howsoever big; refuse to issue illegal and irregular orders; refuse to rob public funds from Peter to pay Paul; refuse to seek and grant favours; and most important of all, reduce all verbal orders into written ones.” It is like a clarion call. Will it have any impact or not, we cannot say but like ex-Prime Minister, the late Chandrashekhar used to say, if you have a point keep on hammering it, somebody, somewhere is listening and it will have an impact.
Ravinder Dubey, our Associate Editor, travels to Madhya Pradesh to expose the widespread corruption in the State’s bureaucracy. He narrates a hilarious example, “Had it not been for some overenthusiastic clerk who did not know that the month of June has only 30 days, the NREGA scam could have taken years to come to light. Records show that bulk payments were made to workers under NREGA on dates like June 31.” One can only scream as the system is so detached that possibly nothing will happen to the schemers, who plan and implement the loot of the exchequer.
Another Associate Editor Neeraj Mahajan travels to Haryana to dig out the shocking story of Sanjiv Chaturvedi, a 2002 batch Indian Forest Service officer (IFS) of Haryana cadre, who has just exposed the nexus between politicians and forest poachers. The expose of the forest mafia has paused the bright career of Chaturvedi; he is fighting a battle against the almighties of Haryana. Prabhat Kumar, in his article, elaborates in a lighter vein the problem of complex internal consistency, “There is a man who goes to the zoo where he sees a lion and monkey in the same cage. Astonished, he asks the zookeeper how were they staying together. The zookeeper said that they generally get along, sometimes there is difference of opinion between the two and then we have to change the monkey.”