When Manohar Lal Khattar took over as Chief Minister of Haryana in October 2014, he knew nothing about the civil servants of the State. He used to confuse faces and names. The complex task before Khattar was to select the best civil servants amongst the so-called loyalists of his predecessors. There was little choice as almost all civil servants have worked in top posts with his predecessors in the last 20 years. Finally, Khattar managed to create a team. The system was geared up for the new dispensation and was working fine. But, within a year, it started fragmenting. The fourth floor in the Haryana Secretariat has a reputation. It is called the ‘the floor of his majesty.’ All directions are issued from there. The problem is that what the fourth floor proposes, the eighth floor disposes. Not only this, files moving from different offices to the Haryana Secretariat are either not noticed or delayed. There is no time-bound delivery mechanism to clear the files. Many senior officers are loaded with additional charge of core departments, which makes it humanly impossible to do justice to all departments. Many officers never even visit the other offices. Though Khattar claims a ‘corruption free’ government, most of the files don’t move without greasing the palms of the middle-ranking officers. On the Civil Services Day recently, Narendra Modi gave a clarion call to officers to interact with civil society, but in Haryana most of the civil servants are miles away from the civil society of the State.
VOL. 10, ISSUE 2 | MAY, 2016