Madhya Pradesh: Babus and netas at loggerheads

Bhopal: Elections are to be held in about five months but all is not well between politicians and bureaucrats in state. There are at least five incidents in past months which indicate that the rift between political will and bureaucracy has widened.

Arbitrary transfers of IAS, IPS and IFS officers is to blame. Recent transfer of IPS officer Gaurav Tiwari, who was transferred thrice in two years, is an example. IPS Raja Babu Singh, who was transferred thrice in six months, even wrote to the chief secretary for help.

No civil service board in MP

It is worth noting that Madhya Pradesh is yet to constitute a civil service board or committee regarding posting/transfer for IAS cadre.

As per DoPT rules, all states should have civil services board or committee to decide on transfer and postings of bureaucrats. Officers of Indian Administrative Service (IAS) generally have a minimum two-year tenure in each posting.

Sanjay Rana, president IPS association and Sanjay Goel, secretary IAS association refused to comment on the issue.

Former chief secretary Nirmala Buch, however, told DB Post that officers sometimes feel aggrieved as postings are done in an ad-hoc and arbitrary fashion. “If they have short tenures they can always furnish an excuse that they could not do what they were expected to because the time was very short,” she said.

However, Buch also said that fixing the duration of postings is not practical.

Growing mistrust

  • Ever since the alleged thousand crore scam in e-tenders of Jal Nigam and some other departments was unearthed in June, Manish Rastogi, a 1994-batch IAS, is on a long leave.
  • A few days ago, a column by Rastogi’s wife Dipali (an IAS and commissioner of tribal welfare department) created stir owing to its content on how bureaucrats are appreciated as yes-men only.
  • Recently another IAS officer Sobhit Jain wrote on his Facebook “Appointment and recruitment should be free from interference and nepotism. Strictly on merit.” – AP Shrivastava, 1984-batch IAS, additional chief secretary, holding the reins of finance department, asked officials to get files signed from his successor. It all began when the term of incumbent chief secretary BP Singh was extended for six months. Shrivastava was the strongest contender for the post.
  • IAS officer Neha Marvya was recently divested of CM grant department as many files which were in priority for election planning were allegedly delayed.

Recalling Modi

Prime minister Narendra Modi in 2017, while addressing an audience on Civil Services Day, had asked civil servants to become enablers, not regulators. Pressing for a sync between the wavelengths of political will and bureaucracy, he said that performance of bureaucracy and public participation can bring change. But scenario in MP seems opposite and far from bureaucratic reforms.

Yogendra Pratap Singh & Prabhatesh Tripathi