IAS officers gather to discuss the ‘changing environment’ at work

The meeting, which was attended by IAS officers from across the country, batches and cadres, saw serving and retired bureaucrats express concern over the “changing environment.”

Written by Deeptiman Tiwary | New Delhi | Updated: October 23, 2016 8:59 am

AN estimated 80 IAS officers Saturday expressed concern over the “changing environment” in governance — from the focus on quicker decision-making but no safeguards for those making the decisions, to scrutiny by the CBI and CVC, and a sense of insecurity among officers.

In the backdrop of the suspension of Home Ministry Joint Secretary G K Dwivedi, and former coal secretary H C Gupta expressing his willingness to go to jail rather than defend himself in the coal scam case, the IAS officers held a round-table meeting here to discuss various issues.

The meeting, which was attended by IAS officers from across the country, batches and cadres, saw serving and retired bureaucrats express concern over the “changing environment”, although, according to sources, it was not clear what change was being referred to.

Watch what else is making news:

According to sources present at the meeting, during discussions on ensuring decisions are free, fair and taken without any pressure, one serving officer said every bureaucrat is forced to think about how the CBI and CVC may view the decisions in future. This was seen as an impediment to quick decision-making, which was another issue of discussion.

Another officer said that while the focus is on quicker decision-making, there are no safeguards to protect bureaucrats. An officer pointed out that there was a lot of uncertainty and insecurity among bureaucrats, and many don’t know how to deal with the situation.

Some others voiced their fears and highlighted the challenges under the new regime and the changing contours of governance in the country.

“Issues related to Prevention of Corruption Act and sanction for prosecution were discussed. The point was how to ensure bold decision-making. It is important to protect bureaucrats who have taken a decision in good faith. Section 13 of PCA was discussed in this context. It is the only Act in which mens rea is not applicable. It is a pre-liberalisation Act where private sector had little role. Today, every decision by a bureaucrat is going to benefit some private firm. By that logic, all bureaucrats will be in jail,” IAS Association (Central) Secretary Sanjay Bhoosreddy told The Sunday Express.

Section 13 of Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) makes any civil servant criminally liable if his act leads to pecuniary benefit to anyone and is deemed to be not in “public interest”.

Bureaucrats had raised this issue last year at a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had assured them that the government was looking at the Law Commission’s recommendations on amendments to PCA.

Following the suspension of G K Dwivedi, after the renewal of FCRA licence of an NGO run by controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, all joint secretaries in the Home Ministry met Home Minister Rajnath Singh to register their protest, even as IAS officers made a representation to the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) seeking immediate revocation of the suspension. The suspension has now been revoked, and Dwivedi is awaiting his posting.

In the case of former coal secretary H C Gupta, IAS officers argued that corruption trial should not be opened against a bureaucrat unless there is clear evidence of pecuniary gain.

The meeting today discussed four key issues: “Evolving role of the IAS in the context of changing governance requirements”, “ensuring bold and proactive, free and fair decision-making by officers”, “leadership of the IAS in the governance structure”, and “developing human capital in the IAS”.

Under these heads, sources said, issues related to state governments stalling the career growth of IAS officers by not issuing NOCs for central deputation, and a pan-India service like IAS serving as a state service was also discussed.

The meeting also discussed the relationship between the IAS and other services. “It was discussed and we decided that we are the premier service and we have leadership. But this means carrying along everyone. We have to behave like an elder brother and not like father,” said Bhoosreddy.

Interestingly, IPS officers, who had locked horns with the IAS officers on issues of parity in service, also held their general body meeting on Saturday. This meeting again raised the issue of parity in empanelment, posting and pay scale with IAS. “The elder brother-younger brother relationship has turned into master-servant relationship. That is why we are seeking parity,” said a UP cadre officer who attended the meeting.
The IAS meeting, Bhoosreddy said, also agreed to be in favour of lateral entry into the service. However, the
officers insisted that there should be a proper procedure laid down for inducting experts from the private sector, and it should not be discretionary.

The bureaucrats also decided to develop a database, based on which they would rank all states on governance and administrative parameters every year to ensure accountability of both the political and bureaucratic dispensation in every state.

Other topics that were discussed included the “need for safety nets and redressal mechanisms”, “ensuring stability of tenure and preventing witch-hunting”, “need for balancing generalist with specialised skills”, “safeguarding apex level positions (CS, DM etc)”, “retaining the edge of the IAS” and “performance-based incentives and disincentives”.

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App now

First Published on: October 23, 2016 4:47 am
  1. M
    MANI S
    Oct 23, 2016 at 11:46 am
    It is a normal human perception. The basic force originates from our PM. It is good for the country. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;But he must take up this angle immediately, and make each ministry responsible rather than the officer. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Concerned minister must discuss the decision with the officer,sign and release. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Even if he, she is on tour, with the communication facilities that the govt is trying to promote hard, absence from the point of action is no reason for silence. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;If this can be considered, then decision making with confidence will produce all desired results much faster.
    Reply
    1. A
      amartya
      Oct 23, 2016 at 8:58 am
      these socialist secular frauds are looting our country
      Reply
      1. S
        Sanjeev Bhatnagar
        Oct 23, 2016 at 1:26 pm
        It is Right Time for introspection for all Bureaucrats to improve themselves and be in line with Ease Of Doing Business , a dream project of Prime Minister Of India Shri Narendra Modi.
        Reply
        1. K
          KS KUMAR
          Oct 23, 2016 at 2:24 am
          IAS Officers have enjo their tenures without any accountability so far. When they are asked to take quick decisions in public interest, they grumble. All these days they have facilitated benefits to their political masters and the agents. This is also a ploy by congress and commies just like agitation of intolerance. Their only aim is to show Modi govt in bad light.
          Reply
          1. B
            balasubramanyam
            Oct 23, 2016 at 12:16 am
            These babus are used to just ping the buck. Not used to taking decisions. If country has to progress we need to take decisions and implement them at faster pace.
            Reply
            1. M
              mahipal rawat
              Oct 23, 2016 at 2:00 am
              It is time to deliver. So far you have enjo with your akas, friends and brother in arms. Everything you did was blanket covered and you were the official arms of Congress. Country is changing, a real tough task master is sitting on your head and you will have to work real now. I am also facing a changed environment but I am happy because somewhere we will be answerable and delivering.
              Reply
              1. K
                Kuldip Singh
                Oct 23, 2016 at 4:01 am
                "Bureaucrats had raised this issue last year at a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had ured them that the government was looking at the Law Commission’s recommendations on amendments to PCA."lt;br/gt;Could the Government please take a quick decision. Government must practice what it preachers.
                Reply
                1. N
                  Niladrinath Mohanty
                  Oct 23, 2016 at 3:20 am
                  From my personal experience I feel that there is a need to review how the vigilance set up in the country works.
                  Reply
                  1. N
                    Niladrinath Mohanty
                    Oct 23, 2016 at 3:52 am
                    I want to add one more point. These bureaucrats are not honest in their intent and action. In short, many of them are not authentic. I shall narrate an incident in which I was involved. I was heading a project of Govt. of India located in a remote backward area. The Secretary of Ministry controlling the this project along with the Managing Director(MD) was visiting the project site and I received them. On the way the Secretary was eloquently talking about the benefits of air conditioning the office working place. I got foolishly inspired by his views and told him that our administrative office was going to be centrally air conditioned. In fact only the formal contract was waiting to be awarded for the work to commence. Lo and behold- as soon as the Secretary went back I got an order from the MD to abandon central air conditioning.
                    Reply
                    1. N
                      nagarajabillur
                      Oct 23, 2016 at 1:20 am
                      There are hardly any honest IAS officers. Almost all compromise and are honest of Manmohan Singh type.
                      Reply
                      1. A
                        Avinash
                        Oct 23, 2016 at 3:12 am
                        Decisions based on merits need no explanation. IAS rank is the highest thinking tank in the country. Quit if you can not handle honesty, transparency and accountability. Politicians and the big business' don't pay your ries. They pay RISHVAT. You are working for 1.25 billion people's le who pay your ries. EARN IT.
                        Reply
                        1. N
                          Nskumar
                          Oct 23, 2016 at 5:48 am
                          Why bureaucrats get panic if they are working consutionally or as per their official code of conduct? CBI or CVC investigates or scrutinises only when their action rises suion. This is not the era of 'anonymity of administration', every bureaucrat must take the responsibility as their decisions affects millions. If they can't afford responsibility, then there r so many young people who are eagerly waiting to join the service.
                          Reply
                          1. P
                            p t
                            Oct 23, 2016 at 2:39 am
                            Life is very simple now. Just bow to the Hindutva brigade and you will be spared.
                            Reply
                            1. S
                              sadda
                              Oct 23, 2016 at 1:34 am
                              IAS is responding or reacting? It is about time IAS did some serious retrospection and stock taking. It is a good development. There are I am sure some hidden deeper self-serving concerns.!
                              Reply
                              1. S
                                Sheik Mohamed
                                Oct 23, 2016 at 2:26 pm
                                Senior bureaucrats worrying of changing environment really a matter of great concern to those serving higher level officers. In most of cases, political bosses who had pressured Officers to do things at their own sweet will were let off, and officers were punished as most of them were innocent except in some case, where senior bureaucrats has given wrong advice just for pecuniary benefits. The situation become bad to worse since the took over of reins by saffronised party lead by NAMO.
                                Reply
                                1. S
                                  S L
                                  Oct 23, 2016 at 1:50 am
                                  No one likes accountability in this country.All behave like kings .But evryone expects a handsome credit into his ry account before the month ends.We are poor due to this mindset.Games are pla by exceptions and not rules in order to shirk responsibility and find alibis to enjoy life at the cost of poor Indians.
                                  Reply
                                  1. V
                                    Vns
                                    Oct 23, 2016 at 11:19 pm
                                    One stupid retired IAS officer of Tamil Nadu Cadre has publicly on TV has said that he would slap lord Ram's photo with chappal. Please google Christudas hi Ram statement. This happened few days back.. did the secular media published this news ?
                                    Reply
                                    1. V
                                      V.V.Chandrasekaran
                                      Oct 23, 2016 at 1:09 pm
                                      The government's withdrawal from welfare to Corporate governance based on profit has pushed the Civil Services to a difficult position. The Corporates have no checks like US where they will be punished for unfair practices.Therefore there is a real danger where the IAS officers will be made scapegoats of the Corporates greediness. The government has to take immediate steps to maintain the dignity of the services.
                                      Reply
                                      1. V
                                        V.V.Chandrasekaran
                                        Oct 23, 2016 at 1:10 pm
                                        To be considered seriously.
                                        Reply
                                        1. I
                                          Indian
                                          Oct 23, 2016 at 2:39 am
                                          IAS Officials are missing the LOOT SCAM UPA Govt .......... KHAO and KHANE DO type govt. ....................... If IAS is party to a decision they must be accountable for same as most LOOT happen with ACTIVE SUPPORT of IAS. ......... And WE INDIAN can "kick out" corrupt POLITICAL LEADERS but can do nothing to IAS, IPS or even a Clerk or Constable.
                                          Reply
                                          1. K
                                            Kanu Singh
                                            Oct 23, 2016 at 1:56 am
                                            These central services are a legacy of British Raj, which should have gone in 1947 itself. If we want true democracy then let Zila Pramukh be real executive head of district and remove District Commissioner. At state and Centre level permanent bureaucracy should end with Director level.
                                            Reply
                                            1. Load More Comments