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Transfer raj on wane as Modi govt wrecks the system

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Graphic Source- http://indiatoday.intoday.in

New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government is setting up a mechanism to eliminate red-tapism and nepotism in the Indian bureaucracy. According to a leading daily, a new system is sought to be created to empower an honest and credible system for which over 450 joint secretaries, additional secretaries, secretaries to ministries and government departments, around 300 officers in banks, public sector undertakings (PSUs) were recruited in the last 18 months.

The only two apparent criteria for selecting executives was honesty and efficiency according to PMO officials.

“When people talk about the PM not delivering on his promises they forget that he has delivered on his assurance of clean governance,” said a senior government official in the interview.

Modi’s is said to be one of the most powerful, centralised PMO in India in decades. His government has reshuffled the bureaucracy three times in the last 18 months, dismissed foreign and home secretaries, and changed a second home secretary. Ministers are no longer allowed to choose their bureaucrats instead it’s done by the PMO.

These reasons compelled former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, Vinod Rai, to say the new government system was “exemplary”.

“The earlier practice of allowing ministers to choose their key officials, in fact, destroyed the civil services because it led to massive lobbying at the ministerial level for extraneous considerations,” said Rai.

The government did a reshuffle in the finance and home departments early this year demonstrating its judicious decision making in retaining officers irrespective of their previous affiliations with other governments.

But the process also saw the transfer of some officers in the finance ministry with reasons undisclosed. Shaktikanta Das, an IAS officer of the Tamil Nadu cadre, was pushed into the department of economic affairs to accelerate the government’s ambition to recover black money.

Earlier this year, LC Goyal was selected as the Chairman of the India Trade Promotion Organisation after his predecessor, Anil Goswami, was removed on allegations of trying to defend politician Matang Sinh from custody. IPS officer Satyendra Garg, who operated the delineating Delhi traffic, was later posted as Joint Secretary, Home.

A new system of appointing PMO officers after making reference calls to the officer’s coursemates, seniors and subordinates has been introduced. Apart from that a 360-degree inspection would take place once an officer applied for a placement in Delhi. The Cadre Controlling Authority (CCA) has now made it a regular practice where they send propositions to the officer’s establishment, who would then report to the Cabinet Secretary holding the post of secretary to the Appointment Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) led by the PM himself.

“I was surprised when some of my colleagues told me that they were contacted by the PMO and the cabinet secretariat officers to find about my service record,” said AK Mittal, who was selected as the chairmen of Indian Railway Board on December 2014, in the interview.

This policy led to a comparative decrease in the predominance of the IAS officials in majority positions in Delhi. Officers from all across central government services are now being appointed to designations that were previously reserved for IAS officers, this can be established as over 89 non-IAS officials out of the 269 joint secretary-level are now employed in the Centre. It is also alleged to be the maximum till date, such as IRS officer Aniruddha Kumar is now appointed as the Joint Secretary, Power; IFS Officer Amitabh Gautam is posted as Joint Secretary, Agriculture.

These steps taken by the government can be tagged as the end point of transfer raj in the country. Political recommendations for allocations and transferring of posts were dominant tools for presiding politicians to ‘punish’ (or reward) those officials who were not acting (or acting) as per their whims. Although if this strategy of the government gears up, we can soon see a bureaucracy less nerve-wracking to the common man of India.

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Ex-Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif Indicted on Corruption Charges

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Muhammad Safdar
Muhammad Safdar, husband of Maryam Nawaz, daughter of ousted Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif, waves from a a vehicle as he arrives at an accountability court in Islamabad. VOA

Islamabad, October 19: Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been indicted on corruption charges stemming from information taken from the so-called “Panama Papers.”

The country’s anti-corruption court indicted the 67-year-old Sharif during a hearing Thursday in Islamabad. His daughter Maryam and son-in-law Mohammed Safdar were also indicted. Maryam Sharif and Mohammed Safdar appeared in court and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

A lawyer for the elder Sharif, who is in London with his wife as she undergoes cancer treatment, entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. Maryam Sharif angrily dismissed the allegations as “baseless.”

Sharif was disqualified by Pakistan’s Supreme Court and removed from office in July after leaked documents last year from a Panama-based law firm revealed the family held a number of unreported overseas assets.(VOA)

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Journalist Behind the Panama Papers Killed in a Car Bomb

Caruana Galizia was recently described by the American news outlet Politico as a "one-woman WikiLeaks".

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Daphne Caruana Galizia died on Monday when her car, a Peugeot 108, was destroyed by a powerful explosive device. (Representative image) Pixabay

Valletta, October 17, 2017 : A journalist who led the Panama Papers probe into corruption in Malta was killed on Monday in a car bomb near her residence, the media reported.

Daphne Caruana Galizia died on Monday when her car, a Peugeot 108, was destroyed by a powerful explosive device, reports the Guardian.

A blogger whose posts often attracted more readers than the combined circulation of the country’s newspapers, Caruana Galizia was recently described by the American news outlet Politico as a “one-woman WikiLeaks”.

Her latest revelations accused Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and two of his closest aides, connecting offshore companies linked to the three men with the sale of Maltese passports and payments from the government of Azerbaijan.

No group or individual claimed responsibility for the attack, the Guardian reported.

Malta’s President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, called for calm. “In these moments, when the country is shocked by such a vicious attack, I call on everyone to measure their words, to not pass judgement and to show solidarity.”

ALSO READ Not Just Journalist Ram Chandra Chhatrapati, these 9 People too Bore the Brunt of Speaking Truth to Fight Corruption

In a statement, Muscat condemned the “barbaric attack”.

“Everyone knows Caruana Galizia was a harsh critic of mine,” said Muscat, adding “Both politically and personally, but nobody can justify this barbaric act in any way.”

He announced in parliament later on Monday that Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officers were on their way to Malta to assist with the investigation, following his request for help from the US government.

According to local media reports, Caruana Galizia filed a police report 15 days ago to say that she had been receiving death threats.

The journalist posted her final blog on her Running Commentary website at 2.35 p.m. on Monday, and the explosion, which occurred near her home, was reported to police just after 3 p.m.

Over the last two years, her reporting had largely focused on revelations from the Panama Papers, a cache of 11.5 million documents leaked from the internal database of the world’s fourth largest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca. (IANS)

 

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Amit Shah Rejects Allegation of Money Laundering on Son Jay Shah

"Where has money laundering been done? All the transactions happened through cheques and banks," claimed Amit Shah at an event.

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Amit Shah, BJP National President. Wikimedia

Ahmedabad, October 13, 2017 : Breaking his silence, BJP president Amit Shah rejected allegations of money laundering against his son Jay Shah whose company had reportedly recorded an extraordinary spike in business after the BJP came to power at the Centre, and asserted that it had not done any business with the government nor taken any kickbacks.

He also said that unlike the Congress, which had faced many corruption charges in the past, his son has shown courage to file a civil and criminal defamation suit on the allegations levelled against him and “invited a probe against himself” by this step.

“There is no money laundering involved in Jay’s company. This company is completely in commodity business, where turnover is more while the profit is less. We have exported bajra, corn and rice while coriander was imported. And after doing a turnover of Rs 80 crore, they don’t tell how much they made profit,” Amit Shah said at an “India Today” event “Gujarat Panchayat”.

Answering questions, he said that after making a turnover of Rs 80 crore, Jay made a loss of Rs 1.5 crore. “Where has money laundering been done? All the transactions happened through cheques and banks,” he said.

Asked about Jay Shah filing a defamation suit against the publication, Shah said: “Before answering your question I would like to ask you one thing. After Independence, how many corruption charges have been made against the Congress?

“Please understand this is not corruption. Many allegations of corruption were made against the Congress. Did it ever file a civil suit or defamation suit? No. Why they lacked such courage? Today Jay has filed a defamation as well as civil suit and is demanding a probe himself. Those who have the evidence can submit it to the court, and then the court will decide,” the BJP president said.

He said: “We have ourselves invited a probe and on the company issue I want to clarify that it has not done business with the government of even Re 1 nor taken any government land or tender. Neither has it received kickbacks as in the case of Bofors.”

When asked about Jay’s company securing unsecured loans, Shah said it was not unsecured loans. “It was a line of credit,” he added. (IANS)