THE 7th Pay Commission bonanza of Rs 30,748 crore was announced with a big bang by the Narendra Modi government. As many as 34 lakh government employees and 14 lakh pensioners were thrilled by the announcement in June 2017. But their dreams soon shattered. Barring some central ministries, majority of the government employees are still waiting for the increased hike and the arrears. Most of the Central University employees were informed that they may get the salary as per the 7th Pay Commission from May 2018 but there is not much clarity about the allowances. The worst sufferers are the North-Eastern states. Currently, the salary of the North-Eastern government employee is as per the 4th Pay Commission. Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb and Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma recently met with the three-member expert committee constituted for this purpose. Even the teachers of the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan are still waiting for the light of the day. There are reports that the government may actually end up providing this big benefit to them ahead of the 2019 general elections at a higher rate than actually recommended. The government may reportedly provide this benefit to all employees, who get salaries from pay matrix level 1 to 5. Whenever it will happen, it will bring cheers to all government employees. Good luck to them.
ROHINI Sindhuri Dasari, an 2009-batch IAS officer of the Karnataka cadre, may have inadvertently joined a growing list of powerful women officers of Karnataka, including D Rope and Sonia Narang, who not only broke through the glass ceiling but also made a mark by standing up to the senior bureaucracy and politicians, when they came in the way of good work. The young Deputy Commissioner of Hassan district is going up against the government for transferring her prematurely. She believes short tenures come in the way of development. But there’s more to the story. The fight appears to be basically about the sanctioning of a tender worth Rs 11.75 crore by a local politician and minister in the State, A Manju, to his favourite. Manju, along with other Congress leaders, has complained against Dasari in the past too. But the rift between the two deepened over the tender for the construction of a viewer’s gallery atop Vindhyagiri for the Mahamastakabhisheka event in February. While Manju had insisted on handing over the work to Karnataka Road Development Corporation Ltd, Dasari had decided to hand it over to the Public Works Department. This is not the first time she has been a victim of a premature transfer. Her transfer from Mandya, where she was posted as Zilla Panchayat CEO, was rather sudden too. Several like- minded individuals and organisations had written to the Chief Minister to revoke her transfer in the interest of the district’s development. The Congress which is fighting an electoral battle with the BJP apparently does not have time to listen to the upright officer.
DEMONETISATION, the Chanda Kochchar controversy, absconding Vijay Mallya and the impact of the Nirav Modi case has slowly started percolating down the line in the banking industry. The lending scenario in the banks is the lowest in a decade. Given rising bad loans and NPAs, the public sector banks are now being extra careful which is resulting in low credit offtake. The Reserve Bank of India and the Department of Banking may present a rosy picture of the industry but the ground level scenario is dismal. Bank Chairmen and Managing Directors of most PSU banks are scared and not pushing the lending business. Normally, the Zonal Managers and Bank Managers are the nodal officers for the offtake of the lending business and are constantly under pressure to meet lending targets. In the current scenario, the smart managers have evolved a new modus operandi. Whenever any businessmen or company approaches them for loan or bank guarantee, they technically start processing the papers but tacitly delay the process. In the meantime the details are reportedly passed on to private banks. The private bank approaches the loanseeker and offers them quick sanction without any hassles of submitting innumerable documents–for a price. The ‘booty’ collected is shared by officials of the private bank and the public sector bank.
EVERY day one reads news about corruption in Bihar. Former Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav is in jail on corruption charges. There is a severe crisis of governance within the civil services of Bihar–18 IAS and 208 Bihar Administrative Service officers (BAS) are facing departmental proceedings on charges of corruption, misuse of office and dereliction of duty. The General Administration Department (GAD) has prepared a list of 12 IAS officers who have been facing departmental proceedings from the period before March 31, 2016. The ‘Sushashan’ government of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar initiated similar proceedings against six more IAS officials between April 2016 and February 2018. Proceedings are ongoing not only against IAS officers but 145 BAS officers also from before March 31, 2016. The State government initiated similar proceedings against 63 more BAS officers between April 2016 and February 2018. The maladministration in the State seems to be at all levels: 94 employees of the Bihar Clerical Service are also facing various charges of corruption, misuse of office and deliberate negligence of duty. Approximately 320 employees are facing departmental proceedings, if the clerical staff is included. And, 18 state IAS officials have been suspended for serious charges of corruption against them. One of them, Sudhir Kumar, has been in jail since February 24 last year on the charge of leaking question papers of a recruitment examination conducted by the Bihar Staff Selection Commission (BSSC). Kumar, a 1987-batch Bihar cadre IAS official, was the BSSC chairman at that time. Three of his relatives, including his brother’s wife and a nephew, were also arrested in the case. Two other IAS officials under suspension are SM Raju (1991 batch) and Deepak Anand (2007 batch). It is learnt that Vigilance Investigation Bureau sleuths have also arrested 83 officers/employees while accepting bribe in 2017. It is to be seen, whether action against these officers and employees will have a deterrent impact.
IMAGINE the day when India is governed by a technocrat. Of late, technocrats have expressed their willingness to be Prime Minister, President and Vice-President of the country. In the past, technocrats have served as Secretary Power, Vice-Chairman of Planning Commission, and Secretary Finance. The main founder of a Bengaluru-based technology giant planted a story about himself being considered for the post of President. One technocrat-turned-election manager of the NDA and UPA is annoyed with the BJP and the Congress for not sending him to Rajya Sabha. But aspirations never die. There is a sudden uneasiness in the Congress about the resurgent role of a technocrat who already commands considerable clout in the party. He has reportedly deputed his technical team in the data centre of the party. Rahul Gandhi has unflinching trust in his administrative capabilities. It is being surmised that a 2004-like ‘coalition’ situation is possible in 2019 and everybody may claim to be a prime ministerial candidate. Rahul Gandhi would not like to be Prime Minister in a chaotic political scenario. The Congress may, and in all probability will, have an alternate name to be proposed for the coveted post. And he naturally be a trusted and able candidate.