Order stayed on Babus who ruled the roost in Manmohan Singh government!

If same people continue to surround Ministers, how will Narendra Modi’s promise for change fructify

BureaucracyCiting reasons for the Congress’s dismal performance in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, BJP Vice President and Spokesperson, Mukhar Abbas Naqvi had aptly said in a recent interview: “It’s not that good work was not done during Congress rule. But they couldn’t reach the common man. Framing a policy and pouring money on it is something different and making the benefits reach to the common masses is an altogether different issue. Congress was unable to govern. Policies were framed but men sitting around centres of power siphoned the money and benefits to their coffers. People remained largely untouched by these policies. That’s why they were feeling cheated!”

The big coterie of people around the ministers, the babus and even fellow Congressmen who acted more as power-brokers than Congress workers became one of the chief reasons for Congress’s downfall, as per Naqvi. The Congress therefore lost faith among the masses, resulting in large sway of votes in BJP’s fold. The common Indian public has high hopes from the Narendra Modi Government, which they see as the new dawn, a ray of hope for the advent of good days. Narendra Modi is trying to stand up to the promise and has already signalled change on all fronts.

But how would the new dawn come if merely the ministers change, the bureaucrats and the ‘personal staff’ of the new ministers in office, many of whom were responsible for ‘siphoning the money and benefits to their coffers’ remain the same so that ‘people remained largely untouched by these policies’? Narendra Modi government too feels the same. That is why it has put on hold the appointment of private secretaries to most ministers, specifically orders of those officers who were on the personal staff of UPA minsters, and have now been picked as private secretaries by some of the ministers in this regime.

“When I first met him, he introduced himself as a politician associated with the Congress. When I quizzed further, he said he was the right hand man working with Minister of Minority Affairs in the Manmohan Singh Government. Only later I got to know that he was also doubling up as the Private Secretary of K. Rahman Khan, who was handling the Ministry of Minority Affairs during the ousted Congress regime,” says a journalist. The same person, it is learnt, is in contention to succeed as PS to the new Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla.

In one of his oft-quoted speeches, given in the Rajya Sabha during the days of Congress rule, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi while talking about the plight of the Ministry of Minority Affairs, had said: If you (Congress) had openly given poison, it would have become apparent that you were not secular. That’s why you are doing things so as to ensure that the minorities remain backward, weak, lacking in education and keep the minorities cut off from the central wave of development through all sides.

It is evident that it is the Personal Staff of a Minister and the bureaucracy who advises, pushes forth or holds back the policies as well as their implementation. If the Ministers in the new BJP government pushes for the same set of staff, some of whom are tainted and have been known to siphon the money and benefits to their near and dear ones or to the societies working in and around their native cities and towns, the situation at ground level won’t change despite as much the PM Narendra Modi shows commitment and determination to bring about a positive change.

Not that all the officers who previously worked with various ministers are tainted! Some have shown remarkable management and administrative skills, like the Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s PS, who previously worked with Salman Khurshid or even HRD Minister Smriti Irani’s PS, who was previously attached to Beni Prasad Verma’s office. Other similar cases in contention are Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, whose PS had worked with Tariq Anwar and Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla, who wishes to continue with her predecessor’s PS.

Reportedly, Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth has put on hold the appointment of private secretaries to most ministers, particularly of those officers who were on the personal staff of UPA ministers, and have now been picked as private secretaries by some of the ministers in this regime, are under review. This includes putting on hold the appointment of a senior bureaucrat to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Courtesy RNI (Real News Intl.)