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Transfer conundrum

 MPost |  2015-05-23 23:08:44.0  |  New Delhi

Reacting to the recently issued notification by the Lieutenant Governor, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia called the transfer and posting of the officers an “industry”. There is some merit to Sisodia’s allegation that transfers are an organised industry especially when it comes to civil services. To provide context: the Indian civil servants life is a hard one. Stuck in some remote storm battered fringe outpost he/she counts the clouds as days pass by in a dull haze of boredom, petty politics and venal corruption. If these sentences seem like a gross <g data-gr-id="36">exaggeration ,well</g> they are not. While it would be an extremely unfair generalization to call the entire bureaucracy as rotten, it remains true that the bureaucracy is a troubled institution. 

In an important monograph by National Social Watch, scholar administrator NC Saxena, diagnosed the maladies of India’s higher civil services and suggested an imaginative range of possible prescriptions, all of which were duly ignored. Saxena was scathing in his assessment of the Indian bureaucracy. According to him it is a troubled institution riddled with “a lack of professionalism, the creation of redundant posts, unsatisfactory structures of reward and punishment, and an inability to deliver services promptly.More <g data-gr-id="38">pertinently ,postings</g> are often dictated by the collusive vested interests of mafia gangs, organised criminals, builders’ lobby, contractors. If this sounds far-fetched consider the case of Sanjiv Chaturvedi, an honest Indian Forest Services (IFoS) officer whose career has been steam-rolled by humiliating transfers just because he was doing his job. His diligent objections to illegal forest activities and rampant corruption resulted in his suspension within seven months of his joining. The suspension was followed by a whopping 12 transfers, many “false” FIRs, vigilance inquiries and a <g data-gr-id="34">chargesheet</g> under a major violation that could have led to his permanent dismissal from the service.

Over the years, whatever little virtues the civil services possessed — integrity, political neutrality, courage and high <g data-gr-id="32">morale</g> — are now showing signs of decay. As a result bureaucrats who are eager and willing to be co-opted into the system have only multiplied. Newer values emphasise political loyalty, flexibility and several senior officials have as a result become a link between politicians and the business class. Doing so often earns a plum <g data-gr-id="30">posting :where</g> there are a thousand ways to skim off the top and let black money flow in like a river of crude oil.Today many civil servants in the course of their careers lose much of their dynamism and innovativeness, and end up as mere pen-pushers and cynics, with stagnation in their intellectual capabilities, decline in self-esteem, disillusionment, pliability and corruption. This is because honest officers are transferred to pointless postings while corrupt officers get plum cushy sinecures which set them up for life. Public administration scholars say that there is usually a race to outbid other colleagues by paying bribes for a ‘good posting’. <g data-gr-id="33">Its</g> perhaps time that the key reforms suggested by various committees on transfer rules be implemented or at the very least looked into.

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