Monday, June 16, 2008

NO RETIREMENT BLUS/Power & Politics/Mail Today-June 16,2008

LAST WEEK, this column had pointed to the impending change of Governor in Jammu &Kashmir and Ihad stuck my neck out saying the new incumbent will not be a retired Army or police official but an ex- IAS officer. The government has now appointed NN Vohra and my neck remains intact. But to get to the larger point, this is further proof of the stranglehold the IAS lobby has over this government. Idon’t know of any IAS officer who has retired in the last four years who spends his time playing with the grandchildren or taking the dog out for a walk. They have all moved on to bigger assignments. Nearly 30 of them have moved onto juicier posts the morning after, from key posts in regulatory bodies of Petroleum and Telecom. Such is their power that even the normally obstinate Ram Vilas Paswan could not stall the creation of apost of Special Secretary in the Ministry of Fertilisers and Chemicals, to accommodate ababu who had just retired. For the first time, all three Election Commissioners are from the IAS. All this thanks to one IAS officer in the PMO whose clout is disproportionate to his administrative skills. The IAS versus the rest tussle is now poised to move onto another level as two very senior ministers grapple over akey post –India’s envoy to the UNESCO in Paris. The post is current held by an IFS officer and Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee wants to keep it this way, but HRD Minister Arjun Singh thinks otherwise and is backing an IAS officer.

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