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Telecom officials allegedly twisting the rules to overstay in Delhi-NCR

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Ashish Joshi, an officer from their own service (IP&TAFS), alleges disconnect from ground realities and addresses complaints to ministry and PMO.

New Delhi: Officers of the Indian Posts and Telecom Accounts and Finance Service (IP&TAFS) are misusing transfer provisions set by the Department of Telecommunications to remain stationed in Delhi-NCR for several years, rather than serving in the field.

This allegation has been made by Ashish Joshi, the controller of communication accounts, Uttarakhand, in a tweet addressed to the Prime Minister’s Office. Joshi himself is a 1992 batch IP&TAFS officer.

Two years ago, Joshi had gained prominence as the whistleblower who led to the arrest of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s principal secretary and fellow civil servant Rajendra Kumar.

Also read: How India’s politicians, bureaucrats and judges treat telecom sector as their piggy bank

In his tweet to the PMO, Joshi has attached a list of the names of officers overstaying in Delhi-NCR, and also cited the circular issued by the Central Vigilance Commission which states that officials in ‘sensitive’ posts should be rotated every two or three years to avoid developing vested interests.

None of the officials named by Joshi were available for comment.

The transfer system in place

An official memorandum issued by the DoT states that the station tenure for IP&TAFS group ‘A’ officers is a maximum of nine years in the-Delhi NCR region.

For the Northeastern states, Andaman and Nicobar and Jammu & Kashmir, the station tenure is two years, while for all other stations in the country, the tenure is six years.

The memorandum also mentions that after the completion of nine years in the capital, “the officer will be eligible for posting at the previous place only after completing the station tenure at the new place of posting”.

However, this particular provision allows officers to stay in Delhi NCR for several years —senior administrative grade officers work for nine years in the capital, serve for two to three years at other stations, and come back to Delhi for another nine years.

A former director of wireless planning and finance in the DoT headquarters confirmed this to ThePrint. “Several officers in the DoT, right from the top, are misusing the transfer provisions. Once they get inside the offices, they don’t want to get out of them,” said the former director on the condition of anonymity.

Disconnect from ground realities

In a letter by Joshi to the DoT secretary, dated 22 February, 2017, he pointed out the issue of some deputy director generals not having served in field offices, which has had a negative impact on field operations.

“It is pertinent to point out that most of the DDGs in DoT HQ have not served in telecom field offices, which is adversely affecting field offices due to lack of operational knowledge, unawareness of ground realities,” Joshi wrote.

A former deputy director general (DDG) in the DoT headquarters, who did not wish to be quoted, said this was true.

“People with zero fieldwork experience are sitting on the top posts, as a result of which the entire government machinery is not able to function properly. How will India become ‘Digital India’ if officers in the DoT are not aware of the ground realities?” he said.

Going against PM Modi’s vision

Joshi told ThePrint that the way the DoT officers were functioning went against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stated intent to make government more transparent and accountable.

“The Prime Minister has insisted on transparency and quick decision-making. The government should not work in silos,” he said.

Also read: End to Mukesh Ambani’s telecom price war may be 185 million users away

He also said despite writing several letters to the concerned authorities about the misuse of transfer provisions, he had not received a single reply.

ThePrint tried to contact union communications minister Manoj Sinha and senior ministry officials through repeated calls and emails. But there was no response.

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  1. It is not fair to blame PM Shri Narendra Modi for what his minister and secretary are doing in Telecom. Though it would be better if an overseeing mechanism is developed to check the arbitrariness by the ministers and unscrupulous bureaucrats and senior officers in administration.

  2. If PMO does not reply or take care, there is no room for improvement. Process of governance can’t be one way affair, i.e we will direct people but do not listen to people! Secretary and other officers and their Ministers should be conscious of following the policy.

  3. Violation of transfer policy appears to arise from a feeling of nepotism and favouritism in the top functionaries of the Department of Telecom, including the Minister, Secretary and Special Secretary. So much so that these people are not bothered about the development of whole nation and believe in protection of their favoritism. Minister seems to be pumping all his resources in his constituency in Ghazipur in eastern UP while secretary and special secretary, both from south, are busy in meaningless pursuits of promotion of only southern part of the country. Despite IIT Delhi and Bombay well recognized universally, DoT seems to concentrate all its efforts on development of IIT Chennai beyond its brief. Mobile connectivity is very poor with poor call maturity and there appears to be no effort to rein in mobile service providers and ensure quality. Instead the whole attention is protecting their home turf. PMO can not be a silent spectator. Never before such a parochial attitude has been witnessed. Also there seems to be a caste angle. To fulfill their designs, these people try to ensure posting of people to do their bidding whether the same is in public interest or not. The sorry state of post offices , as pointed out by Mr. Rajshekhar and views of other concerned people and in the news item above seems to point out the indifference of top officials in the Ministry of Communications.

  4. It is surprising to see that even for obvious issues such as pointed out above by the media, there is no response either from the minister or Prime Minister. If some policy is being violated, some body has to be responsible. PM seems to be so keen on digital India. Is it the way the Digital India would function where important govt functionaries seem to be simply non-responsive.

    It is heard, that one of the officials in the tweet, Archana Gulati, enjoying her posting in Delhi since 2002 was OSD to Secretary, DoT Aruna Sundararajan and even she was not aware of the policy being violated or may be was a party to it.

    It is a dismal state of affairs under this minister, Mr Manoj Sinha; whether be it telecom, post or railways. Never was the call quality so poor in the country – one is always looking for a place to make or receive a call, post offices seem like a dharamshala- no staff on the counters with post master absent in the GPO at Dak Bhavan (right under minister’s office) and for the railways about the quality of travel – the less said the better.

  5. This is true. Postings are managers in Dot HQ. Secretary or Ministers rarely find time to review these cases. This directly affect efficiency of the department

  6. The allegations are extremely serious. And they seem to be backed by facts.
    The allegations need to be investigated. Ministry of Telecom is a sensitive Ministry and each decision would have implication of thousands of crores.
    It is surprising that officers as per the above article continue to serve in the Ministry of Telecom for many years. What could be the reason ? It needs to be investigated.
    It is surprising that the Ministry has not taken corrective action on the complaint.
    The action taken by the Complainant needs to be appreciated. I agree with Abhishek Das that it is not good to point fingers at the complainant. It has become normal to shoot the messenger.
    I hope that the authorities take action on the complaint. The Country needs officers like the Complainant, who have the courage to point out what is wrong , so that the authorities can take corrective action.

  7. Mr Mahesh kumar Adg in DOT is posted in Delhi since 25 years .There are several such cases are in dot and dop.

  8. Allegations are of serious nature and need to be investigated promptly. Merely pointing fingers at the complainant will not meet the ends of justice. Let no one including top brass in DoT dare to gloss over the serious irregularities in transfer and posting and the culture of cronyism.

  9. This appears to be rant by a disgruntled employee who has got it published through his friend. This journalist friend solely relied on this disgruntled officer has not even taken the view of DEpartment’s administration.
    The officer himself facing sexual harassment charges and enjoyed more than 20 years of posting in Delhi. Now he has been posted to his hometown and comfortably staying in his parents house

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