Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) building, New Delhi
Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) building, New Delhi | Manisha Mondal | The Print
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New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government’s move to get rid of corrupt and dubious officers from the bureaucracy has, surprisingly, gone down well with civil servants, most of who do not see it as a threat to their career.

Several IAS, IRS and IFS officers ThePrint spoke to said the government’s anti-corruption purge is a welcome step in reforming the bureaucracy.

In the last week, the Modi government has compulsorily retired 27 senior officers from the prestigious Indian Revenue Service (IRS) under Fundamental Rule 56 (j) of Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972, which provides for compulsory retirement of government staff in public interest on account of corruption or bribery.

While the rule has always existed, its extensive use is unprecedented.

‘This is the way to reform bureaucracy’

“The bureaucracy has often been criticised for allowing corrupt, lazy and status-quoist officers to thrive in a system that resists change,” an IAS officer, serving in the central government, said.

“The perception does harm the entire bureaucracy even though only a few are the culprits…So if the government gets rid of them, it will make the entire bureaucracy more vibrant and productive,” the officer added.

Another IAS officer said even though the brightest minds enter the bureaucracy through one of the toughest exams in the country, they are seen as unproductive because no matter what they do or don’t do, they cannot be fired.

“That perception is bound to change now…Because nobody can take their job for granted no matter how senior they are or what clout they have,” the officer added.

“If the government really wants to reform the bureaucracy, this is the way to do it, instead of bringing lateral entry…If you punish the corrupt, the system will get cleansed from within, otherwise, even the lateral entrants will be no different,” he said.


Also read: Modi govt has reduced recruitment of IRS officers by over 70% since 2014


‘Grievous cases against officers who were fired’

While one would have anticipated that bureaucrats would be jittery about the government’s unprecedented firing of senior officials, most agreed that the ones who have been shown the door had “grievous cases” against them, and, therefore, the government’s grounds for firing them are not unfounded.

The officers removed by the government face charges ranging from corruption and fraud to sexual harassment and misuse of public office.

“The cases against all these officers are very serious…So there does not seem to be any foul play in their firing,” said a senior IRS (IT) officer.

“Some of them have been arrested, some of them were still under suspension, many have CBI cases still going on against them…So when they get fired, a message goes down to the entire system,” the officer added.

“They have started with IRS, but they will come down heavily on officers from across the (other) services is the sense we get,” he added.

A stated objective of Modi govt

In 2015, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) had said in an order that the government would let go of non-performing officers and those with questionable integrity by giving them compulsory premature retirement.

Earlier this year, the Cabinet Secretariat and the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) had reportedly told the vigilance heads of various departments to identify corrupt and non-performing officers for compulsory retirement.

“We should not see the move as anti-bureaucracy,” said a senior central government officer who has retired earlier this year.

“After all, it was the same Modi government which brought amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act in order to ensure that officers are not unfairly targeted by investigating agencies,” he said.

“This is a good move since officers spend 30-35 years in the service in crucial roles…They have to have accountability,” he said. “But it has to be done without any malice — that is key.”

While most officers saw the move as unprecedented, S.K. Sarkar, former DoPT secretary, said it is not unusual.
“Every year some officers who are over 50 years of age or have completed 30 years of service are removed on the basis of their performance and cases against them,” he said. “It’s just that this time, several officers have been (forcibly) retired at once.”

Some fear misuse of rule

The fear of vindictive dismissals resonated with at least two officers who ThePrint spoke to — one of them is the chief of the IRS (Customs and Central Excise) Association, Arun Srivastava, who was compulsorily retired Tuesday.

“This is completely arbitrary,” Srivastava said. “It is against the principles of natural justice…I was promoted just last year, and the promotion was duly approved by the PM, Finance Minister and the Appointments Committee. So what happened now?” he asked.

Srivastava faces charges of criminal conspiracy, illegal gratification, and demanding and accepting bribe.

While these cases may be genuine, it is entirely possible that once a precedent is set, the government uses the rule to target officers seen as inconvenient, an officer said.

“Under this government, surveillance has been a big issue…Even the honest officers are scared,” the officer said. “With a rule like this, anyone can be targeted. In 30 years of service, it is not difficult to find cases against any officer if the government so desires.

“The point to be noted is that none of these officers have been convicted, and yet have been punished by the government,” he said.

An IAS officer, however, said there was no reason for the honest officers to fear since they would always have the courts to challenge the government’s decision if their dismissal is arbitrary and malicious.


Also read: Dalit IAS, IRS officers say absence of quota in Modi govt lateral entry scheme is illegal


 

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19 Comments Share Your Views

19 COMMENTS

  1. Sanya is a yellow journalist and Print is a paid news portal without any credibility.
    The quote by IRS ASSOCIATION President has wronly been given to make the story juicy.
    No case exists against him. Since President stands up for honesty, uprightness and takes up the issues of betterment of the Service and welfare of t officers, he will not be liked by the corrupt system. Corrupts and inefficient are more in numbers, they always try to harm honest and efficient by dubious methods and conspiracies.
    This is what has happened in this case.

  2. It is a good and bold step taken by Modij. Only fear is that charity begins at home .If service to the Nation or it’s people is the mission and gospel of Govt than why minister look for and fight for wet ministry portfolio with the choice of their bureaucrat …..remains millian dollar quistion in the mind of non dishonest Government servants.

  3. While I am glad some action is being taken against corrupt senior bureaucrats forcing them into early retirement is hardly enough of a deterrent as they would have filled they pockets well enough by then for it not to matter! Something more punitive and harsh is needed to make it very unattractive. They do not deserve our mercy!

  4. The article is very misguiding. Anup Srivastava has been honourable discharged by the judiciary. Supreme court do not entertain govt appeal to against him as there was no substance.

    He was the president of the IRS association and had made many enemies in the North Block.

    It is quite possible than a high ranking officer may have recommended action against him due to unrelated issues.

    It is a great step by the govt. But then there are people recommending action against few

  5. A great step by Modiji showing his resolve. But please note corrupt CAs, Bankers are making life of common man miserable.since CAs know all the loop holes they connive with tax officials and Bankers to help all corrupt politicians, Lawyers, Police, Judges, Media bigwigs, Builders and Businessman to hide there ill-gotten money. CAs tell their influential clients to fund there Foreign travels , study expanses of their children in US etc so that he doesn’t have to show any income. Large number of businessman specially directors of Mobile companies like Oppo, Mi, Vivi, Lava etc smuggle parts from China assemble phones load pirated software and make profit by selling these piracy built mobiles.
    Modiji must order raids and check their upward move from rags to riches. Their travel to present richness is exponential as most of them on farmhouses in Chhatarpur and Ka padhega or have plush bungalows in Vasant Vihar, Noida sector 15,17,18,41,44,82. And Gurgaon DLF, sector 45 to 56, Cyber city etc.
    I may also add that during demonitisation CAs and Bank managers specially of Axis, ICICI, PNB and Co-operative banks cheated the common public by conniving and exchanging crores of black money for gratification margin ranging from 25 to 30 percent that is for 100 Crore of old notes they gave 75 Core of new currency of 2000/ 500 and kept 25 crore in cash or kind(gold bricks, diamonds, land in various places) and that’s why common man never got money in ATMs and suffered in long queues.

    My request to Modi ji to do surgical financial strike on such greedy demons of our country who not only made common man suffer but also made a great initiative of Modiji to fail.

  6. There are nice ones and there are thick skinned ones too, especially the corrupt ones heading municipalities. In the summer of two or three years back, my dad and me went to the big municipal office in Moosapet, to pay property tax for a property in Kukatpally, which my father had paid regularly till 2012
    And then everytime he went to pay the tax, after it had been escalated into the urban limit, those fellows use to tell that it is not entered online. (Which they are supposed to be doing). So went to this municipal office in Moosapet to pay the tax and the counter people told its not online. We asked what to do. They directed us to an IAS, a plump guy, sitting in his chair, no basic manners, not listening to or looking at the receipts of already paid taxes and says now you are coming… Why?… Instead of rectifying their error of entering into the computer and collecting the tax, he told us to go to the Kukatpally office and speak to someone there, (very very arrogantly) which had nothing to do… Needles to say, it was for his “real estate deals and colluding with the builders”, he was behaving so reckless and arrogant. Just sack these bastards, who are here for ” Their money “_not service! There are many like this
    They don’t act on grievances against ” Work to be done “.They are there only for their ” Personal money making_corruption “.

  7. If any offers is corrupt it should be procecuted through court of law.If our leaders are honest then on offer can dare to do corruption.The properties of all leaders and officers should be attached with adhar card but there are chances of misuse of Rule 56 against an bold honest officer.

  8. what will be one’s opinion about cbi fiasco,where serious allegation is still pending agaist modi own hand pick person. every coin have two side one should not forget,use and misuse of law has very fine line which divide both.indian judicial system is in paralytic condition and now that is also shacking in modi regime,so once any honest person get force retirement his/her descendent will get the justice or injustice only god knows.

  9. It was expected after the first term of Modi Government.
    https://goo.gl/fbVuF3

    “सत्यमेव जयते” has to be at least reflected when it is being said that this government favours Hindu Nationalist vision.

    Corruption at such senior level actually helps to protect & propagate it, people actually feel that its a part of a personality & therefore acceptable.

    This action will boost morale of Truth & Justice, creating a strong feeling against CORRUPTION.

  10. finally “the print” has started taking other side . MEdia neutrality is whaty readers deserve. until before the elections tone was against and now it licking their a**. Have some Journalistic ethics. Its meant for the whole paper. not for the author. This author seems to be sensible and trying to bring the facts and right inference.

  11. How naive can one be to expect bureaucrats to come on record saying that they disagree with the Govt’s action?
    I have always held that it is the bureaucracy that has held the nation to ransom. I have used a simple process. I ask a man in the street that if they have a problem with the administration, whom will they approach for redress – the neta or the babu? Pat comes the reply that they will seek redress through the neta, who is answerable and accountable to him.
    In contrast the clubwallahs will interact well with the bureaucrats, and the top rung will go straight to the Minister.
    How manipulative bureaucrats control inexperienced ministers was ably brought out in the English serial “Yes Minister”, and its not so successful Hindi version “Ji Haan Mantriji”.

  12. This is not sufficient. Most of the officers are on the verge of retirement. Hence impact won’t be much. Earlier 56j was implemented but end result?? Take actipn from step 1 itself then u can expext some positive result or else after sometime position would remain the same.

  13. India turning into Banana Republic…… There is something called as “Due process”….. Undoubtedly it will be misused in the future…..

    Currently its just giving the message that”Dont go against government else cases will be filed and basis those cases you will be made to retire forcefully”

    If government want to be proactive then this clean up drive should be first implemented for political parties irrespective if it is “BJP” “Congress” or any other party……

    M surprised at the completely biased report from your media house

  14. “Some fear misuse of rule
    The fear of vindictive dismissals resonated with at least two officers who ThePrint spoke to ”

    This is the crux of the matter. Everyone welcomes action against the corrupt. But one shouldn’t get the impression that it is merely to settle scores or put down adversaries. ViNDICTIVENESS is a negative quality Mr Modi’s government has amply demonstrated in its previous five years. Be it impeding the functioning of Delhi government, or singling out political opponents like Lalu Prasad. Not even one of Mr Modi’s own flock deserved investigations? Does no one in the Rafale case deserve scrutiny, in which no less than India’s attorney general was found making weak statements, like saying that some papers were “stolen” from defence ministry thereby agreeing to the papers’ validity, etc?

    The point is: who will decide which officers can be called corrupt or dubious? Given the love for Hindutva Mr Modi himself and everyone else around him have displayed, THIS, an officer’s coldness towards Hindutva, may prove to be a starting point to see if “He can also be accused of corruption”. By corollary, an officer who reverberates the same love for Hindutva that the ruling junta (or janta) does, a carte blanche favorable impression about him can be floated that a “pious” man can do no wrong.

  15. When will the axe fall on the baby’s of IAS and IPS CADRES, one of the most corrupt type among the UPSC product? Be quick, it is already late.

  16. That Civil servants have by and large welcome Modi II decision to retire some of them – shows that the Government has the broader support of the class. The Government, therefore, should go ahead further to this and retire more people in other sectors of the Government.
    They should also ask the major PSUs to follow and flush out the inefficients and corrupts. And this should be the continuous policy of the government. Utmost care should be taken to doubly ensure no honest and upright officer is touched in any case. India should not be made to afford the corrupts anymore. Rules to be amended to remove the age bar of 50 or the 30 years of service. There are officials who start taking bribes on taking charge too. Can we afford to permit 30 years of corrupt practices before we do something.

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