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Why IAS officers are no fans of minister Piyush Goyal

Piyush Goyal has emerged as one of the stars of the Narendra Modi govt, but the IAS officers who served under him say he is rude and shouts often.

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New Delhi: Union Minister Piyush Goyal, who has seen a steep rise in his profile during the tenure of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government at the Centre, seems to have developed a reputation for “unsavoury behaviour” with civil servants.

At the launch of his book Not Just A Civil Servant in Delhi last week, retired IAS officer Anil Swarup, who served as secretary in the Ministry of Coal when Goyal held charge, recalled how “a minister would shout at officials”.

While Swarup did not mention Goyal, his tenure as secretary in the Ministry of Coal fell entirely within the minister’s stint at its helm. Swarup held the position from October 2014 to November 2016, before moving to the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

Goyal, meanwhile, was Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Coal since the BJP government came to power in May 2014 till September 2017, when he was appointed Union Minister for Railways.

Also read: Railway minister Piyush Goyal allocates 45 acres for Dharavi’s redevelopment

‘Used to shout at officials’

“When I was in coal ministry, a minister used to shout at officials. I told him you can’t shout at my joint secretary in front of others,” said Swarup.

“If you are unhappy with him, you can call him to your room and pull him up, not in front of others. And if you speak to my officials like this, I will go to the PM and ask for a transfer,” he added.

“He stopped doing it when I was there but I believe he continues to do so elsewhere,” Swarup said.

Another ministry, same story

Swarup, a 1981-batch IAS officer of the Uttar Pradesh cadre, isn’t the only civil servant to point out Goyal’s allegedly brusque behaviour with officials.

Civil servants in the finance ministry, where Goyal has had two brief stints while Arun Jaitley was away for medical reasons, also talk about his “rude” behaviour.

“He would have frequent fights with secretaries in the finance ministry, particularly in his previous three-month stint last year,” said a ministry official who did not wish to be identified. “He was, in fact, rude to officials.”

Giving a specific example of the minister’s “disregard for bureaucrats”, the official cited a July 2018 meeting of the GST Council, where Goyal overruled the objections of senior ministry officials and proposed certain rate cuts even though he had not included them in the agenda circulated to state governments.

“Goyal announced rate cuts even though they were not on the agenda. According to rules, the agenda has to be circulated seven days in advance. He did so [announced the cuts] despite officials having advised him against it,” the official added.

A similar account is offered by civil servants in the railways ministry.

A Railway Board official told ThePrint that Goyal “is usually seen in a towering rage in office”.

“At the meetings as well, he becomes impolite with his officers a number of times,” the official added.

Goyal’s office was contacted by ThePrint for a response but they declined to comment. An email and a message were sent to the minister as well, but no response was received till the time of publishing this report. It will be updated when there is a response.

Also read: Will resign if pressured too much, says railway officer accused of criticising Piyush Goyal

Goyal’s rise

Goyal, a Rajya Sabha member from Maharashtra, is the son of the late union minister and BJP treasurer Ved Prakash Goyal.

While he started out in the Modi council of ministers as a Minister of State (Independent charge), he was promoted to full Cabinet rank and given charge of the high-profile railways ministry in September 2017.

In May 2018, Goyal held charge of the finance ministry for three months while Jaitley was recovering from kidney surgery. In January, as Jaitley was away in the US for treatment, Goyal was once again given charge of the ministry for a few weeks.

The minister presented the last budget of this government — a crucial responsibility, given that it came barely months before the Lok Sabha polls.

Goyal was named the BJP’s Lok Sabha election in-charge for Tamil Nadu in January and, along with party president Amit Shah, was at the forefront of stitching an alliance with the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) last week.

With inputs from Remya Nair and Ifrah Mufti 

Also read: Piyush Goyal hails India’s newly-connected villages, but 26% still await pucca roads


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  1. Okay, bureaucrats are arrogant and corrupt and every adjective used for them is correct. Are the politicians any better?
    So the Pot is calling the Kettle black and the audience is applauding the Pot!

  2. Overwhelming majority of pen-pushing bureaucrats are apple polishers and time-servers at the beck and call of their ministers and doing their bidding .Very few have a mind of their own and do not stand up for what they believe in .They, for the sake of keeping their perks , collude with the ministers to put up tailored notes/proposals designed to benefit the ministers and their side-kicks. “You scratch my back, I scratch yours” works here.When a go-getter and an articulate minister calls spade a spade among this entitled category and conveys his low level of tolerance for non-performance ,it disturbs the cosy status-quoist lovers.Much of India’s slow development can be directly traced to these holier-than-thou red-tapists .You cannot accuse them of speedy decision making or being change -agents.Raising a hue and cry ,(after you retire) when status-quoism is disrupted, will not cut much ice, leave alone, add to your book sales.

  3. The Print as usual mouth piece of Die Nasty found no better way s to demean a hard working Minster.

  4. Babus deserve it. If not all, most of them are useless. I hope the new generation of bureaucrats match the aspirations of new India. India has to be freed from the shackles of this babudom thugs.

  5. Actually, i was present in a meeting at Rail Bhavan when Sri Goyal was chairing the meeting. He was seen putting out his thoughts openly and bluntly with no decorative words. This may have been seen by some as rude. In my personal opinion, any team leader would do that. It is always better to tell them what is expected of the team rather than trying to be modest by trying to be polite and please all, thus losing the organisational goals. I can personally vouch safe for him. He certainly is not rude but straightforward in his approach, not hiding his displeasure on non-performance. In fact,it’s become a fashion for retired bureaucrats to let out allegations like this after they sent office, showing suddenly developed spines. Had they been true, they could have and should have done it in service. For sale of their books, now they now resort to such cheap publicity in my personal opinion.

  6. Those who want to see first hand impressions of a minister shouting and being rude, none other than Hardeep Puri at Urban and housing ministry. Being a long serving diplomat, he can be stooped to a gully leader.

  7. Well done Piyush Goyal. These fellows think that they are God incarnate, and no one can and should say anything to them. Now that this minister has shown them there position, they feel aggrieved. This article is an attempt to show an other wise efficient minister delivering results for the development of India, in bad light. The anti Modi camp is at work.

  8. Modi has clearly failed in Taming the bureaucracy, nothing has changed with regard to promotional aspects of Group B officers, They are made to do all the donkey work be it IAS be it IRS …an IAS/IRS gets 6-7 promotions irrespective of whether they work or not. Whereas the same Group B officers who work in these departments do the bulk of work but they get hardly 2 or atbest 3 promotions. Where is the motivation for those Gr B officers , we thought that Modi will bring in a change in these but sorry sir you’ve failed !

  9. Beurocrats are generally against of modi govt. Since independence, they are known to be not polite to their lower officials that is why the union was formed in every govt organisation. Unfortunately the lower cadre officials are controlled by leftist parties who neither bothered about nations welfare nor development and those officials with nationalistic thoughts are threatened and marginalised.

    On the other hand these higher authority I.e the beurocrats whether be of any service ias, ifs, irs ips and so on plays with the emotions of those straight forward officials who work with sincerity. Baring few good beurocrats who are non-corrupt, likes the present modi govt. Whereas the majority of whom are corrupt especially in revenue sector of ias irs or ifs are against the modi govt because even tbough they are provided with facilities as compared to lower cadre just act as british and do not work rather keeps on giving directions and coercions to get their work done, even common official gets afraid then what to talk about common man.

    So it is high time the old british based old outdated beurocracy needs to be stopped and substituted with profesional and technical bodies holding and selecting respective post suitable to the person’s qualification rather than a medical doctor selected in revenue services and arts graduate selected in technical post or administrative services which also includes village medical schemes.

    The above seems to be a conspiracy theory by those corrupt beurocrats who are unable to show their british mentality towards common man and are under watch by the dynamic modi govt. Though nothing I’ll will against any person these has been told by many friends working under those beurocratic system.

    Even piyueshji’s voice is not so high while giving speeches in the conferences meetings I noticed many time and heard. How come he shout at officers. Really a false propaganda.

    The above fake allegations by beurocrats seems to be a pure conspiracy against the dynamic railway minister goyalji under whose leadership the railway has transformed to a new height. May be the reason for defamation against him.

    One thing while in government service, ias officers or higher authorities should look at the benefit of nation rather then own prestige. No minister ever shouts unnecessarily, if anything is not in the capacity of beurocrats they can easily show their displeasure even no rule is broken and minister will ensure the task to either private agencies or someone who is more capable. But the dilemma is that ego of these beurocrats do not allow to show displeasure at one angle whereas on the other side they also wants to eat the pie of success of someone else who is doing hard work and taking risk.

    Recently one of the retired major of army aggrieved that because of corrupt beurocracy in defence ministry the army jawans are not getting at right time latest technological upgradation which is called as red Tapism.

    The most unfortunate fact is that even the majority of beurocrats does not have leadership quality just pass on the bucks to their lower officials or the minister by playing blaming game.

    So the present modi govt is trying to mitigate these age decade old red tapism which is hindrance to rapid and healthy development of the nation, which the babu lobby does not like and hence acting against the modi govt and the hard working ministers.

    Time to introspect themselves.

    Jai Hind.

  10. Babus are responsible for India’s downfall. Most of them are arrogant, incompetent and corrupt. Coal ministry was involved in huge scams and one of the senior babus is in jail. Not only ministers but whole country is angree with babudom.

  11. IAS officers are a curse to the nation. They think they are the rulers and don’t tolerate intelligent and assertive ministers. These IAS officers want only people who would say yes to their advice and not thinking and independent people. Being corrupt and lazy’ they will complain about the people like goyal. It is but natutal.

  12. Now after the TheWire, TheQuint we have ThePrint. It seems to me the so called presstitutes who were enjoying freebies under corrupt Congress made a group and not leaving even a single stone unturned irrespective of lie or truth. They are trying hard to find faults with present Govt infact trying to create faults without any facts. The behaviour and work ethics of so called civil servants is not hidden from anyone. They are not on habit of working infact busy buttering their political bosses. If my subordinates are not up to the mark definitely they will get earful from me. What’s wrong in that.

  13. The babu’s deserve being flogged and skinned alive on the streets and then fed to dogs. Very few of them are worth even two rupees salary.

  14. i believe the minister neednt have to shout if these officers actually work and do what they’ve been assigned ….. IAS as an organization is an albatross that the nation should gotten rid of in ’47 …. its nothing but a collective of entitled lazy insensitive and highly corrupt individuals who behave as though they rule over people and not put invtheir to serve people. It’ll be a great service to the nation if the nezt govt dismantles this entire useless setup ….

  15. Most, if not all beaucrats are glorified pen pushers who are past masters in procrastination and passing the buck. They are all corrupt and venal. They are responsible for rot in governance.

  16. I will not shed any tears for the IAS type babus. Serves them write. I know several of them who will dance to the tunes of politicians. They are just file pushers. Recent major decisions are Rafale, Not bandhi, bullet train and so on. I am sure some top IAS guy must have prepared the feasibility reports as directed by the politicians. By the way, railways headed by Piyush Goyal is spending crores of rupees on print media advertisements. The same newspapers carry regular news on Bengaluru train catching fire and so on. I believe papers have stopped printing derailments where human lives are not lost.

  17. Civil Servants are horses who run on orders of the Jockey.They have to be made to work on orders of their masters.The Civil Servants are made to work for the Govt.They are Govt servants not elected representative of people. In Congress period Civil Servants were forced to work and sign file on dotted line by Sonia Gandhi.Most of CS are Congress loyalists.
    But Modi allowed them liberty to revolt and sabotage his schemes programmers and projects.

  18. Ministers like Lalu and Mulayam have treated IAS officer worse than crap! Not a word was written then!!

  19. Civil servants should record the shouting on their phones and later tell the minister politely that if he doesn’t stop shouting, they won’t utter a single word in his meetings. This also should be recorded and keep absolute silence in his meetings. Let him take action and let them approach a court.

    • My dear Govindji:
      I have handled “civil Many were corrupt, many were made of rubber frame and not iron frame that they claimed. servants” who were hardly civil for ten long years. many were utterly incompetent. I had one bureaucrat explaining to doctors with 20-30 years’ experience how to do vasectomy operation and went on and in till I asked “Mr……… How many operations have you done”
      Come to Kerala, show me one who does his job on time. Let an investigation be done of what all central grants and subsidies were lost by the State because of bureaucratic apathy. You will be surprised. How many of these fellows would use (If I remember right) Rule 28 of Rules of Business which says the minister has to sign off on a direction once the secretary points out the illegality. They NEVER do that. They will shield the Minister for petty gain.
      The bureaucrats misbehave in the hope Congress will come back and they can do whatever they want with profit. Unfortunately that’s a pipedream and 2019 onwards we will see a soft rubber framed Ayye Yes bowing and kowtowing.

    • sorry there was a typo: here is the correct version

      My dear Govindji:
      I have handled “civil servnts” who were hardly civil to aam aadmi, were highly politicized for ten long years. Many were corrupt, many were made of rubber frame and not the iron frame that they claimed. Many were utterly incompetent. I had one bureaucrat explaining to doctors with 20-30 years’ experience how to do vasectomy operation and went on and in till I asked “Mr……… How many operations have you done”
      Come to Kerala, show me one who does his job on time. Let an investigation be done of what all central grants and subsidies were lost by the State because of bureaucratic apathy and incompetence. You will be surprised. How many of these fellows would use (If I remember right) Rule 28 of Rules of Business which says the minister has to sign off on a direction once the secretary points out the illegality. They NEVER do that. They will shield the Minister for petty gain.
      The bureaucrats misbehave in the hope Congress will come back and they can do whatever they want with profit. Unfortunately, that’s a pipedream and 2019 onwards we will see a soft rubber framed Ayye Yes bowing and kowtowing.

      • Very well said, the print a biased mouth piece of Die Nasty just searching or creating these kinda things to please their bosses.

      • I agree with you that many IAS officers are arrogant, lazy, corrupt, and incompetent. However if the minister is competent and knowledgeable he will be able to take the best out of the officers without ever having to raise their voices in meetings. That is because a Minister is the most powerful boss any one can think off. But he can discipline his officers only if the minister’s focus is on public welfare. He can simply overrule any opinion of his officers and get the officer punished if he noticed any misdeed. There is no need to shout.

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