IAS Association a headless body for 5 months now
The IAS Association has fallen conspicuously silent at a time when there is a growing feeling in the bureaucracy that its hegemony is being broken by the Modi government. Meant to highlight the issues concerning the IAS fraternity, the association has been headless for months since its last president, former WCD secretary Rakesh Srivastav, retired from service in March this year. While Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba was expected to become the next president, sources in the association said he is reluctant to take up the post as he is eyeing the cabinet secretary post, and does not want to be seen unionising. The association’s secretary is expected to go on a sabbatical for two years, and no elections for the post are in sight. Far from unionising, without a president and a secretary, the association has failed to even take a stand on issues concerning its fraternity. Its Twitter handle with hundreds of thousands of followers is basically used to tweet “good news stories” of some IAS officers performing well in the country. However, on contentious issues such as lateral entry, the resignation of top IAS officer Subhash Garg, and forced retirements of bureaucrats by the Modi government, the association has maintained absolute silence.
A Timangshu Dhulia film under the scanner in Rajya Sabha
Under the watch of Rajya Sabha chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu, there has been a streamlining of a number of processes in the Rajya Sabha Television (RSTV) but the RS secretariat has chosen to brush under the carpet an official report pointing out irregularities in the making of a film. In August 2018, the secretariat had set up a one-man inquiry committee to look into RSTV’s functioning since its inception. The committee, headed by Dr PPK Ramacharyulu, Secretary in RS Secretariat, was tasked with also looking into the expenditure incurred by RSTV in the making of the film, Raag Desh, in 2017. The film is based on the trials of soldiers of the Indian National Army at Red Fort during World War II. The committee was given three months to submit its report. In April, after the committee submitted its report, a notice was issued to former RSTV CEO Gurdeep Sappal during whose tenure in office the film was produced. But since then, the RS Secretariat has gone silent on the matter. The report had clearly stated that that the RSTV went beyond its mandate in making the movie and it caused losses to the public exchequer. Directed by Bollywood director Timangshu Dhulia, the movie was produced by Sappal. The committee said there was no transparency in selecting Dhulia as the director who came at a cost of Rs 13 crore. Sappal had resigned as RSTV CEO in August 2017 soon after Naidu was sworn in as the vice-president. Sappal, considered close to Congress, launched a news channel Swaraj Express in November 2018.
When Chhattisgarh CM had to walk to Sonia’s house
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel along with the Congress’s SC/ST wing chief P. L. Punia, who is also the state in-charge, paid a visit to Sonia Gandhi Monday. The two, however, had to alight from their vehicles when they arrived at 10, Janpath. Congress leaders said the SPG cited security as a reason for not letting their vehicles through. Grapevine has it that the chief minister was “aghast” at being treated the way he was. He argued that his car had never been stopped at the gate before but to no avail. The two leaders had to walk to the residence. They later met Gandhi to apprise her about the political situation in Chhattisgarh.
(Contributors: Sanya Dhingra, Moushumi Das Gupta and Deeksha Bhardwaj)