As the case of IPS Officer Roopa Moudgil and IAS Officer Rohini Sindhuri plays out in the media with the allegations of land-grabbing making headlines, one is forced to ask, why do young Indians want to join the Civil Services?
Is it to be of service to the nation and its people? Or is it for self-service? The answer, in most cases, is self-service.
Kautilya’s Arthashastra states, “Just as it is impossible to know when a swimming fish is drinking water, so it is impossible to find out when a Government servant is stealing money.”
Over the years, the Civil Services, be it IAS, KAS, IPS etc., have lost prestige and respect. Nehru, in 1935 had said, “Few things are more striking today in India than the progressive deterioration, moral and intellectual, of the higher services, especially the Indian Civil Service.”
But back then, Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel disagreed and noted that “these people” were the instruments of national unity without whose expertise in administration there would be chaos in the new nation.
Vallabhbhai Patel was right for that time, but today Nehru’s words ring true. Today, most Civil Servants have become instruments of politics, and their expertise is in corruption instead of service to the nation.
That is why Suresh Prabhu, former Minister in the NDA Government, speaking to Economic Times, said, “Bureaucrats were to be the checks in the system.” Then he added, “But the checks have turned into cheques while the balance is out of the window.” Well, the balance is not out of the window but in their Bank.
It is said that politicians are taught how to loot by the bureaucrats… After all, politicians keep changing, but an Officer has a good 30 years to milk the system. A system they helped create. That’s why no Officer is prosecuted.
Of course, they have laws to prosecute Civil Servants, but the procedure and process are so convoluted that it will seldom end in sentencing or dismissal. But the present Government is trying to bring some civility among Civil Servants. Since BJP came to power in 2014, nearly 400 Officers, deemed incompetent or corrupt, have been sacked or sent home.
Civil Servants also need new rules when it comes to social media usage. Officers are busy squabbling on social media. Worse, some of them have hired companies to do PR for them! This includes having a troll army to abuse anyone who questions them, be it the media or even their bosses, the elected representatives.
Some Officers are busy amassing wealth in the form of land banks while consistently using social media to build an image of an honest and hard-working officer with a plan to enter politics.
Like in politics, even in bureaucracy corruption has become a family business. If the father or mother is the Officer, then the son or the son-in-law is the middleman. The wife, the in-laws or close relatives are the benami vaults. And everyone is a beneficiary.
Here are some examples — The middleman for the former Chairman of Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) B. P. Verma was his son; The middle man in the Scorpene deal was Shankaran, the nephew of Navy Chief Arun Prakash; Former Railway Minister Pawan Bansal’s nephew Vijay Singla was caught red-handed while accepting a bribe of Rs. 90 lakh for a lucrative posting; A few years ago the Special Investigation Team (SIT) arrested Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Y. Bhaskar Rao’s son Ashwin Rao in an extortion case.
Now, as for the spat between IPS Officer Roopa and IAS Officer Rohini, it’s not the “cat” fight angle we should be paying attention to but the allegations of land grab that have been alleged.
IPS Roopa has alleged that IAS Rohini’s husband used his wife’s powerful position to usurp the land. Just a few months ago, Singer Lucky Ali helplessly tweeted that Rohini’s husband had encroached on his land with her help. Coincidentally, K.R. Nagar MLA Sa.Ra. Mahesh too had levelled a similar allegation when Rohini was the DC of Mysuru.
Ironically, Rohini had accused Sa.Ra. Mahesh of land-grabbing and Mahesh filed a defamation suit which he claims Rohini wanted him to withdraw. Interestingly, Rohini could not prove that Mahesh had grabbed Government land.
Now, Rohini has filed a Rs. 1 crore defamation suit against Roopa, who has accused her of aiding her husband in land-grabbing. Wah! How the tables have turned. And why are so many land-related issues swirling around Rohini and her husband?
Even more interesting is the involvement of RTI activist N. Gangaraju. Back in 2021, when Rohini had accused Sa.Ra. Mahesh of land-grabbing, the same RTI activist Gangaraju fought against Mahesh and in support of Rohini. Now it is the same activist involved in this Rohini Vs Roopa case where Roopa has accused him of sharing the loot with Rohini!
There is smoke. Is there a fire? Will the Government investigate?
P.S. – The Civil Services are called the steel frame that holds India together. Unfortunately, the steel frame is rusted and rotting. It’s time to re-frame the steel frame if we want to reform India.
If PM Modi wants to see ‘Vikas’ in India, he has to first fix the ‘Vishwas’ deficit in the Indian bureaucracy.
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