A MATTER OF CONSCIENCE & PRINCIPLES

Vijay K. Saluja

email:- salujavijay@hotmail.com 

The suspension of Ms Durga Shakti Nagpal ,a young IAS officer posted as sub-divisional magistrate[SDM] in Gautam Budh Nagar is like punching another big hole in the `steel[was in the past] frame` of the Govt. of India. The reasons for her suspension as reported in the media need to be looked into by the concerned authorities in the Govt. [Centre/state] dispassionately & immediately for suitable corrective steps to be taken to ensure that the suspension was not only revoked so that the concerned officer did not loose the enthusiasm, morale & zeal, to discharge her duties without fear & external pressure in the interest of public good, but also suitable measures are built into the existing administrative [with falling standards] system ,so that upright & motivated officers in the Govt whose numbers are dwindling by the day, do not, think/keep on leaving their govt jobs, because of lack of protection/security for doing their assigned duties as per the laid -down rules & as is expected from them as responsible public servants, by the citizens.

Because of the undue external factors[political, unethical seniors] some of the bright & the righteous have already left their Govt. jobs & and are now in the private sector or have left for abroad. A few, it is learnt & I know from personal knowledge, are practicing law, too!

Whose loss it is?

Durga Shakti Nagpal

Just think, if the bright, committed, dedicated, passionate about their duties- officers keep on leaving or are sidelined in the administrative system, then who will perform onerous duties of delivering public good? This exercise in the Govt.[Central & state] of not supporting the enthusiastic & righteous officers & suspending some of them on flimsy grounds [because of their conscience & therefore refusal to toe the lines of unethical political masters` colluded by their calculating seniors-some of doubtful integrity] are some of the prime reasons for massive scams which are surfacing with great regularity?!

Corruption of huge proportions in almost all the Govt. departments, urban local bodies, housing boards, development authorities etc. , have become the order of the day & the media-reports are full with juicy details of collusion of the bureaucracy / the political class with the private sectors. Delay in decisions on many vital projects of the cities/in the country have kept many ongoing projects in limbo resulting in huge cost & time over-runs besides causing big hardships & harassment to the general public & delay in benefits, which could have accrued because of the timely completion of the projects –infrastructure: housing, water supply, drainage, sewage, highways , tele-communications, industrial corridors etc..

There is an urgent need for introspection by the concerned authorities in the Govt. The Prime Minister, the Home Minister, the Minister for Personnel Affairs of the Govt. of India & all the Chief Ministers of the states need, to my mind, brainstorm to arrive at a consensus on the policy ,for dealing with their committed, dedicated, enthusiastic officers of integrity.

Young officers like Nagpals, Khemkas are assets of the Govt. to my mind. They need nurturing & protection for doing their rightful assigned duties without any fear & external pressures.

Even the ministers & political masters need regular training & skill up-gradation to deal with the matters of the state. Injecting a strong dose of values & ethics in the curriculum of the training-formats/schedules of the bureaucrats will go a long way in bringing about right attitudes & mindsets-an essential pre-requisites for delivering public good.

Then the Courts will also not get clogged with so many service –matters, too, which presently, is the case!!

In this case, it will help if the courts take suo-motto action to look into the matter.

Last but not the least, IAS Officers Association, Director IAS Academy, State Civil Services Associations, Directors of State Administrative Training Institutes, Indian Institute of Public Administration, IITs & IIMs[whose alumni are also being drawn towards IAS] ,Civil-Society Groups, Media & Social-Media, also need to brainstorm & come out with their deliberated Action-Plans, for the Govt. to consider & put the same in place/action, for empowering its committed & honest Govt. officers, offering caring governance to the citizens & thus making better INDIA.


(Author of this editorial is the Director,Giraffe Heroes India Program; Senior Fellow-Institute of Social sciencesEx President, IIT Delhi Alumni Association; Ex Chief Engineer[civil], New Delhi Municipal Council )

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