The Modi sarkar had promised to wage a war against corruption when it came to power in 2014. It has a mixed record so far to show for its efforts. While it has dismissed 357 babus, including 24 Indian Administrative Service officers, for “non-performance” it has punished only 12 IAS officers for corruption. There are more than 5,000 serving IAS officers.
Sources say that the slow progress in taking action against All-India Service officers — the highest rung of the bureaucracy — is stymied by the tedious investigation procedures, which apparently take an average of eight years to be completed. Regulations, however, require the inquiries to be completed in less than two years.
Some in Dilli feel that this is another reason to expedite the implementation of the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, which aims to investigate and prosecute corrupt babus at the upper echelons of the executive. Though the law was enacted and notified in January 2014 under the Congress-led government, more than three years after the BJP-led government took power, it has not been implemented. The Lokpal’s position, in fact, has not been filled.
J&K babus refuse to return
It appears that Indian Administrative Service officers of the Jammu and Kashmir cadre are working outside the state. Even as the state has sought repatriation of four senior IAS officers, the department of personnel and training (DoPT) has been approached by five senior IAS babus of the state cadre requesting for Central deputation. However, as there are a number of IAS officers from Jammu and Kashmir already on Central postings, the DoPT does not seem to be in a hurry to consider these new requests.
Curiously, sources say that the babus from Jammu and Kashmir cadre, who were on Central deputation and whose repatriation has been sought by the state government officially, are reluctant to return, with some even citing “work culture” in the state as one of the reasons for their preference of a Central posting. Apparently, Union minister of state DoPT, Jitendra Singh is aware of the situation, but has no explanation for why cadre officers refuse to return to their states.
Strong warning for filing iprs
Ensuring that all Indian Administrative Service officers submit details of their assets has not been easy for the Centre, with several babus refusing to toe the line. But the government is now planning to get firm with the recalcitrant ones. The additional secretary of department of personnel and training (DoPT), P.K. Tripathi, has written to all Central government departments, states and Union territories asking them to ensure submission of immovable property returns (IPRs) by IAS officers working with them by January 31, 2018. This is a routine missive. But the memo adds that failure of babus to do so would lead to denial of vigilance clearances needed for promotions and foreign postings. Mr Tripathi reportedly wrote: “In view of the DoPT’s instructions dated April 4, 2011, it is reiterated that failure to ensure timely submission of IPR would result in denial of vigilance clearance.”
Sources say that the DopT has designed an online module for the purpose of filing of the IPR. Officers have the option of uploading the hard copy of the IPR by January 31 in the online module.
Will the babus heed this warning? Watch this space for updates.