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  Opinion   Columnists  01 Mar 2023  Dilip Cherian | Exodus of babus from Punjab amid ‘Khalistan’ uproar

Dilip Cherian | Exodus of babus from Punjab amid ‘Khalistan’ uproar

Love them, hate them ignore them at national peril, is the babu guarantee and Dilip’s belief. Share significant babu escapades
Published : Mar 2, 2023, 12:05 am IST
Updated : Mar 2, 2023, 12:05 am IST

The situation is fluid and it does not help that the administration has been shown up as meek and submissive


In Punjab, the Ajnala episode, the re-emergence of the dreaded ‘K’-word and the rise of another radical ideologue have raked up memories of a past best forgotten. The situation is fluid and it does not help that the administration has been shown up as meek and submissive. Further, the senior babus in the state, be they IAS or IPS officers, are not sending encouraging signals to the public — at a time when the Bhagwant Mann government needs to show that it is still in charge.  

Sources have informed DKB that there is a sort of stampede among senior IAS and IPS officers to leave Punjab and move to the Centre on deputation. Reportedly, at least seven IAS officers have applied for central deputation, whereas five-six officers have already left the state and gone on deputation. These include Sibin C. (2005 batch), and Kumar Saurabh and B. Srinivasan, both from the 2011 batch.

Among the IPS officers already on Central deputation are Dinkar Gupta (NIA head), Samant Goel (R&AW chief) and Harpreet Sidhu, who was earlier the head of STF. Apart from these, ex-DGP V.K. Bhawra and some other IPS officers have also applied for Central deputation.

For the unversed, it is important for every IAS officer to go on a Central deputation for at least two years so that there is no hindrance in the upcoming promotions. Some officers also prefer to go on a Central deputation at a time when they are not on good terms with the serving state government. Is that the reason for this current stampede to the exit door?


On Niti and some abrupt changes

The announcement to replace Niti Aayog CEO Parmeshwaran Iyer with former commerce secretary B.V.R. Subramanyam came as a surprise to many babu observers. Mr Iyer was appointed to the post in July of last year, so his abrupt removal after a mere eight months is difficult to decode. But there are those who claim to have read the coffee grounds. Some believe that there was some degree of unease inside Niti Aayog after the completion of Amitabh Kant’s tenure. Whatever, there has to be a compelling reason behind this move.

Mr Iyer now moves to Washington, DC, as executive director, World Bank, for a period of three years, replacing a prematurely repatriated Rajesh Khullar. While some believe that Mr Iyer had wanted to relocate to the US, others say that the Haryana government was keen to utilise Mr Khullar’s services in the state. Make of that what you will.

Meanwhile, for B.R.V. the Centre’s decision is a clear sign that he has not fallen out of favour as presumed by many babu watchers after he had turned down the chair of the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) when he was about to retire last year.

The entire episode, however, underlines the view that in the Modi Sarkar, a favourite babu will always remain a favourite, and the government will do whatever it deems necessary to place the right person in the right place. And quite likely we will see similar moves in the days and weeks to come.


Agri babus ensure success of PM’s kisan initiative

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi released the 13th instalment of financial benefits worth Rs 16,800 crores to over eight crore eligible farmers under the PM-Kisan scheme earlier this week, it continues what is seen as a major shift in direct support by the government to the country’s farmers. The agriculture ministry has ensured that the scheme, which was launched in February 2019 but is being implemented since December 2018, was able to transfer benefits to more than three crore beneficiaries, even during the worst moments of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Sources say that babus in the ministry, particularly agriculture secretary Manoj Ahuja, have largely been successful in providing significant benefits to farmers to boost their incomes and contribute to agricultural growth. Of particular significance is the creation of a farmer-centric digital infrastructure that has ensured the benefits of the scheme reach all the farmers, primarily small and marginal farmers, across the country without any involvement of the middlemen. While the Modi Sarkar will inevitably laud its own policy for its positive benefits for farmers, the babus in the agriculture ministry deserve credit for its success.

Tags: punjab, bhagwant mann, narendra modi, dinkar gupta, manoj ahuja