A section of media persons seem to be too enthusiastic to produce sensational items for their readers (or spectators)! It’s a combination of half-truth, distorted truth and lies, as it was brought out recently by one English newspaper to portray the state administration. There might be many intentions and one of them could be to have more proximity with bureaucratic power that may be tapped and twisted to meet future agenda. It aimed at establishing a section of bureaucracy as neutral and effective and another as partial and motivated. The matter should be taken up straight and without any ambiguity.
It’s a general knowledge that if the upper echelon of bureaucracy is sincere, honest and upright it will have a chain effect down the line. If the upper strata are not so, other tiers cant go long independently ignoring the center of gravity. No one has noticed any difference or resentment at the top in last decade or so with political dictates, which sometimes came out occasionally in sixties, seventies or in early eighties. As a matter of fact senior officers were found in tandem in the policy making with political functionaries, not only at the state level but also in the districts. State Civil Service officers were often bypassed and even replaced when they contradicted with such policies or other in the fields. It was a common feature where a BDO had to face strong opposition for years from the Panchayat Samiti run by the party in power. He seldom received the required support from the district administration to establish his views logically. The SCS officers in the sub-divisions or districts had similar experience at the time of reconciliation while upholding impartiality, adhering to the rules and regulations and fulfilling the need of people to the best possible extent. Their role as Returning Officers, once again, in the just concluded Assembly Election, received appreciation from all corners. One should not forget that about three-forth of the cadre strength of the WBCS (Exe) has to perform in these areas of administration and development.
Let’s now consider one or two incidents concerned with the SCS officers posted in the secretariats. Important and powerful ministers of the previous government have not accepted the truth and reality that civil service is separate in nature and activities and it can’t be compared with other services of the state. The GoI has admitted and given effect to it time and again for the IAS and other central services. Whenever any demand from SCS officers was placed before the previous state government it was found having examined in the context of the status of other officers. The state government has not yet implemented its order (No. 3015-F, dated 13-3-2001) to appoint SCS officers as secretary and open some posts of DM for them (Presently it has come down to 2 from 3 and the previous government did not take any step to amend it). The Joint Consultative Committee headed by the Chief Minister could meet rarely although its meeting should have been held twice in a year. The last state Pay Commission was mum only about the career prospect of the WBCS (Exe). Had the top echelon of bureaucracy taken interest in such matters things would have been different.
The only finger that one may raise on the ground of proximity is about some officers who worked as private secretaries to the ministers. Everywhere personal choice of a minister in such appointment has mattered in any government. Possibility of some ministers having personal likings for one or two officers might also be a reality. But it’s a rare reality. The government may end it and treat them according to their seniority and merit. But such a microscopic scrutiny in some cases as they are reported should have been avoided and, moreover, it should not attach any special tag with the entire cadre and allow media men or anybody else to indulge in the campaign which seems aggravated and annoying, and which may prove disastrous for the state.
- Paromita Deb