Thursday, August 8, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Rightsizing Punjab’s bloated bureaucracy

Amar Chandel has done a commendable job in bringing out solid and workable solutions for rightsizing the administrative setup in Punjab so as to save crores of rupees to fill the state treasury for which there is daily drum-beating that “khazana khali hai”. Surely, I believe the vested interests will prevail upon the powers that be with their illogical arguments to put this very valuable summing up in the cold storage.

It will be of interest to the new generation that in the pre-partition Punjab, consisting of 34 districts, there was only one Financial Commissioner, as against 26 at present. The then British government, during its 100 years rule, introduced many new projects like the establishment of Panjab University, the canal system, medical and engineering education, the judicial and revenue systems, besides the Railways and the postal services and scores of other reforms, earlier unknown to us.

And, we all know what the swadeshi governments in Punjab with a top-heavy administration have done for the people during the last over 50 years - perhaps nothing more than creating poverty, unemployment, corruption and degradation in character, besides, of course, promoting personal and family interests.

On the law and order side, the less said the better. In the olden times there was only one IGP and there was all truth in the saying then known to every one that a lion and a goat used to drink water together from the same ghat. Today, there are five-six DGPs/ADGPs, besides countless IGs/DIGs and an army of middle and lower level personnel. The crime situation is known to all of us. Newspapers are full of reports pertaining to rape, abduction, murders, eve-teasing, chain snatching etc - the list is endless.


Will Capt Amarinder Singh take remedial steps or continue with one-point agenda, which, without doubt, is praise-worthy and has been widely appreciated?


The tired and retired: The article by Amar Chandel is an eye-opener. The all-India services are a well-knit group and look after their interests. Their number is multiplying. Pruning is a must. Disposal of work is also retarded. Fresh recruitment should be stopped for at least five years. Bureaucrats may hinder the streamlining of the administration.

A mad rat-race is on to recall retired persons to fill posts in the government and PSUs. A retired high court or Supreme Court judge is always considered for heading a tribunal or a committee for an enquiry and retired bureaucrats are considered better qualified as advisers. A retired person imposes a heavy burden on the exchequer. The persons who have attained the age of superannuation and have been granted extension in service and the persons who have been recalled after retirement should be sent home — lock, stock and barrel.

The posts pointed out by Amar Chandel as surplus should definitely be abolished. The persons who can be legally retired should be sent home as that is the proper place for them. The persons who are still surplus should be sent to the central pool and those who do not comply with the order should be asked to seek retirement. If some vacancy does occur, the young blood should be introduced, but only on merit.


The good and the bad: The article presents a true picture of the extravagance, drift and lack of direction in the Punjab bureaucracy. The suggestions are also realistic. I differ with one observation of the writer. He has written: “It is better to have direct IAS officers posted in the district, since they are enthusiastic with some ideals and not yet politicised.” All direct IAS officers are not like that. Some of them start corruption as under-training officers and are highly politicised when they join as SDMs.

I also take this opportunity to highlight one more aspect of the issue. Newspapers recently carried reports giving the impression that IAS officers not belonging to Punjab are more impartial, fearless, honest and apolitical and they can carry out the work of governance in a better way. It is also not totally true. Some “outsiders” have proved to be the most partial, corrupt and politicised.

So outstanding officers do exist amongst the promoted and insider IAS officers. Goodness cannot be attached to one or another category. It can be found in ample measure in individuals and not in set categories.

Brig JASWINDER SINGH (retd), Sandhwan (Faridkot)

Mini Ravi Sidhus

There are many mini Ravi Sidhu in departments like health, medical education, higher studies and school education, public works etc. They are assistants and superintendents working in Chandigarh offices, with no fear of transfer. Some of them manage their postings on lucrative seats through links and bribes to their counterparts in the Personnel Section.



She is in hospital

Apropos the news item Battered wife dies at PGI (July 24)about Rimpy, whose eyes were damaged by her husband, Manohar Lal, in the remote village of Kohan in the Dharampur valley of Sarkaghat subdivision. Rimpy is still struggling for survival in the zonal hospital, Mandi. The false news of her death has distressed Rimpy, her parents and relatives. Who is responsible for this irresponsible news which has dented the image of The Tribune?


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