Government takes offence to IAS officer’s critique on open defecation free campaign
As per rules, an official of the government cannot make any statement which criticises any current or recent policy or action of the central or a state government in public.bhopal Updated: Apr 08, 2017 16:20 IST
An open critique questioning the Centre’s Open Defecation Free (ODF) campaign in a national daily by a senior Madhya Pradesh IAS officer has put the state government in a spot.
The government is reviewing the article by Dipali Rastogi, commissioner, tribal welfare, to ascertain if the All India Services (Conduct) Rules have been violated before asking her to give an explanation, sources said.
Confirming the development, Rashmi Arun Shami, secretary, general administration department (GAD), told HT, “We are examining the case. Notice has not been served (yet).”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet ODF campaign aims to improve sanitation among people in India by ensuring modern toilets—which have amenities like toilet paper and flush system—are built, including by the people themselves in their houses.
Questioning the logic of introducing western systems for uninitiated Indians, Rastogi, in her April 1 write-up, says “the villagers who are building the toilets are really not using them”.
“It (ODF) is a run to change a centuries-old mindset in just a few months. Because the ‘goras’ (whites) say it’s wrong to defecate in the open,” she writes, adding, “We rush to take lessons in hygiene from those who, unlike us, don’t wash their bottoms.”
The 1994-batch IAS officer of the Madhya Pradesh cadre concludes saying, “Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for toilets. After all, I am a city-dweller. I’m just uncomfortable with the way we are pushing it.”
Sources said senior officials cannot publicly criticise the policy of the government.
According to the Rule 7 of the All India Services (Conduct) Rules, 1968, “No member of the Service shall, in any radio broadcast or communication over any public media or in any document... or in any communication to the press or in any public utterance, make any statement of fact or opinion which has the effect of an adverse criticism of any current or recent policy or action of the central government or a state government”.
The GAD minister Lal Singh Arya told HT that once the Ater bypolls are over, he will look into the matter and accordingly necessary action will be taken.
“Right now I am busy with bypolls. I will be back in Bhopal after two days and then I will look into this matter,” he said.
Attempts to contact the IAS officer, Dipali Rastogi for her comments on the matter were unsuccessful.