A hundred fireflies are trying to light up the dark dusty world of the Indian bureaucracy.
Graduates of the prestigious Indian Institutes of Manage-ment (IIM), who had chucked a highflying corporate career to join the civil services over the last two decades, have come together to volunteer as change agents in the government.
They call themselves IIM-G: IIM Graduates in Government.
On Saturday, twenty of them sat across the table with cabinet secretary K.M. Chandrashekhar at Civil Service Officers’ Institute to ask him to make use of their rich mix of management and public administration skills.
Chandrashekhar appeared impressed and gave them a pep talk to become change agents. “Don’t be afraid to make drastic changes… there is room for change,” he said, promising that he would advise secretaries to make “good use” of the initiative.
“The government has so many good people… We are at your disposal,” Shailesh Pathak, 44, told Chandrashekhar after release of the directory of the IIM-G members.
A 1990 batch officer, Pathak is on deputation as a senior director at ICICI Venture, Mumbai, and the brain behind the network that had its origins in a handful of them discussing ways to “leverage our skills collectively” in 2004.
Pathak believed that it wasn't just the education and skill sets that IIM-G members had in common but their passion to deliver and improve governance from within.
It is also a belief that ties this group together.
Right from Ashish Gupta, director at the Prime Minister's Office who joined the IPS straight out of IIM Calcutta in 1989 and has already won himself a handful of medals to D Diptivilasa, who quit his job as a financial analyst in a commercial bank in 1980 to join the Indian Administrative Service. Today, he is responsible for the internal security division at the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Sudhir Rajpal, managing director of the Haryana Warehousing Corporation, said his batch mates from IIM-A who never joined the government too wanted to help improve governance. But there was apprehension that other bureaucrats should not misunderstand the initiative. “It is not to create a class or sub-class,” assured one member.