UPSET OVER the ‘partisan’ role played by IAS officers during the urban local bodies’ elections, Governor TV Rajeswar today took a dig at them, asking them to ensure that accusing fingers were not pointed towards them in future.
He also asked the bureaucrats to uphold the high values of the service instead of resorting to corrupt practices.
About 1,000 complaints were received during the local bodies’ polls, the Governor said, adding that he was aware of the role played by some officers. “I know who did what,” he said, adding that such tactics could only benefit in the short term.
The Governor’s observations obviously implied that he wanted the bureaucrats to act in a free and fair manner during the forthcoming Vidhan Sabha elections.
The occasion was dinner the Governor hosted for IAS officers at Raj Bhawan. He used the occasion for first-ever interaction with officers and gave them a lesson or two not only in good governance but also on how they could live a modest life within their existing means.
He expressed his concern over frequent transfers and suspensions of IAS officers and took a dig not only at the Mulayam government but also the previous regimes.
“No officer should be suspended in the manner the State Government has been suspending them over the years,” he said. He said the tenure of officers posted on important posts should be fixed. “When I went to Firozabad the SSP informed me that he had been transferred seven times in a year,” he said.
The Governor referred to a mail sent to him by a retired officer who pointed out how there was erosion of values in the bureaucracy, once regarded as steel frame. Referring to Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav’s observations that many district magistrates were taking bribe in the same manner as done by their subordinates, the Governor said he was surprised to know that. There should be no reason to resort to corrupt practices, he said.
A senior IAS officer Ashish Goel pointed out that salary and perks of IAS officers were no match to those being paid in the private sector. “We were way ahead of private sector earlier. Now their salaries and perks are higher than ours,” said the officer.
At this the Governor said the IAS officers got salary and perks sufficient for a modest living. “I get a salary of Rs 15,000,” he said adding that low salary did not mean that anybody should give up values.
The Governor also recalled his days as Director, Intelligence Bureau, when he was the only officer given an official car while other senior officers were denied the facility. “I used to get a salary of Rs 3,000,” he said adding that it was sufficient for him to live a modest life.
Meanwhile, there were some heated exchanges when some officers asked the association chairman Shambhu Nath not to regulate the interaction. “Let officers speak on their own. There should be no pick and choose,” said a senior officer. Many officers pointed out that the IAS should not be isolated for corruption. “There were other institutions that needed to be cleaned up.”
The Governor asked the officers to inspect school and hospitals during tours. He said things would improve if they performed their duties well. He referred to his tour to Kanpur and Gorakhpur to point out how the pollution level was rising in the Ganga and how the Japanese Encephalitis was spreading its tentacles in Gorakhpur. He referred to the nursing schools in Kerala and said similar quality schools should be opened in UP as well.