Balancing act in store for new Chief Secretary
IF CHIEF Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav faced the challenge of picking up the right officer for the top bureaucratic post, new incumbent Naveen Chand Bajpai faces a greater challenge of restoring the glory of the Chief Secretary?s office, fast diminishing over the years.india Updated: Apr 05, 2006 00:59 IST
IF CHIEF Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav faced the challenge of picking up the right officer for the top bureaucratic post, new incumbent Naveen Chand Bajpai faces a greater challenge of restoring the glory of the Chief Secretary’s office, fast diminishing over the years.
Though Bajpai’s predecessor R Ramani may not be blamed for his involvement in any controversy, he either lacked dynamism or was extra cautious to win the title of “Unko shikayat hai ki ham kuchh nahin karte, apni to yeh aadat hai ki ham kuchh nahin karte” at the Uttar Pradesh IAS Association’s service dinner during the Civil Service Week.
With the exception of VK Deevan and VK Mittal, all other incumbents to the Chief Secretary’s post have been removed unceremoniously for one reason or the other after DS Bagga, who became the first top bureaucrat to be placed under suspension. Bagga’s successor Akhand Pratap Singh too remained controversial throughout his tenure and controversies dogged him even after he quit office. Singh’s successor VK Deevan ended his tenure without generating any controversy. So did Mittal, who too quit his office gracefully. Mittal’s successor Neera Yadav, however, had to be shifted to the post of chairperson, Revenue Board following the Supreme Court observations against her.
Thus Bajpai becomes the first officer in recent years whose appointment has been largely welcomed by the bureaucracy. Soft-spoken but reserved, Bajpai has the image of being an upright and honest officer. As a consequence, bureaucrats have high hopes from him at this point when political bosses are busy fulfilling their election promises and stepping up preparations for the Vidhan Sabha polls.
If the chief minister’s election promises are viewed in the backdrop of the recent face-off between the UP IAS Association and the UP PCS Association, Bajpai’s job will become more complex. Besides taking care of his own IAS fraternity, Bajpai will have to fine-tune the art of balancing to keep other services in good humour.
The UP IAS Association has also been protesting against suspensions that it felt were being ordered at the whims of those in power. The association has also been demanding that the State Government should keep its commitment on providing a minimum two-year tenure to IAS officers in accordance with the promises it made in an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court a few years ago.
Bajpai also faces a major challenge of mobilising additional resources, not only to meet the needs of a larger annual plan size of Rs 19,000 crore but also to meet the expenses to implement Mulayam’s populist announcements in the election year.
Bajpai carries with him a vast experience of holding many important positions in the State Government. All he may have to do will be to ensure that no one in the administration, in the public or he himself becomes a victim of any communication gap at any level. Bajpai may also have to ensure that the inbuilt mechanisms in the system are revived to ensure that justice is not only done, it should appear to be done.