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Home > News > Capital Buzz

Virendra Kapoor | January 03, 2006

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh's homilies on adhering to objective norms and criteria in the promotion and postings of bureaucrats do not square with his government's actions. But there may be hope yet as senior bureaucrats wronged by an increasingly arbitrary selection process mull the use of the Right to Information Act to seek justice.

Ten additional secretary-ranked Indian Administrative Service officers of the 1972 batch have jointly petitioned Dr Singh against the recent empanelment of secretaries. Among those ignored for promotion is P K Mishra, the Gujarat cadre officer who has 10 straight 'excellent' entries in his annual service record as against the required eight for promotion. Yet, he was left out because of political prejudice brought to bear on the selection process.

Dr Singh could be in for much embarrassment should an aggrieved officer seek to find out the recommendations of the civil services board. The board, headed by the Cabinet Secretary, had duly recommended Mishra's empanelment. It was only at the political level that his name was omitted because of factional politics that unfairly dubbed the highly regarded officer as a sympathiser of the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party.

Who framed Sanjay Joshi?

Many in the Sangh Parivar believe the sting operation against BJP organising secretary Sanjay Joshi was an inside job, connected with the recent tussle for the chief ministership in Madhya Pradesh.

They find it hard to believe that Joshi could in any way be doing what the sleazy CD purportedly shows him doing.

Indeed, senior BJP leaders believe the CD is a fake, a cut-and-paste job by a film editor.

The BJP disconnect

Keen observers of the Sangh Parivar did not fail to notice the growing disconnect between the BJP and its parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, at last week's silver jubilee celebrations in Mumbai. One, BJP president L K Advani did not lose any time in pressing for the resignation of Sanjay Joshi, the RSS activist-turned-BJP official, even though Joshi insisted he was framed and would prove his innocence.

On another plane, Advani pointedly emphasised the need for family planning in his inaugural address, for following the two-child norm so the burden of a growing population would not further drag down the country, economically and environmentally. This was in sharp contrast to the request issued to all Hindus the other day by RSS leader K S Sudarshan -- to produce as many children as possible so the threat, as he put it, of Muslims overtaking them in the foreseeable future would be warded off.

Breaking rules for Marxists

The Army controls the Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata. And, as a long-standing rule, it is not given out for political rallies. But the Communist Party of India-Marxist-affiliated union of West Bengal government employees had set its heart on holding its golden jubilee celebrations on the ground.

The local army commander rejected the request of the trade union, which then approached Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

Knowing the extremely useful role employees have played in helping the Marxists retain power, and with a fresh election to the state assembly due soon, Bhattacharjee called Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee. The latter was only too keen to please the chief minister. In short, overruling the army, the Brigade Ground was thrown open to the Marxist trade union.

What's up at NOIDA?

More than a year ago, the Mulayam Singh Yadav government in Uttar Pradesh invited applications for the allotment of residential plots in NOIDA, a bustling township on the outskirts of Delhi.

More than 170,000 people from across the country applied. On the sale of application forms alone, each priced at Rs 750, Rs 120 million was collected.

That wasn't all. Depending on the size of plot, applicants deposited sums ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 140,000. Among the conditions duly written down in the application booklet was the assurance that, in case the draw of lots was not held within a year from the last date for acceptance of applications, nine per cent interest would be given on the deposited amount.

Now, after holding two draws that had to be annulled by the courts following a hue and cry in the media, applicants have been refunded the deposit without any interest. In order not to be liable, the letter accompanying the refund cheques bears the date December 6, 2005, as the date of closure of the scheme was December 7, 2004. It is another matter that the cheques were received by most applicants in the second or third week of December.

Thus, NOIDA used some Rs 1.5 billion of funds for a year without holding the promised draw or paying the promised interest. It also held back Rs 1,000 from the original deposit by each applicant, just in case it got the green signal to finally hold the draw.

Incidentally, a television channel owner in Delhi claims to possess a CD that supposedly shows three nationally known Congress leaders in compromising positions. He has refrained from airing its contents because he is unsure of its authenticity.

Woes of a millionaire wannabe

An aggrieved fan of a popular quiz programme has dragged a television channel to the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission, complaining that he was unfairly denied a chance to appear on the show after clearing every prescribed step in the selection process.

By way of evidence, he cited relevant cellular phone bills, listing SMS messages and calls made in response to the established drill in order to get a berth.

Apparently, he spent over Rs 10,000 on phone calls and SMS messages to the designated number of the show, but was angry when he found himself inexplicably rejected at the last step. Last heard, the organisers have realised their error, and made a placatory offer on the condition that he withdraw his complaint.

Illustrations: Uttam Ghosh

Capital Buzz

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Number of User Comments: 2

Sub: Understand Dr. Singh!

Unfortunately, the present system of democracy is diminished to a rule based upon vote bank. Voting power vested with large majority of illiterate and ignorant ...

Posted by B.Gautam

Sub: Dr. Singh

It is very clear that Dr.Singh did not stand upto his stature. It is unthinkable as to how a Progressive Person can allow the Quota/Reservation ...

Posted by J.N.mahanty



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