Private Bureaucrats: Mamata Banerjee Questions PM Modi’s Decision

Mamata Banerjee (file photo)
Mamata Banerjee (file photo)

In today’s increasingly specialized and cut-throat world, a person needs in-depth knowledge and extensive domain expertise to handle a particular department even in a small company. But it is highly unfortunate that people with no qualification or expertise become Presidents, Governors, Prime Ministers, ministers, and bureaucrats in India to manage highly complex domains of governance. That’s why India continues to be a poor, underdeveloped country. Click here to read more.

By Rakesh Raman

In order to bring some degree of professionalism to India’s bureaucracy, the Narendra Modi government has decided to appoint private-sector professionals to 10 joint secretary-level bureaucratic posts.

This is perhaps the most admirable step that PM Modi has taken in his entire tenure so far, as the traditional Indian bureaucrats are mostly corrupt and inefficient.

In fact, the same rule should apply for appointing ministers in different state governments and Government of India. Ministers need to be domain experts in the departments they are supposed to handle.

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While the government’s decision is being appreciated through and through, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee – who is a fierce critic of Modi – has expressed her concerns.

“In my view, there is no objection if talented persons join the Central Government to improve its professional competence and efficiency. But I have few concerns about the issue involving various implications,” Banerjee said Tuesday in her Facebook post.

“The officers from All India Services / Central Services presently hold positions of Joint Secretary and equivalent levels in the Government of India. These officers are inducted in government services through transparent recruitment processes by Constitutional bodies like the UPSC,” Banerjee said. “The officers are expected to be politically neutral while discharging their duties. Any shift from such standard will not be good for the nation.”

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Presently, she said, the officers of All India / Central Services have been working in the government with sincerity and accountability and maintaining secrecy, where the paramount interest of the nation remains supreme.

“In view of it,” Banerjee said, “I feel that any deviation from the system, particularly by inducting professionals from non-governmental sector, notwithstanding their talent may dilute the sensitivity attached to the functioning of the government.

Therefore, she suggested, it is necessary to have wider debate and discussion with different stake-holders, including representatives of the All India Services / Central Services, before implementing the proposed induction of lateral entries into senior positions of the government.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.

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Rakesh Raman