In his latest book "Bureaucracy and Politics", Mr. Rafath tries to answer the question - what ails the civil services?

Bureaucracy is the art of making possible impossible. But of late it is in the news for the opposite reason.

Civil servants in the State particularly are going through a bad patch following the recent arrest of two of their colleagues by CBI. They are upset at being hauled up for the ‘misdeeds’ of their political bosses. Is the bureaucracy in the midst of degradation – slow, steady and perpetual? Many feel so with neutrality, its very hallmark, being at stake.

In this context a book on the elite service by an IAS officer, Mohammed Ali Rafath, makes an interesting reading.

Ill-defined relationship

A 1997 batch officer, Mr. Rafath attributes the present state of affairs to the ill-defined relationship between the political executive and the bureaucrats. The expected standards envisaged by the framers of Constitution for the All India Services have not been achieved, he says.

In his latest book “Bureaucracy and Politics”, Mr. Rafath deals at length on this sensitive subject and tries to answer the question - what ails the civil services?

The book takes a peep into inception of the Indian Administrative Service and does a transnational comparison of the civic services vis-à-vis British, American, French and Japanese system. And this only adds to the value of the book.

Immunity from political interference, Mr. Rafath feels, is imperative for career advancement of civil servants. In support of his argument he refers to the set up in UK where the Civil Service Commissioner is responsible for appointment, transfer and promotion of civil servants.

Falling in line

But in India the politicians not only ‘handpick’ officers of their choice but also reward them with plum positions. Those who refuse to fall in line are given insignificant postings.

Mr. Rafath cites examples of susceptibility of the Indian Civil Service to political pressure right from emergency of 1975 to the Gujarat episode of 2002.

“There is urgent need to draw the lines of demarcation between the two to reform the administrative process”, he says.

Mr. Rafath, who presently heads the A.P Dairy Development Cooperative Federation, gives a draft model legislation to streamline the civil services.

An admirer of the legendary civil servant, S.R. Shankaran, he wonders why Chief Secretaries, DGPs, Collectors and SPs are shifted on the eve of elections. “Does it not amount to dissipating neutrality”, he asks.

The growth of regional parties and the substantial economic development have raised the stakes of politicians. And in order to perpetuate their hold on power the administrative machine is sought to be subverted. “The All India Services are the first victims of this pervert exercise”, Mr. Rafath says.

No comments

He wouldn’t like to comment on the arrest of two IAS officers but says bureaucrats ought to be cautious and not succumb to external pressures.