Officials resent being made scapegoats in the game of political one-upmanship

Stung by what they call the unfair targeting of civil servants by the political class after the privilege notice moved against the Chief Secretary P. K. Mohanty by some legislators on Friday, some senior officials mooted the need for a national debate to exempt bureaucrats from the game of political one-upmanship.

There should be a clear demarcation on the jurisdiction of the legislators so that they do not interfere with the work of bureaucrats and enable them reach out the promises made by the governments concerned to the targeted beneficiaries, they said.

‘System under threat’

The privilege notice against the Chief Secretary was yet another instance of the bureaucrats being made the scapegoats in politically volatile situations. “You do your politics but don’t involve the bureaucrats. Otherwise you will finish the system. We are all very upset with the development. It was in bad taste,” said a senior IAS officer.

“It is not proper to drag civil servants into political controversies. A civil servant is the tool of the State and will act as per the orders of the Chief Minister and the Council of Ministers and in accordance with the Business rules,” said senior IAS officer Prashant Mahapatra.

Regretting the growing targeting of bureaucrats for political ends, he said there was a limit to which the civil servants could ventilate their anger on their vilification. The civil society, media should also take it up to prevent lampooning of bureaucracy for political ends.

Referring to the privilege notice moved against the Chief Secretary, Mr. Mohapatra cautioned that the political leaders were cutting the branch on which they were sitting. “Tomorrow when the Telangana State is formed, do they expect a Chief Secretary to go beyond the brief of Chief Minister and his Council of Ministers?”

Several officials in defence of the Chief Secretary said he was quietly doing his job by following the official procedures in despatching the letter addressed by the Union Home Ministry, Presidential reference and the draft AP Reorganisation Bill to the legislature. The copies of the Bill were delivered ahead of the 24-our deadline set by the Home Ministry which itself was a record, they said.