Friday, July 6, 2018
All Postings are equally significant : Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao
All Postings are equally significant
Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao
Telangana Today (07-07-2018)
There were reports recently that a few IAS officers in Telangana met the Chief Secretary with a complaint that they had been posted in ‘unimportant and insignificant’ departments whereas their juniors were given significant and pivotal posts. Is it possible to run the government efficiently if those who do not get a posting of their choice choose to express dissatisfaction over transfers made for administrative reasons and better governance?
These officers are supposed to discharge their responsibilities without giving room to any prejudice and bias, irrespective of the department they are working for.
A posting to Dr MCR HRD Institute, Hyderabad, was considered as a punishment posting during 1995. PVRK Prasad, who was media adviser to former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao was posted as its Director General. Urmila Subbarao, another IAS officer, was posted as Additional Director General. In a way, as many thought, it was a punishment posting for both of them. But later it proved otherwise.
When asked why they preferred these postings, the reply from both of them was, “for relaxing”. But what happened later was history. There was an incredible transformation of the institute, slowly and steadily. An institute, which was unfamiliar to many in 1995, was converted into a globally renowned institution and was placed on the world map of training as a great centre of excellence. It continues to enjoy this status till date. The reason was simple. An institute, which was thought insignificant where posting was a punishment, was transformed into the most significant department and a pride of place for an officer.
When former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi asked Narasimha Rao to select his portfolio in her Cabinet, the latter preferred Human Resource instead of Defence or External Affairs. When she asked him why he chose a relatively insignificant department, his answer was in government no department is insignificant!
PV transformed the department and the ‘Challenges of Education’ document was one of the consequences of his efforts. When Indira Gandhi was asked to choose her portfolio at the time of joining Lal Bahadur Shastri Cabinet, she selected, to everybody’s surprise, Information and Broadcasting, then considered insignificant. History proved otherwise later. Dr M Channa Reddy was initially given the Steel and Mines portfolio when he joined the Union Cabinet but he brought name and fame to it.
M Channa Reddy, during his second stint as Chief Minister of then Andhra Pradesh, responding to a complaint of corrupt practices in municipal administration — in addition to seeking the resignation of Minister Koneru Ranga Rao — posted IAS officer C Arjun Rao to the disaster management department, thought to be relatively insignificant. The State was hit by a ghastly cyclone on May 13, 1990. Arjun Rao took preventive measures that saved the lives of thousands of people. The relief and rehabilitation measures he took became a role model.
Channa Reddy was all praise for Arjun Rao and it was during that time that the famous ‘Cyclone Reconstruction Project’ was envisaged. Readers Digest published a special story on Arjun Rao later.
During Chandrababu Naidu’s tenure, as part of his Vision-2020 document, agriculture was relegated to an unimportant place and the post of Agriculture Production Commissioner became insignificant. But now, greater importance is being given to agriculture with schemes like Rythu Bandhu and Rythu Bhima.
From these, it can only be concluded that there is no insignificant department in government. It’s only the people who head them and their commitment and capacity to make any department significant that matter.
IAS officers start with the post of Sub-Collector and go up to the level of Chief Secretary or Cabinet Secretary depending upon their efficiency, initiative and obviously opportunity. Any efficient officer, whatever posting s/he is given will rise to the occasion and do her best to convert it into the best.
Hence, it is not correct on the part of these few IAS officers to complain to the Chief Secretary that they have been discriminated against. It is only the attitude and thinking of these IAS officers that make them feel that their postings are insignificant.
If we have a look at the postings that they were given, it is crystal clear that none of them is insignificant or unimportant. One of them having worked as Collector, Commissioner – Excise, Vice-Chairman – Housing Board, Principal and Special Chief Secretary – Revenue is now posted as Secretary SC/ST Commission.
At a time when the government is going all out to extend maximum welfare benefits to SC/ST, there cannot be a better posting than this for any officer. Similarly, the post of Joint Secretary Municipal Administration or Joint Secretary Home or Joint Secretary Public Enterprises or for that matter, even DG Archives, is not insignificant. For a fair thinker, every government department is equally significant!
(The author is Chief Public Relations Officer to the Chief Minister of Telangana)