‘It’s tougher to be a bureaucrat now’
HYDERABAD: While working as Kurnool district collector, PC Parakh once found himself in a tussle with the then minister in-charge of the district.
With the minister gunning for his head, Parakh wrote to the chief secretary, asking for a transfer.
But the chief secretary wrote back ‘Just because the minister does not like your face, I cannot transfer you out.’ “Can any chief secretary say this today?” wonders Parakh, a retired IAS officer.
In an exclusive interview with Express, Parakh, who has held several top positions in the state and centre before retiring as secretary, ministry of coal, said that survival of honesty among bureaucrats now is difficult as the whole atmosphere is vitiated.
IAS officers are compelled to accept the diktats of the ministers and are blackmailed or victimised if they refuse.
But the blame for messes lie with both the minister and the bureaucrat, he said.
Asked about the statement of the IAS Officers Association about “big fish and small fish”, Parakh felt that the statement was not “properly drafted.” But he agrees with his serving IAS colleagues who say that the CBI must treat them with courteousness as they hold a position of dignity in the society.
In the same breath he added that bureaucrats today have changed.
“The image loss is there,” he said.
Asked about corruption in the bureaucracy, he said that corruption is of two kinds - one where officers accept money or paid holidays from people and second, when officers do not oppose the obvious wrong decisions of the ministers.
But he says that accepting small gifts is not against the law as the All India Service Rules permit officers to accept gifts that cost less than a prescribed monetary ceiling.
Parakh recalls that on his last day as MD of Godavari Fertilizers and Chemicals limited, he was gifted two sandalwood statues by the staff and workers union.
Since the cost of the statues was beyond the fixed monetary ceiling, Parakh wrote to the state government seeking permission to accept them.
The reply was an expected ‘no’ which Parakh obeyed.
But his successor RKR Gonela did’nt know what to do with the statues in the office and wrote to the government seeking permission to give them to Parakh.
Finally, Parakh was allowed to keep them.
The problems with bureaucracy today is due to the system of oral communication, he said.
“The Business rules say that ministers can give oral instructions but the secretary of that department should get confirmation in writing later.
Complaining later without bringing the oral instructions on record serves no purpose.”