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G files may 2014


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Suhag's Murky Appointment
UPA's Rash of Postings

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G files may 2014

  2. 2. gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May 2014 Anil Tyagi | editor TR Ramachandran | executive editor Niranjan Desai | roving editor GS Sood | consulting business editor Rakesh Bhardwaj | editorial consultant Arvind Tiwari | director, business development Naresh Minocha | associate editor Neeraj Mahajan | associate editor Pranab Prakhar | associate editor Ajit Ujjainkar | bureau chief (mumbai) Harishchandra Bhat | associate editor (bengaluru) Venugopalan | bureau chief (bengaluru) Kanika Srivastava | editorial coordinator Mayank Awasthi | reporter Jyoti Puri | hr Pawan Kumar | production coordinator Sumer Singh | assistant manager, logistics Nipun Jain | finance Gautam Das | legal consultant Bushchat Publishing | edit & design Madan Lal | Webmaster Abhisshek Tyagi | Director advertising & marketing HARISH ARORA— +919650689811 e-mail: U K SHARMA— +919717588883 e-mail: RAKESH ARORA— +919810648809 mumbai: 48/C-1, Areshwar, Mhada, S.V.P. Nagar, Andheri(W), Mumbai 400 053 bengaluru: 2210, 10b main road, 3 block, jayanagar, bengaluru 560 011 CONTACT — +91 9845730298 e-mail: +All information in gfiles is obtained from sources that the management considers reliable, and is disseminated to readers without any responsibility on our part. Any opinions or views on any contemporary or past topics, issues or developments expressed by third parties, whether in abstract or in interviews, are not necessarily shared by us. Copyright exclusively with Sarvashrestha Media Pvt. Ltd. All rights reserved throughout the world. Reproduction of any material of this magazine in whole, or in part(s), in any manner, without prior permission, is totally prohibited. The publisher accepts no responsibility for any material lost or damaged in transit. The publisher reserves the right to refuse, withdraw or otherwise deal with any advertisement without explanation. All advertisements must comply with the Indian Advertisements Code. Published and printed by Anil Tyagi on behalf of Sarvashrestha Media Pvt. Ltd at Kala Jyothi Process Pvt Ltd. E-125, Site-B, Surajpur Ind. Area, Gautam Budh Nagar, Greater Noida-201306 U.P. (INDIA). All disputes are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of competent courts in New Delhi only W hat should be the responsibility of an outgoing govern- ment when the Lok Sabha elections are announced? Is the outgoing government correct in undertaking appointments in different departments and ministries? If these appointments are not done, will the government stop functioning? What is the role of the Election Commission (EC) in clearing appointment files, especially those pertaining to the appointment of the Army chief? Has the EC the wherewithal to do this job? It is not just an issue of appointments; the officials being appointed in such haste too come under a shadow. The minute elections are announced, the role of the outgoing government practically reduces to a minimum. It is only in the case of financial emergencies or national security that the outgoing government should take decisions without delay. Otherwise, when a general election is being held and the electorate is vot- ing, then, ethically, the government does not have the right to appoint officers of its preference. It means pre-empting the right of the new elected government. In this regard, it is necessary to debate how the Election Commission takes over the role of governance in the country. The EC’s primary role, under the Representation of People’s Act, is to hold free and fair elections. The criteria for the EC should be to see whether such appointments have an influence on the elections, or whether they are an obstacle to holding free and fair elections. But, tacitly, the EC has acquired new territory—if one becomes king even for a day, then why not enjoy the powers that come with it. None of the appointments by the Manmohan Singh-led UPA II government in the midst of the 2014 elections jeopardise the holding of a free and fair election. Then why did the EC act more loyal than the king—just because nobody can question it till the elections are over. The EC is forgetting that it’s a part of the system which governs the country and that it too is answerable to the people of India for its acts and omissions. The people of India expect it to be non-partisan and unbiased. What will happen if the role of the EC comes under suspicion? That is the peril the outgoing government has to guard against. The strength of Indian democracy should not be allowed to dissipate. The cover story written by ace contributor MG Devasahayam and Associate Editor Neeraj Mahajan, highlights the appointments made in haste by the out- going UPA government. Devasahayam explains how the government appears to be biased in appointing the new Chief of Army Staff. He writes, “In the case of Lt General Dalbir Singh Suhag, the ‘chosen one’, there is lurking suspicion that the obnoxious feudal practice of ‘Line of Succession’ is being pushed to the extreme. Under this practice, a favourite of powerful business lobbies/vested interests is selected well ahead and groomed for top appointments by manipu- lating the ‘seniority’ and timing the promotion of the ‘chosen one’.” I must share with our readers that the gfiles’ story on Siachen (Siachen Handout: Bartering India’s Security?) in our August 2012 issue stands vindicated. We had said then that the Manmohan Singh government planned to withdraw from Siachen but the Army resisted. Veteran Journalist GS Chawla has exposed the gameplan of Manmohan Singh in his story in this issue. He writes, “The Prime Minister, under American pressure for backdoor talks with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, had agreed to withdraw Indian forces from Siachen, giving a major concession to Pakistan.” We hope that the new government will not capitulate to the wishes of the Americans and agree to withdraw from Siachen. ANIL TYAGI From the Editor vol. 8, ISSUE 2 | MAY 2014 Download the gfiles app
  3. 3. CONTENTS www.gfilesindia.com4 gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May 2014 5 Bric-a-Brac polls & roles 8 Cover Story the story behind suhag’s elevation 12 upa on an appointment spree 14 Governance time to focus on human security 17 wish list for 7th pay commission 18 role of civil servants 20 Books controversial memoirs 18 siachen surfaces again 26 Talktime syeda hameed on her days in the planning commission 30 Initiative getting along in the workplace 31 of babus and netas 34 Mandarin Matters tumultuous days in fiji 42 My Corner in the interest of the public 44 Silly Point humour at the hustings 48 Stock Doctor don’t rush into the market 56 Perspective aim at the highest possibility 57 By the Way babus with bated breath LETTERS CONTENTS acquired position / pedestal, a political party and for obvious reasons usually from the opposite camp offers you an opportunity to retain the perks and privileges enjoyed thus far by offering you a ticket to fight an election is perhaps not showing prowess, which is essential in the space of loyalty as understood by many and thus such a step is not justified and must be avoided. I am sure you can make a difference in the lives of people by a commitment and still remain out of politics. Rajiv Williams via blog Ref. Prabhat Kumar’s article (‘Should a civil servant join politics?’ gfiles, April 2014). Being ex-Cab Sec, Kumar will also appreciate that the government's refusal to provide for a cooling off period is essentially the view of babus. The first major reform has to be to stop the practice of civil servants joining positions post-retirement, which affects their independence during their working period. All jobs under the government— regulatory, appellate, etc., must be manned by serving officers. There must be a total ban on joining politics. For private sector jobs, the cooling-off period must be at least two years with no waiver. Maybe then the old glory of civil servants standing up to political bosses will be revived. KJ Singh via blog Civil servants who join politics because of their desire for public service should be welcome. Alas, this is a rare breed! Many join it because of the lure of office. Those who are willing to change parties because such a switch offers another shot at office are nothing but opportunists. They should be shunned by voters. They bring a bad name to the service. There should be a cooling-off period for fresh retirees to prevent unethical compromises during service and rank opportunism thereafter. Narendra Sisodia via blog Civil servants as political masters Ref. the cover story ‘Babu as Neta’ (gfiles, April 2014), in principle, any Indian can join politics. Our civil servants are known to be very corrupt and they are the ones who teach all the tricks to their political masters, so they should be kept away from politics even after retirement. John via blog I agree only partly because I feel strongly that if a government servant or for that matter a service officer enters the political arena, then it should be related to the time of entry. The rationale for my observation is that it is good to facilitate improvement through a commitment and not try to facilitate a process for personal gains. If the species mentioned above want to join politics then he / she should join early in the career when for reasons of justice or commitment you want to move on and make a difference in lives of people. It is perhaps most unjustified to enter politics as a second career, having become a senior officer and close to / on retirement after enjoying the privileges for many years and most obediently accepting the existing system, which controlled your upward growth. Suddenly because of that
  4. 4. gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May 2014 H OW intriguingly someone can turn into a pariah in politics can be gauged by analysing the career graph of the maverick Amar Singh. Once a person who wielded immense power and influence over political leaders, businessmen and Bollywood celebrities, today he is viewed as an untouchable by most parties. Nobody wants to be seen with him. Singh must have obliged top leaders many times when he used to liaise for Shyam Bhartiya and the Birla group, but today nobody is ready to come to his aid. Singh was desperate to join the Congress before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. For this, he contacted the Thakur politicians in the Congress, but no one showed any enthusiasm to help him enter the party. Somehow, Singh’s confidante, Jaya Prada, managed to get an audience with Rahul Gandhi. Sources say that though Rahul was ready to take Jaya Prada into the Congress fold, the plea for Singh’s entry got a big no. To Jaya Prada’s credit, she told Rahul there and then that it would not be possible for her to join the Congress without Singh. Then a solution was arrived at: Singh linked hands with Ajit Singh’s party that has an alliance with the Congress. Clearly, if there’s a will, there’s a way! g OW can Ama influence over today he is vi to be seen wi when he used nobody is rea Congress befo Thakaa ur politic to help him e managed to though Rahu plea for Sing there and th without Sing A Bric-a-bracpolls & roles name of Ajai Rai, his ‘protégé’, to fight against Modi. Rai was earlier an MLA with the BJP. He later moved to the Samajwadi Party (SP) and then to the Congress in 2012. Currently an MLA from Varanasi, Rai was inducted into the Congress at the behest of Digvijaya. But the fact remains that, though Rai is a strong candidate, in stature he is nowhere close to Modi. Though there were many strong leaders in the party, the par- adox is that some of them are more loyal to the biggest business house of India and not to Rahul Gandhi or the Congress. In such a scenario, how can Digvijaya or Sharma fight against Modi when all the three are per- ceived to be close to the same business house? Rahul is aware of this too, but he can’t do a thing. g If there’s a will, there’s a way amar singh resurfaces T HE Congress boasts that it is a 125 -year-old party. But, ironically, the great old party could not find a leader of stature who could contest against Narendra Modi in Varanasi. In fact, the party dilly-dallied on decid- ing on the candidate against Modi for a long time. Though Digvijaya Singh ini- tially put his hat in the ring, he did that with a rider—he said he was ready to fight from Varanasi if the party decided on him. Even Anand Sharma, Minister for Commerce and Industry, who has never ever won even a municipal- ity election, said that he was ready to fight against Modi if the party chose him. When the party still remained unde- cided, Digvijaya recommended the Misplaced loyalties battle for varanasi
  5. 5. www.gfilesindia.com6 gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May 2014 I N S I D E E Y E ILLUSTRATIONS:ARUNA T ILL Priyanka’s limited entry on the election scene, Rahul Gandhi was the only general who fought the battle for the Congress in the Lok Sabha elections. Though the Congress has many leaders—and some of them travelled around the country to campaign too—they were not in demand by the candidates fighting the elections. The reason was that they failed to attract crowds. Their speeches were marked by thin attendance wherever they went to woo voters. To make matters worse, the media just focused on the main players like Modi and Rahul and, to a large extent, ignored the other leaders of any political party. There was yet another reason. A top Congress leader told gfiles that the ruling party always fought elections led by the Prime Minister, the Home Minister, the Defence Minister, and the Finance Minister. Their job in every election was to highlight the achievements of the government. But, in this election, all top leaders are in mute mode. So, how could the Congress make any impact on the ground? g ar were not in elections. The r Their speeches they went to woo just focused on th a large extent party. There leader told elections led the Defence job in every e the governm in mute mo impact on The lone crusader search for crowd-pullers
  6. 6. gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May 2014 Bric-a-bracpolls & roles Taking charge priyanka to the rescue F INALLY, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has arrived. As her brother, Rahul Gandhi, and mother, Sonia Gandhi, campaign across the country, Priyanka has taken charge of the Congress party’s election control room. Though there are many leaders in the planning team, the final nod is always taken from Priyanka. It is learnt that the Congress has roped in a prominent survey agency, which has briefed Priyanka on the winnable seats in the election. Kunwar Jitendra Singh and Suman Dubey, a veteran journalist and an old friend of the Gandhi family, are the core members of Priyanka’s team. In fact, the names of senior leaders who visited different States were also finalised by Priyanka. Her team also planned optimum utilisation of helicopters by installing GPS machines. So don’t be surprised if in the days to come Priyanka takes over as the de-facto boss of the party. g
  7. 7. www.gfilesindia.com8 gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May 2014 COVER STORY army appointments All for SuhagThe UPA government’s efforts to appoint Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag as the new Army Chief are controversial and need to be scrutinised closely army appointments
  8. 8. gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May 2014 by MG DEVASAHAYAM T HE impending appointment of the next Army chief to fill the vacancy arising on July 31, 2014, has raised a raging controversy. As the Ministry of Defence (MoD) commenced the selection process, General VK Singh, former Army chief, and his party, the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), made this an issue, say- ing that with the present UPA govern- ment’s term ending in May, selection and appointment of the next Army chief should be left to the new govern- ment taking over. Those who counter this argument say that the appointment of a new Army chief is a routine administra- tive decision and it should not be politicised. The appointment is neces- sary because a vacancy ‘looms on the horizon’. Seniority is the determining principle and normally the most sen- ior Lieutenant General gets the job. The only grounds for suggesting oth- erwise is if the man appointed is seen as partisan or less than independent. But if he is the most senior, that will not be the case. But in the case of Lt General Dalbir Singh Suhag, the ‘chosen one’, there is a lurking suspicion that the obnoxious feudal practice of ‘Line of Succession’ is being pushed to the extreme. Under this practice, a favourite of powerful business lobbies or vested interests is selected well ahead and alleg- edly groomed for a top appointment by manipulating the ‘seniority’ and timing the promotion of the ‘chosen one’. For this purpose, dereliction of duty, command failures and even any criminal nexus of the ‘chosen one’ are allegedly suppressed and pushed under the carpet. In Suhag’s case it happened not once but twice, and both related to severe abuse of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) when Suhag was commanding III Corps, with Assam, Nagaland and Manipur as the Areas of Responsibility. Directly under Lt General Suhag was the Dimapur-based Intelligence Unit (IU), commanded by one Colonel Govindan Shreekumar. The first incident of abuse came to light in July 2011 when Col Shreekumar’s own second-in-com- mand, Major Takula Ravi Kiran, wrote to the Brigadier General Staff of III Corps, under Lt General Suhag, stating that on March 13, 2010, three Manipuri boys (Phijam Naobi and two others) had been abducted and shot dead by the IU. Despite an FIR and evidence on record, Suhag reportedly refused to act. Even after Major Kiran wrote again, giving lucid details of the cold-blooded triple murder that took place in the unit officers’ mess, Suhag allegedly ignored it and disposed of it with a one-man inquiry! The second incident of abuse was the ‘dacoity’ committed by the same IU in December 2011. An armed party of 15 soldiers, dressed in bat- tle fatigues, under the command of Captain Rubina Kaur Keer, had raid- ed the house of one Poona Gogoi, an army contractor in Jorhat, who was away in Guwahati. All the members of the family—wife (Renu Gogoi) and three children—were manhandled and tied up. On the orders of Captain Keer, soldiers forcibly took the keys of the locked cupboards and took into possession a licensed pistol with 13 cartridges, jewellery worth Rs 6.5 lakh and cash adding up to Rs 1.5 lakh. They also took away an assortment of items, including a laptop and four mobile phones. After Poona Gogoi registered an FIR with the police sta- tion listing the items that had been stolen, III Corps handed back the sto- len pistol, most items and the cash, but not the jewellery and cartridges. Later, Suhag told the police that the issue would be dealt with by Army authorities and that they had no fur- ther jurisdiction in the matter. Both these serious crimes have been committed in an AFSPA- covered area by the IU under Colonel Shreekumar’s command. Though the Colonel denied being part of the raiding party, the police accessed his mobile call records, which clearly established that he was constantly in touch with Captain Keer before and after the raid. Shreekumar had a virtual free hand as he reported directly to Suhag and was reportedly involved in various nefarious activi- ties, including the flow of narcotics and a network involving vehicle thefts in Rangia district of Assam. The Court of Inquiry (CoI) ordered bythethenEasternArmyCommander, Lt General Bikram Singh, was an eyewash and deliberately meant to protect Suhag as was evident from the fact that it was headed only by a brigadier-rank officer. This was premeditated because, being directly responsible for the IU, Suhag should have been the first person to answer for its illegal actions. The CoI was obviously orchestrated, which was evident from the fact that, despite a clinching FIR and evidence, the accused could get away on some technical ground or the other. In the case of Lt General Dalbir Singh Suhag, the ‘chosen one’, there is a lurking suspicion that the obnoxious feudal practice of ‘Line of Succession’ is being pushed to the extreme.
  9. 9. www.gfilesindia.com10 gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May 2014 COVER STORY army appointments D ESPITE this shielding, the for- mer COAS, General VK Singh, besides directing stringent action against the culprits, issued a Show Cause Notice (SCN) on May 19, 2012, to Lt General Suhag and simultaneously placed him under a Discipline and Vigilance (DV) ban. The SCN brought out lapses noticed by the then COAS for not handling a unit, placed under the corps com- mander’s direct command, in a pro- fessional and appropriate manner, and also for not following up on cer- tain other complaints sent earlier through HQ, Eastern Command. Instead of taking notice of these allegations and much against the rules, the MoD appointed Suhag in the acting post of Army Commander from June 1, 2012, even before his reply to the SCN and its detailed pro- cessing on merit. What is worse, as soon as he took over as Army chief, Hatimuta and Havildar Jeevan Neog, who got severe reprimands. This order, issued much after General VK Singh demitted office, fully justified the DV ban imposed on Suhag. Under Section 391 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), dacoity is described as “five or more persons conjointly commit or attempt to commit a rob- bery, or where the whole number of persons conjointly committing or attempting to commit a robbery…” Punishment laid down in Section 395 is life imprisonment or rigorous imprisonment up to 10 years. Section 397 prescribes a minimum punish- ment of seven years. The first case could attract the charge of cold-blooded murder under Section 302, IPC. Letting off the cul- prits with a mere reprimand is a joke. Is this how the draconian AFSPA is being implemented in practice in the most sensitive regions of the country? Suhag and the MoD are respond- ents/accused in three writ petitions— two criminal and one civil—which are pending adjudication. On the dacoity issue, Poona Gogoi moved the Gauhati High Court with a crimi- nal petition demanding action. In The Court of Inquiry ordered in the ‘dacoity’ case in Jorhat by the then Eastern Army Commander, Lt General Bikram Singh, was an eyewash and deliberately meant to protect Suhag as was evident from the fact that it was headed only by a brigadier-rank officer. General Bikram Singh got the DV ban on Suhag lifted in an illegal manner to makehimaregularArmyCommander against the vacancy kept unfilled for over 15 days. The CoI, on its part, led to a court martial which ordered dismissal from service of Havildar Sandeep Thapa. Colonel Shreekumar was given a severe displeasure while Captain Rubina was given a repri- mand along with Havildar Bhupen Former Army Chief VK Singh had placed Lt General Dalbir Singh Suhag under a Discipline and Vigilance ban PIB PIB
  10. 10. gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May 2014 the case of abduction and murder of Phijam Naobi and two others, Phijam Manikumar has filed a criminal peti- tion in the High Court of Manipur. Lt General Ravi Dastane’s civil appeal against Suhag’s promotion despite the DV ban is before the Supreme Court. Despite the disturbing facts nar- rated above, the MoD is bent on the appointment of Suhag as the next Chief of the Army Staff, obviously due to extraneous considerations. The drum-beaters are applauding the move, saying this is in keeping with both technical requirements and established convention—that have no relevance to this case. As for the seniority of Suhag, it is not final since the same has been challenged by Lt General Dastane in the Supreme Court. If the SC rules in his favour, it is he who will be the next Army chief and not Lt General Ashok Singh, a rel- ative of General VK Singh, as is being falsely propagated. It appears that behind the push by the UPA government in its dying days to install Suhag as the next COAS is the powerful arms lobby which has billions of dollars at stake. This has been brought out in Dr Subramanian Swamy’s letter to the President, who has sent it to the Prime Minister for consideration and action. But, obvi- ously, acting under the orders of their powerful masters, the MoD and the UPA spin doctors are at it again, bla- tantly suppressing heinous AFSPA abuse, trivialising facts and spreading lies and canard that cannot stand up to basic scrutiny. F OR these worthies, civil liberty, human life, the nation’s interests and integrity of the Armed Forces are of no value. Serious abuse of AF- SPA and gross dereliction of duty are of no consequence; line of succession of the ‘chosen one’ is all that matters. They are perhaps emboldened by their ‘success’ in consummating this practice by appointing the present Army Chief (General Bikram Singh) against whom an alleged fake en- counter case was pending in the J&K High Court, seeking a Commission of Inquiry. Also, a Court of Inquiry was going on in Meerut over his lapses as Commandant of an Indian Army con- tingent on a peacekeeping mission in the Congo, which was accused of rap- ing local women and siring illicit chil- dren. This was done through sheer skullduggery. Pleas in the Supreme Court against this appointment fell on deaf ears! The court relied on presented by the government and did not make any inquiry. Despite efforts through the RTI Act over the past two years, the MoD and Cabinet Secretari- at are reportedly keeping these papers Being used to committing perjury in a routine manner, the MoD and PMO are already lying through their teeth in the Suhag matter and indulg- ing in manipulation and terror tactics. Lt Gen Dastane’s civil appeal hearing in the Supreme Court was curiously shifted from May 2 to September, rendering his case meaningless. The Jorhat ‘dacoity’ is being brushed aside as being a case of a junior NCO stealing a cellphone. Major Kiran, the whistleblower in the triple mur- der case, is allegedly being coerced to retract his complaint! What a way to make the ‘chosen one’ the Army chief. The question is not whether the Army is being politicised but whether it is being criminalised. The jury is out. g The impending elevation of Lt General Suhag (extreme left) has raised many eyebrows
  11. 11. COVER STORY government appointments www.gfilesindia.com12 gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May 2014 Farewell gift to backroom boys The moment the elections are announced and the code of conduct is in place, governments in power usually desist from taking important policy decisions. This is an age-old tradition based on ethics, morality, propriety and respect for the opponent. But, today, who cares? When you have the Election Commission willing to turn a blind eye to the illegitimate whims of the government, everything goes. Neeraj Mahajan reports A T the fag end of its tenure, the UPA government is setting examples of bad governance and politicising the appointments in various government institutions. Most of these appointments are being seen as a motivated exercise to change the Line of Succession by a government that is unlikely to return to power when the results are announced on May 16. A case in point is the manner in which Lt General Dalbir Singh Suhag has been named as Gen Bikram Singh’s successor. Since the COAS was due to retire in July-end, more than two months after the new gov- ernment takes charge, this decision could have been left to it. Similarly, in unprecedented haste, the government has appointed Admiral RK Dhowan as India’s new Navy chief, superseding Vice-Admiral Shekhar Sinha. Interestingly, com- missioned in 1975, Admiral Dhowan has been Flag-Officer-Commanding, Eastern Fleet and was Chief of Staff (Headquarters), Eastern Naval Command. But, he has never been Flag-Officer-Commanding-in-Chief of any operational naval command. Ironically, Dhowan has been staff officer to Admiral Ramdas, who was made the Chief of Naval Staff, bypass- ing Admiral S Jain. This led to an intense power struggle in the Navy, with Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat alleg- ing high-level corruption. Admiral Bhagwat later rose to be chief, only to be dismissed from service under mysterious circumstances. One fails to understand the urgency now to announce the naval chief when the Navy had been without a chief for almost eight months since the resig- nation of Admiral Devendra Joshi in August, owning moral responsibility for a series of lethal accidents. Justice RM Lodha, at 64 years of age the seniormost judge of the Supreme Court, was sworn in as the 41st Chief Justice of India. Justice Lodha took over from Justice (Retd) P Sathasivam, who demitted office after nine months as the head of the judiciary. In a related development, Justice G Rohini was appointed the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court—she is the first woman Chief Justice of the court. Similarly, eyebrows were raised when the government decided to appoint Archana Ramasundaram, IPS, Tamil Nadu cadre, as the CBI’s Additional Director besides clear- ing the appointment of one Deputy Inspector General (DIG) and five Superintendents of Police (SPs), less than a month before the formation of a new government. The post has been vacant for a few months now. Archana Ramasundaram, who has been appointed CBI Additional Director
  12. 12. gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May 2014 What was the urgency to appoint DK Pathak, IPS, as the new Director General of the Border Security Force when the post was lying vacant since Subhash Joshi retired on February 28? Significantly, the Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC), not once but twice, suggested West Bengal cadre IPS officer RK Pachnanda’s name for the CBI Additional Director’s post. But the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, was reportedly in favour of Ramasundaram. In a typical bureaucratic game of musical chairs, Pachnanda, who was found unfit to be appointed as Additional Director of the CBI, was posted as the Additional Director General (Operations and Works) in the Central Reserve Police Force, the country’s largest paramilitary force. “A man who has been the Calcutta Police Commissioner, if his track record was suspect, then why was he given charge of anti-Naxal opera- tions, counter-insurgency tasks and other law and order duties?” a Home Ministry official asked. M EANWHILE, another attempt to appoint a Special Director in the CBI failed at the last minute. Odisha DGP Prakash Mishra, Kerala DGP KS Balasubramaniam and BPR&D chief Rajan Gupta were considered for the Special Director post by a committee headed by CVC Pradeep Kumar. At present, Anil Sinha is the only Special Director in the CBI. It is one of the posts lying vacant since December after K Salim Ali’s retirement. Among the three, Mishra has the longest ten- ure ahead—till February 2016—and, if The government appointed Admiral RK Dhowan as India’s new Navy chief, superseding Vice-Admiral Shekhar Sinha chosen, may go on to be CBI Director. So, why should the post of CBI Special Director be filled barely 22 days ahead of the Lok Sabha results? Similarly, what was the urgency to appoint DK Pathak, IPS, as the new Director General of the BSF when the post was lying vacant since Subhash Joshi retired on February 28, 2014? Further, Rajiv Takru, a 1979-batch officer of the Gujarat cadre, has been appointed the Revenue Secretary and Gurdial Singh Sandhu, a 1980-batch officer of the Rajasthan cadre, the Secretary, Department of Financial Services. Also, the 1978-batch Arvind Mayaram, Economic Affairs Secretary,hasbeenappointedthenew Finance Secretary, a post lying vacant since Sumit Bose retired on March 31, 2014. Likewise, the retired Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne has been cleared to take over as the next ambassador of India to Norway. g
  13. 13. GOVERNANCE development mg devasahayam gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May 201414 Human security is much more than national security. Only when its four vital elements— material sufficiency, human dignity, democracy and participatory governance—coalesce can there be true development Human security is true ‘development’ there are hardly any job or income opportunities for the poor. Bereft of ‘human security’, they fall back on the freebies and charity handed down by the State government. To propitiate such ‘development’, the Central and State governments extend massive concessions and facilities to these MNCs who, in turn, pay fabulous salaries to their expatri- ate managers and are earning profits in billions, most of which is repatri- ated to their home countries. This is ‘neo-liberal’ development at work! This is also true, perhaps in a larger measure, of Gurgaon, adjoining Delhi, that has morphed into a ‘mon- strous city’. At the height of the glo- balisation rampage, the late Caroline S RIPERUMBUDUR Parliamen- tary constituency, adjoining Chennai in Tamil Nadu, is a ‘developed’ one if the neo-liberal ‘development’ criteria are adopted. This is the home of some state-of-the -art ‘infrastructure’ projects, special economic zones and giant MNCs— Motorola, Samsung, Dell, Ford, Hyundai, BMW, Nokia, Saint Gobain, Nissan, Caterpillar, to mention a few. But, as pre-election surveys show, the locals are left wondering as to what the ‘development’ is all about! For them the roads are bad, bus services are poor, power cuts are frequent, the environment has sharply degraded, water sources are drying up and pol- lution is increasing. What is worse,
  14. 14. 15gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May Thomas, Professor of Global Politics at the University of Southampton, wrote a book Global Governance, Development and Human Security (Pluto Press, 2000). It was well before the warped concepts, ideologies and methodologies that dominated Liberalisation, Privatisation and Globalisation (LPG) made an unre- lenting onslaught on the Indian econ- omy due to the predatory policies and practices unleashed by UPA II, sup- posedly under an ‘economist’ Prime Minister. These policies, perceived mostly in a macro and material con- text, are related to structural reforms, allocation of natural resources, big- ticket projects, foreign investment, GDP growth and world trade. Poverty alleviation is expected to take place as a ‘trickle down’ effect. The book dealt with the “growing inequality and widespread poverty that characterises the era of ‘neo- liberal’ development” and “uneven distribution of the benefits of the globalisation process, and the gen- eral failure of that process to attend to the human security of the majority of humanity.” The UPA triumvirate of Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan and P Chidambaram had no use for this book or what is written in it. In the event, by their LPG policies, they cre- ated an India of “growing inequality, widespread poverty, galloping prices and increasing unemployment.” At the hustings they are going to pay for it very dearly. At the global level, the UNDP Report, 1997, describes the “uneven distribution of the benefits of the globalisation process”. It depicts a global society bereft of conscience or concern for human suffering. While one-third of the human race was reeling in poverty and penury, a microscopic minority of the global population wallowed in opulent wealth and splendour. Subsequently thingsgotworseas‘globalgovernance’ tightened its grip on hapless Third World nations. In an inhuman system, where over one-third of the world’s population does not have a secure life, harping merely on ‘GDP growth’ and ‘unrestricted world trade’ as the central theme of LPG is indeed perverse and blinkered. This is precisely what happened in India in the past 10 years, resulting in nearly two-thirds of the population living in poverty and penury. W ITH a new government coming in, there is a need for a realistic and holistic approach to evaluate the LPG regime of ‘development’ and the system of governance that went with it, and pro- vide a talisman that could measure its effectiveness. ‘Human security’ could be the talisman with individual digni- ty and poverty reductions as the core theme. The ‘human security’ talis- man makes a fine distinction between ‘income poverty’ and ‘human pov- erty’. The neo-liberal reforms under the LPG regime seek to address only the ‘income poverty’ while virtu- ally ignoring ‘human poverty’. This is what has led to the skewed, unsus- tainable ‘development’ that has taken place in India. ‘Human security’ is much more than ‘material growth and sufficiency’ (income security) and is described as “a condition of existence in which basic material needs are met and in which human dignity, includ- ing meaningful participation in the life of the community, can be met”. While material sufficiency lies at the core of human security, the con- cept also encompasses non-material dimensions to form a qualitative whole. Human security is oriented towards an active and substantive notion of democracy, and is directly engaged with discussions of democ- racy at all levels, from the local to the global.Thisisfreshandpositivethink- ing, harnessing four vital elements— material sufficiency, human dignity, democracy and participatory govern- ance—that constitute the core of a civ- ilised society. One without the other is incomplete and unsustainable. In the Indian context, a fifth dimension could be added. While the economy is expanding and getting globalised, politics is shrinking and descending from national, regional and state levels to communal/caste/ tribal outfits, causing tensions and conflicts that never existed before. This phenomenon is taking place primarily because of a growing While glitzy shopping malls (left) are perceived as a sign of 'development' by policy- makers, people continue to suffer from inefficient civil works like bad roads (above)
  15. 15. GOVERNANCE development mg devasahayam gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May 201416 perception that global and national governance, as being practised today, does not provide adequate human dignity, identity and security. I T is time human security replaced threat-centred security, which is the obsession of all countries. This makes sense because for most people today, a feeling of insecurity arises more from worries about daily life, rather than from the dread of war or any cataclysmic event. Job secu- rity, income security, health security, environmental security, security from crime, safety for women–these are the concerns of human security. The LPG/neo-liberal model of development will never be able to achieve such security because by nature it is exploitative, with its very roots in crony capitalism—an econo- my that is nominally a free market but works on preferential regulation and other favourable government inter- vention, based on money power and personal relationships. This is what has been in practice in India ever since the LPG era of the early 1990s. The blatant manifestation of this crony capitalism was described by former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi while delivering the 15th DP Kohli Memorial Lecture at the CBI’s year-long golden jubilee celebrations: “Corporate greed has crossed all bounds.... We used to talk of black money as a parallel economy and so it continues to be. But Reliance is a parallel state. I do not know of any country where one single firm exer- cises such power so brazenly, over the natural resources, financial resources, professional resources and, ultimate- ly, over human resources, as the com- pany of the Ambanis. From Ambedkar who spoke of economic democracy, to Ambani, who represents a techno- commercial monopoly of unprece- chart a distinct course in economic development. India would pursue need-based, human-scale, balanced development while conserving nature and livelihoods. In a self-respecting nation every citizen should get the strength, resource and opportunity to stand on his/her feet and earn his/ her livelihood with honour and digni- ty instead of endlessly depending on corporate trickle-downs and govern- ment freebies and charity. God-given resources—land, water, jungle and minerals—belong to the people and these must be managed as such. Only then will there be human security. The election manifestos unveiled by the political parties come nowhere near this ‘idea’. The Congress party talks of ‘internal security’, ‘law and order’ and ‘modernising the police’. It also talks of ‘securing from external threats’ and modernisation of Armed Forces with imported weapons. The BJP, in addition, talks of ‘food security’ and ‘energy security’. There is hardly any holistic approach. However, General VK Singh, former Chief of Army Staff who joined the BJP and contested the Parliamentary elections, came nearer to the ‘idea’ when he said in an inter- view to “If you look at national security, it is not just external challenges. National security is exter- nal, internal, environmental, econom- ic – anything that affects the health of the nation is national security.” Human security is much more than national security. Only when its four vital elements—material suf- ficiency, human dignity, democracy and participatory governance—coa- lesce can there be true ‘development’ that would spread prosperity across the board! Will such an era ever dawn on India? g The writer is a former Army and IAS officer. Email: The LPG policies of the UPA triumvirate of Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and P Chidambaram have created an India of 'growing inequality, widespread poverty, galloping prices and increasing unemployment.' UNI dented scale, is a far cry indeed.” This is the kind of ‘parallel state’ that has facilitated one person to live in a `5,000-crore mansion in Mumbai with all the security money can buy while millions sleep on pavements and in abandoned pipes, deprived of even basic safety and dignity. Substituting Ambani with Adani is not the solution. India needs to go back to the basics–the economic idea of India envisaged by the Founding Fathers of our Republic. In this ‘idea’, development of independent India would be sui generis, a society unlike any other, in a class of its own that would not follow the Western pattern of mega industrialisation, urbanisa- tion and individuation. India’s would be a people’s economy that would
  16. 16. 17gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May by MG DEVASAHAYAM I read this news in The Hindu on the morning of April 14, 2014 under wish-list for pay panel’ and a strapline saying, ‘Comprehensive and united representation of demands planned.’ The news story went like this: When the country is in the midst of electing a new government, the exec- utive is busy drafting its wish-list for the Seventh Pay Commission. As per a recent resolution, the Cen- tral Indian Administrative Service present a comprehensive and united representation of its demands before the Seventh Pay Commission, the set- ting up of which was announced by the government last month. The association has asked the Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Uttar proposals for pay revision. Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan Associations have been allocated the job of drafting various including security, transportation or and attendant allowances. Dearness, travel and other allowances like entertainment and perks will be looked into by the Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu associations The Sixth Pay Commission, while giving a huge pay hike to the IAS, tried to focus on good governance and sprucing up the bureaucracy to provide cutting-edge administration. It adopted the maritime mantra— ‘shape up or ship out’—to send a clear message. IAS officers sans conscience? education, housing, vehicles and gadgets have been entrusted to the Gujarat, Rajasthan and Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre. Health insurance and risk cover- age and health facilities will be dealt Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Ma- harashtra, AGMUT and Haryana. Government residential quarters and housing schemes for members will be studied and proposals sub- of the Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh cadre. I knew the IAS has been on the de- cline for the past several years, yet I thought it continued to be a service with some dignity and conscience. I never thought the service as a whole would descend into being a pack of mendicants seeking noth- ing except pay, perks, dearness, travel, other allowances, attendants, security, car, education for children, housing schemes, healthcare, insur- ance and risk coverage, entertain- ment and what not from the Seventh Pay Commission. The Sixth Pay Commission, while giving a huge pay hike to the IAS, tried to focus on good governance and sprucing up the bureaucracy to provide cutting-edge administration. For this, the Commission adopted the maritime mantra—‘shape up or ship out’—to send a clear message. The Fifth Pay Commission also at- tempted something similar, though without any success. The result was that while tax-payers’ money is be- ing drained, there has been neither downsizing nor improved productiv- ity. On the contrary, the bureaucracy subsuming a myriad of commissions and regulatory bodies! Governance has collapsed and corruption has as- sumed humungous proportions – all under the nose of IAS mandarins. And will do is to recollect the talisman of Mahatma Gandhi and tell the manda- rins that the ‘elite service’ they belong to is rooted in the ethos of this talis- man: “Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the human being whom you may have seen, and ask yourself if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him (her). Will he (she) gain anything by it? Will it re- store him (her) control over his (her) own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj (freedom) for the hungry and spiritually starving mil- and your self melt away.” Lest you forget! g While governance has collapsed and corruption has increased, the IAS mandarins have come out with a wish list instead of addressing these issues GOVERNANCE 7th pay commission wish list
  17. 17. GOVERNANCE bureaucracy ashwani lohani www.gfilesindia.com18 gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May 2014 The turncoat bureaucrat Bureaucrats have failed to play the role assigned to them in the task of nation- building. Instead, they seem more concerned with enjoying the fruits of power T HE imminent change of guard at Raisina Hill will once again wit- ness the emergence of turncoat bureaucrats, this time in large num- bers due to their long association with almost a decade of single- coalition governance at the Centre. Misrule or otherwise, the penchant of the Indian bureaucrat to disassociate himself from the previous government and actively associate with the next, even at the cost of being termed a turncoat, is perhaps beyond compare. Bureaucrats are expected to be non-political and, therefore, meant to guide and obey the diktats of their elected political masters. Yet, many of them emerge as bigger and wily politicians in their perpetual efforts to have a good time, almost always. Good times they invariably have, albeit at the cost of the nation and the hapless populace. Bureaucrats also have another major role to play—that of keeping the nation in the throes of poverty and backwardness, for it is only in a developing nation like ours that the bureaucrat is the most impor- tant and the most powerful of the various clans that constitute a nation. Strutting like a master in developing and backward nations, the bureaucrat in the developed countries is almost always an invisible commodity where the bureaucracy is way down in the choice of professions as opposed to our own, where being a collector or a superintendent of police is the height of ambition of the middle and lower classes. Ambition for what? Serving the nation. Unbelievable. Ambition is for flaunting power over the heads of those he is expected to serve, totally oblivious of the role that a servant—after all, bureaucrats are government servants—is expected to perform. Besides, in the past few decades, the tremendous opportunity for garnering ill-gotten wealth that a bureaucratic role offers, has also added to the charm of being a part of the elite. In the process, the true role of those who were once regarded as the steel frame has been lost sight of. While the politicaldispensationisexpectedtobe temporary, the bureaucracy, that had permanence of job, was expected to provide stability and guidance to suc- cessive governments. Unfortunately, the servants, in connivance or on their own, have become almost as powerful as the masters themselves without sharing the responsibility that generally comes with power. The most dangerous fallout of this non-adherence to the avowed role is the rapidly mushrooming cloud of corruption that has encompassed almosttheentiregamutofmachineries meant to govern at federal, State and local levels. Graft has become an essential ingredient of almost all sarkari decisions and contracts, to the extent that it is rare to come across even a single act of government that is straight and devoid of the customary manipulations. Yet, the blame for the ills is invari- ably laid at the altar of the politician, regardless of the fact that without a bureaucratic nod or misrepresenta- tion of facts, it is almost impossible for the neta to move ahead on the short- cut to prosperity. The social pressure for acquiring materialistic gains bears hard on the bureaucrat, who does not lose any substantial period of time in picking up the ropes. Sometimes— only sometimes—it is also a case of lack of will or spine to be able to say “no”, rather than direct indulgence in money-making on the part of the bureaucrat, who finds himself in the soup without partaking of the loot. But even then, it is only the bureaucrat to blame. It is time that nation-building through adept governance and devel- opment is realised as the only role of those who are in the business of governance. The primary issue in achieving the same would be the mas- sive course correction that would be needed, keeping in view the misdi- rected take-offs attempted since the midnight tryst with destiny. Yet, in God and providence we trust! India shall once again rise and achieve its destined glory. g The most dangerous fallout of this non-adherence to the avowed role is the rapidly mushrooming cloud of corruption that has encompassed almost the entire gamut of machineries meant to govern at federal, State and local levels.
  18. 18. gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May 2014 POLITICS BJP:OVER TO RAJNATH p38 Years
  19. 19. BOOKS controversy memoirs www.gfilesindia.com20 gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May 2014 Tell-all books shake the edifice The recent spate of books by former bureaucrats has raised a lot of heat and the debate is again on whether writing such books is ethical or not by NEERAJ MAHAJAN A few years back Vajai Vardhan, Principal Secretary and Financial Commissioner of Haryana, released Ibadat—the breath of my soul, a collection of 120 haikus, or short poems. His earlier book, Beyond the Great Beyond was based on research on Sufi poets in Lucknow. Close on his heels, Haryana’s chief electoral officer, Sumita Misra, came up with A Light of Life, a compilation of poems. Within a few months, another bureaucrat, Vivek Atray, released Move on Bunny, a comic fiction on the life of a Punjabi boy. In other words, it is fairly common for bureaucrats to write books. The system permits them to express them- selves creatively, but within limits, as long as they write pleasant things in the fictional domain. But the moment they try to transcend from fiction to reality, all hell breaks loose and motives are cast about on why they are saying things they should not be. These issues are again in focus with the recent release of a spate of books by former Cabinet Secretary TSR Subramanian, the PM’s Media Adviser, Sanjaya Baru, Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi, former Coal Secretary PC Parakh and RAW officer RK Yadav. Three things need to be considered concerning these books—the timing of the book release, information revealed and the impact. The most controversial of the lot, Baru’s The Accidental Prime Minister—The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh, coming at a time when the elections are on, depicts Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a powerless political puppet in office, but “not in power”. According to Baru, on many occasions, instead of calling the shots as the boss, Singh was forced to toe the party line and nobody in the cabinet felt obliged to him for his position, rank or portfolio. “He was himself incorruptible, and also ensured that no one in his immediate family ever did anything wrong, but he did not feel answer- able for the misdemeanors of his colleagues and subordinates. In this instance, he felt even less because he was not the political authority that had appointed them to these min- isterial positions. In practice, this meant that he turned a blind eye to the misdeeds of his ministers. He expected the Congress party leader- ship to deal with the black sheep in his government, just as he expected the allies to deal with their black sheep. While his conscience was always clear with respect to his own conduct, he believed everyone had to deal with
  20. 20. gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May 2014 It is fairly common for bureaucrats to write books. But the moment they try to transcend from fiction to reality, all hell breaks loose and motives are cast their own conscience,” Baru writes. Another significant revelation made by Baru is that Singh had vir- tually no control over his cabinet and senior bureaucrats would seek instructions on the important files directly from Sonia Gandhi instead of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). “Dr Singh was clearly the exception to that rule. He not only resisted the temptation to spy on his colleagues, but gave up even the opportunity to be offered such information by declining to take a daily briefing from the intelligence chiefs. He was the first Prime Minister not to do so. The chiefs of both the IB and the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) were told to report to the NSA instead. I didn’t think the intel- ligence chiefs would deliver their best if they reported to an intermediary instead of the Prime Minister him- self, and repeatedly implored him to take a direct daily briefing from them. Every now and then he would, but the NSA became their effective boss in the UPA PMO,” Baru says in the book. Without taking away any credit from Baru’s book, one could say that most of the things mentioned in it were part of gossip in political cir- cles for long. But this is the first time someone close to the Prime Minister has attested to and corroborated it. Another revelation that the book makes is that despite corruption scandals and the economic slowdown, Singh was allowed to continue and the UPA-II government never considered retiring him because of repeated failures of party vice- president Rahul Gandhi. According to Baru, Singh’s biggest drawback was that he did not have a political base of his own when he was picked up by PV Narasimha Rao in the 1990s. Even during the 10 years in office as PM, he never built one. His “biggest mistake” was not to fight the Lok Sabha elections in 2009. If he had become a political head, the UPA-II would have been stronger, Baru sug- gests. “If I were Manmohan Singh, I would tell myself looking into my bathroom mirror that I am 81-years- old. I must own it now,” says Baru. T HE Congress spokesperson dismissed Baru’s book as “cheap fiction” and dubbed him “an out of job, disgruntled turncoat”. Even the PMO issued a strong statement saying, “It is an attempt to misuse a privileged position and access to high office to gain credibility and to apparently exploit it for commercial gain. The commentary smacks of fiction and coloured views of a former adviser.” Baru’s book enraged Singh’s eldest daughter, Upinder Singh, a professor of history, so much that she described it as “nothing but a stab in the back…a huge betrayal of trust” and a “mischievous, unethical” exercise. She alleged that Baru nursed a deep sense of resentment for not being re-inducted into the Prime Minister’s Office in 2009. Another book, by former coal sec- retary Parakh, corroborates the fact that Singh had little authority over his government and cabinet. In his book, Crusader or Conspirator— Coalgate and other Truths, Parakh categorically states that the coal scan- dal could have been avoided if there was an open auction of coal blocks. According to him, the PMO had ini- tially approved his proposal for open bidding of coal blocks in 2004, but reversed it later because of resistance from coal ministers in his cabinet. “Pressures come in the form of enticements, such as post-retire- ment assignments, partnership in business, bribery, blackmail or pure intimidation. Pressures also come from friends and relations,” Parakh wrote in the book. The book contains several shocking disclosures about corporate entities and ministers attempting to scuttle open auction of coal blocks. It may be recalled how
  21. 21. BOOKS controversy memoirs www.gfilesindia.com22 gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May 2014 both the 2G spectrum and coal alloca- tion scams dented Singh’s reputation. Another revelation Parekh makes is how Mamata Banerjee, the then Coal Minister, forced Coal India Limited Chairman MD Sashikumar to hire 50 of her party workers as trainees. Accordingly, they were clandestinely appointed as security guards in gov- ernment service and appointed in the North Eastern coalfield without any notification or interview. No wonder their services were terminated within four months once Didi left the minis- try. Likewise, Mamata tried to pres- sure the Coal India Board to lay the foundation of a super-specialty hospi- tal in Kolkata, whereas the board was of the opinion that the hospital should be in Jharkhand where 50 per cent of its workers come from. I N an attempt to document the deteriorating relationship between civil servants and the political executive, Parakh details how difficult it has become for bureaucrats to take fair decisions. The main problem, according to him, is that the quality of civil servants as well as the political executive has deteriorated. Likewise, former Cabinet Secretary Subramanian’s book, India at Turning Point: The Road to Good Governance, dwells on the turf war between the bureaucracy and its political masters on governance issues. In his no-holds-barred nar- rative style, Subramanian tries to unravel the cobwebs in the polity. Instead of focusing on the bureau- cracy or politicians, the book looks at why, 70 years after Independence, we have not been able to reach out and provide education and work to the poorest population. In his book, An Undocumented Wonder: The Making of the Great Indian Election, the 17th Chief Election Commissioner of India, Dr SY Quraishi, tries to satisfy readers’ curiosity through a first-per- son account of recent electoral history and the challenges encountered. Similarly, Mission RAW, by RK Yadav, who left the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW) after 16 years of service in 1989, sheds light on the intrigue and deceit behind the veil shrouding India’s external intelligence agency. Yadav, who was close to R&AW founder-director RN Kao, and his successor K Sankaran Nair, highlights little-known facts about the functioning of R&AW. The books have provided ammu- nition to the BJP which is trying to make political capital of the situation. The party has raised the issue not only in rallies but also attacked Sonia for belittling the constitutional office of the Prime Minister. “These books have raised serious questions about the way this govern- ment functioned and set its priorities. It clearly shows the Prime Minister was not in control and this leads us to ask questions from Sonia Gandhi. The first family cannot run away from giving the answers,” said BJP spokes- person Nirmala Sitharaman. Clearly, it’s time to ask whether breach of trust, faith, confidence, eth- ics and morality have a role to play in the matrix of power. Also, does it mean that till the point a person is keeping quiet despite knowing vari- ous things, it is okay but the moment he writes a tell-all book people have the right to paint him as a dubious character or an agent sponsored by political enemies? g Without taking away any credit from Baru’s book, one could say that most of the things mentioned in it were part of gossip in political circles for long. But this is the first time someone close to the Prime Minister has attested and corroborated it The books by PC Parakh (left) and Sanjaya Baru (above) have stirred a hornets’ nest
  22. 22. gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May 2014 Was Siachen to be handed over to the Americans? by GS CHAWLA P RIME Minister Manmohan Singh’s former Media Adviser Sanjaya Baru’s book, The Accidental Prime Minister— The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh, has created a lot of controversies, not only about the timing of the release of the book but also certain important facts. When Baru was with Singh, he did enjoy the confidence of the Prime Minister. But he was known as a loudmouth, who used to make derogatory remarks about journalists and politicians whom he did not like. While talking to some journalists and other friends, he did not spare even the Congress President. This reached 10 Janpath, which later blocked his entry into the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and Harish Khare, a nominee of Ahmad Patel and Jairam Ramesh, replaced Baru in the PMO. What Baru has written in his book about Siachen is absolutely incorrect. This shows that many other things which he has written might also be factually wrong. I know about the developments on the Siachen issue as I was writing, almost on a daily basis, on this issue–about the senti- ments of the Army top brass and how Arjun Singh (left), the man who saved Siachen; Pranab Mukherjee (right) was initially opposed to withdrawal of troops from Siachen
  23. 23. BOOKS controversy memoirs www.gfilesindia.com24 gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May 2014 they were resentful about the move to withdraw from Siachen. The for- mer Indian ambassador to Pakistan, G Parthasarthy, used to discuss this issue with me every morning and he was fully aware of the role played by ArjunSinghandAKAntonyinthemat- ter. In fact, many top army command- ers were in touch with Parthasarthy and were conveying their resentment on the move to vacate Siachen. People are not aware, not even the political leadership, that if Arjun Singh had not moved fast, Indian forces would have withdrawn from Siachen much before the Lok Sabha polls in 2009. The Prime Minister, under American pressure for back- door talks with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, had agreed to withdraw Indian forces from Siachen, giving a major concession to Pakistan. M ANMOHAN Singh had announced that he wanted to seeSiachenasazoneofpeace. Hewaspreparingthegroundtovacate the area and allow Americans to set up an important research centre there. It would have provided Americans a foothold in the Siachen region for the first time. Singh and Musharraf had almost agreed on this settle- ment. Manmohan was to announce a date for his visit to Pakistan when an agreement between the two countries would have been signed. The Indian Army was anguished over this and was repeatedly pleading with the government not to enter into any such agreement as this would enable the Pakistani Army to re-capture the area and the strategic peaks. The Indian Army then would not be able to evict the Pakistani Army. Some years earlier, Musharraf, as a Brigadier of the Pakistan Army, had launched two attacks to push the Indian Army back from Siachen. But both the attacks were repulsed by Indian forces. Pranab Mukherjee, before being shifted to the External Affairs Ministry, was, as Defence Minister, opposed to the withdrawal. But when Manmohan promised to persuade Congress president Sonia Gandhi to promote him as Deputy Prime Minister, he also fell in line. When Antony took over as Defence Minister, Arjun Singh invited him for a cup of tea and pleaded with him to listen to the point of view of the Army Commanders in Siachen in the national interest and convey their views to the authority that mattered (Sonia). Antony did exactly that. At the next core group meeting of the Congress, there was a one-to-one 45-minute meeting between Sonia and Manmohan. Usually, such meet- ings used to be only for eight to 10 minutes. When both came out of the room, the rest of the Congress leaders were watching their body language. It was obvious to them that Antony’s briefing of the Congress president had had the desired effect. At the meeting, it was decided that Manmohan would not make any statement on Siachen and instead Pranab would announce that since Pakistan was not prepared to sign the maps depicting the positions the two forces were occupying. India was not prepared to agree to any withdrawal. Thus Arjun Singh achieved his goal, though indirectly, through Antony. This was his greatest contribution. Otherwise, Manmohan would have fulfilledhisdesiretovisitPakistanand his home village and signed an agree- ment with Musharraf on Siachen. g When Antony took over as Defence Minister, Arjun Singh invited him for a cup of tea and pleaded with him to listen to the point of view of the Army Commanders. Manmohan Singh was ready to sign an agreement with Pakistan on Siachen
  24. 24. gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May 2014
  25. 25. TALKTIME Syeda Saiyidain Hameed www.gfilesindia.com26 gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May 2014 ‘We have introduced a gender lens in all sectors’ gfiles: What has been left undone? Syeda Hameed: I will begin on a positive note of what has been done. Our chapter in the Twelfth Plan which is called Women’s Agency and Child Rights has been universally acclaimed as an outstanding chapter. We have come a long way since it used to be called Women and Children Welfare or Empowerment and Development. gfiles: What is the qualitative difference? SH: The difference is that women are agents of their own change. So you give responsibility in the hands of women. Children are not recipi- PHOTOS: RAJEEV TYAGI Dr Syeda Saiyidain Hameed figures in Sanjaya Baru’s controversial book The Accidental Prime Minister. Baru, who has kicked up a political storm as an author, mentions Dr Hameed as someone who pipped Anu Aga, Chairperson of Thermax, as Member, Planning Commission. The Prime Minister had asked Baru to sound Aga but a last-minute change saw Hameed in and Aga out. Hameed also raked up controversy when she performed a nikah, a Muslim marriage, in Lucknow. This was the first by a woman. A nikah is usually contracted by a Qazi. In the Planning Commission, where Dr Hameed spent 10 eventful years, she focused on gender, minorities and health. On the eve of demitting office, she spoke to gfiles on the tasks done and those she leaves unfinished. Excerpts from an exclusive interview with Kumkum Chadha: syeda saiyidain hameed TALKTIME
  26. 26. gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May 2014 ents of development but they have rights. More important, we have placed nutrition higher on the agenda. Women and children bear the brunt of malnutrition. Also, we have developed a matrix where women and children are multi-sectoral. They are there in every sector, be it transport, energy, environment. Women’s concerns have to be addressed in every sector vis-a- vis policy and resources. This assigns responsibility to 33 departments of government to take their share of the loadofwomenandchildren.Thisisthe plan the whole country has signed: a multi-sectoral development of women and children. If civil society wakes up to this, it will hold the respective State governments accountable irrespec- tive of parties. The tragedy is, every- one signs and it ends there. Then it is business as usual. We have a very forward-looking plan and there is a great responsibility on this country to ensurethatgenderandchildrendonot get the customary treatment of gender budgeting or 33 per cent but actually are mainstreamed in a strategic man- ner to which everyone has consented. gfiles: This is precisely the problem. The path which has been laid out is actually untravelled and untrodden. Thereisagapbetweentheory,thewrit- ten word and action on the ground. So, isn’t it, in a sense, defeatist? SH: You are right. It is defeatist. Therefore, if the State governments have committed, they must honour it. gfiles: My sense is that the State gov- ernments do not even read what they have signed. SH: Maybe because there are a lot of commitments. If the officers read what the politicians sign, they would probably advise them to have a rethink. So it is a self-perpetuating prophecy of no action on the ground. The way forward is that a vigilant pub- lic ensures that the commitments that are made are honoured both in terms of policy and resources. Nobody takes the planning exercise very seriously. gfiles: Haven’t the government and the States failed to translate policy intoactionand,moreimportant,with- out accountability? They sign because they want to be politically correct and not ignore gender. They don’t sign because they are committed. SH: Another irony is that this particular meeting of the National Development Council (NDC) happened within days of Nirbhaya, so every State Chief Minister and the Prime Minister only spoke about ensuring zero tolerance for violence against women. So it was an NDC to do with gender and that was the NDC that signed this plan. But that is where it ended. The amount of commitment there was should have reflected in the nitty-gritty that was being played out in that meeting. gfiles: Don’t you feel that these 10 years you have put in have been a no-show? SH: It is certainly not commensurate with the work we have put in but it has moved forward. One, we will never go back to women and children development again. The fact is women are now regarded as agents; we will never go back to looking at the plan without a gender lens; we have introduced a gender lens in all the sectors. No government worth its name will be able to make a plan without looking at every sector through the gender lens. Of course, there are lapses. A basic flaw is that the Ministry of Women and Child Development is not very high-profile. Why should it not have Cabinet status? Why should the per- son responsible for the destiny of women and children not have Cabinet status? When we say that women’s concerns should be mainstreamed, why should that person not be part of the entire decision-making? This is a basic flaw. What we need is a concep- tual change. Then, why 33 per cent? Are you 33 per cent of the population or, with children, are you 65 per cent? Then there is a little bit of shortchang- ing also. You bill something as gender but when you deconstruct it, you do it for both. If you are making a road, you say it is for both, but when a woman walks a road there have to be toilets, lights and, therefore, you have to be sensitive to her needs. gfiles: Yet zero results? SH: It has not been as fast as it should have been. It is a slow machine and has not gathered speed. The Nirbhaya fund is with the Ministry of Home Affairs: it could have been in the Ministry of Women and Child Development. gfiles: So actually, nothing has changed? SH: Things have changed. There is a lot more awareness, violence against women is now a global issue. Ten years ago, you could not raise the issue of women and children before ‘There is a lot more awareness and violence against women is now a global issue. Ten years ago, you could not raise the issue of women and children before some Chief Ministers because they were marginal issues.’
  27. 27. TALKTIME Syeda Saiyidain Hameed www.gfilesindia.com28 gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May 2014 some Chief Ministers because they were marginal issues. But in later years these were raised and were responded to. Joh bachchon ki baat kabhi hoti nahin thi, woh hone lagi. Also, we could seek accountability and we were able to name and shame the States. That is a change, and progress. There is a forward movement but I feel it should have been much more and faster. gfiles: What actually changed? SH: What has changed is that women, children and nutrition have become big issues and are more upfront. Earlier, nutrition was never mentioned. Now we hammer it. gfiles: You are the only woman member of the Planning Commission. It must be tough? SH: Gradually, my male colleagues became aware and once issues were raised, they supported them. I would say that in the next Planning Commission, if there are 10 members at least five should be women. I have been the only woman for 10 years and I think this must change. gfiles: There is no provision. It is government-dependent. SH: There is no provision but there should be. The pressure has to come. Maybe it will change. gfiles: Don’t you think that accounta- bility and penal action must be woven in if State governments do not trans- late commitments into action? SH: I think we need punitive powers; if States are not performing, you cut the budget. Right now, the Planning Commission has very little power. When I started out, I said why can’t we cut the budgets and everyone laughed and said there is a Gadgil formula, and you work according to that. gfiles: Has there been any concerted effort to work towards that? SH: Individual voices maybe, but institutionally, no. There is a counter argument that we, in any case, give little money, the rest the States generate. Phir thora paisa hi kam kar do. That also we cannot do. gfiles: Isn’t this a failure of policy and government? SH: It is. The Prime Minister says the Planning Commission is an essay in persuasion. But there is no end to persuasion. States have become very strong now. gfiles: States have become strong because the Centre is weak… SH: The world is moving towards federalism. The smaller States need money but the big States are strong, so what can you do with them? gfiles:DrSingh’spolicyofpersuasion has failed. As against that, will Modi’s policy of cracking the whip work? SH: Not necessarily. Federalism and identity politics are very strong and cracking the whip will never work. gfiles: What will work then? SH: Persuasion may still prevail. It is a slow process and does work. We need speed. By cracking the whip you will alienate everyone. So persuasion with a name and shame. I used to suggest that Parliament mein bahut bara map ho jahan constituency by constituency be earmarked where girls are being killed—khoon ka rang surk hona chahiye—and some states would be green and others would be blood-red. gfiles:Thisgovernmenthasdonealot of tokenism: first woman President, first woman Lok Sabha Speaker, but it stopped there... SH: Glass ceilings did break and I think that is a step forward. It may not have filtered down. gfiles: Do you leave your office with a heavy heart or a balance that kuch hua, kuch rah gaya? SH: I leave with a balance. gfiles: If the BJP comes to power with its anti-women stance, don’t you think the gender initiative will have a setback? SH: I don’t think this will be possible. Aberrations apart, the way the global dialect is now, I don’t think anyone can afford to ignore or trample on gender. When any party becomes government, they have to tread the path of reason. gfiles: Have governments failed women? SH: This government, of which I have been a part, has not. It made important policy movements and took extremely important landmark decisions, though much more could have happened and the acceleration should have been more. g ‘In the next Planning Commission, if there are 10 members at least five should be women. I have been the only woman for 10 years and I think this must change.’
  28. 28. gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May 2014 Celebrating journeys that are about places, experiences, culture, authenticity, ethnicity and photography Providing content that feeds the mind and fuels the imagination Enhancing an authentic sense of place by exploring historical, cultural and natural linkages TAKES YOU PLACES Monthly travel and culture magazine Available at major stores across the country Contact:
  29. 29. INITIATIVE workplace dalip singh www.gfilesindia.com30 gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May 2014 “We know from daily life that we exist for other people first of all, on whose smiles and well-being our own happiness depends.” – Albert Einstein “How can I manage my company when two of my directors on the Board have not spoken to each other for years?” laments the chairman of a large government sector steel company. “The management is locked up in various courts for the last two decades over personnel issues. There appears to be no end to litigation. Every second employee is in the habit of moving the courts against the management or peer group. All senior posts are lying vacant and people are retiring. No new recruit- ments are being made. The morale of officers and the organisation is at a nadir,” confesses the CEO of a power generation company. “Please ask the MD to meet us at least once to hear our grievances,” the workers' union of a public sector bank pleaded with the chairman on his inspection visit. Enquiry revealed that the MD had taken a policy deci- sion not to interact with the work- ers, terming it a waste of time. Resentment among the employees was escalating as their grievances were not being addressed. In a large ministry of the Government of India, senior officers enjoy their lunch together every day. The ‘lunch club’, as it is popularly known, involves sharing a variety of food delicacies in a thoroughly informal atmosphere. Subliminally, official matters are also discussed. Several jokes are cracked and Managing interpersonal skills enjoyed. The meal culminates with a cup of black coffee. The improved interpersonal relations result in effective performance at the workplace due to improved trust and mutual respect among the officers. Interpersonal relations matter in personal life as well as in profes- sional life. We are never alone in the world. Wherever we are—whether in the family or in the office—we are surrounded by people. Management experts believe that very few peo- ple work by themselves and achieve results by themselves—most people work with other people and are effec- tive through other people. To manage oneself, therefore, requires taking responsibility for relationships with other people. This is called man- aging interpersonal relationships. Interpersonal relationship is the skill or ability to work effectively through and with other people. It includes a desire to understand others, their needs and weaknesses, and their tal- ents and abilities. It is the study of why beliefs, attitudes, perceptions, prejudices and behaviours can cause problems in personal and profes- sional relationships. In a workplace setting, interpersonal relations also involve an understanding of how peo- ple work together in groups, satisfy- ing both individual needs and group objectives. If an organisation is to succeed, the relationships among the people in that organisation will be a determining factor. No matter what we do, we do it with people. People create technology. People implement the technology. People make it all happen. People ultimately use what- ever it is we create. No matter how small or big your organisation or how technical or non-technical its process, it takes people to be successful. Two decades ago, many forecast- ers predicted that by this time in his- tory, strong computer skills would be the No. 1 factor in the workplace. However, now perhaps more than ever, administrators and corporate planners are placing greater emphasis on the human factor. This shows that recent trends in the workplace give new importance to human relations. The best-managed organisations understand that work is done through relationships. Technical competen- cies are not sufficient for success. Interpersonal relationships are key to sustainable competitive advantage. The best-managed organisations understand that work is done through relationships and that technical competencies are not sufficient for success.
  30. 30. gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May 2014 Let me elaborate further—think about a civil servant who gets along well with others in the workplace, a doctor who empathises with patients, a lawyer who listens carefully to cli- ents —all of these people will most likely be seen by their co-workers, patients and clients as nice, helpful people who are capable of meeting their needs. No doubt such a civil serv- ant would get more willing coopera- tion from his colleagues and juniors; the doctor would get more patients; and the lawyer would get more cli- ents. In other words, such profession- als are likely to be more successful compared to their colleagues who do not show these interpersonal skills. In the United States, research stud- ies have found that doctors who give more time to their patients, listen to them with attention and behave well with them, have far fewer litigations or court cases filed by their patients for incompetence or negligence in treatment compared to their medi- cally more competent colleagues. I N all aspects of life, you will deal with other people. Workplaces ben- efit if people working there have good relationships. In other words, in these years when people are said to be the only true competitive advantage, it is evident that interpersonal rela- tions in organisations and processes of nourishing them have become essential for organisational success. You can say that everything at the office depends on good relationships between employees and the manage- ment. Interpersonal relationships by AJIT UJJAINKAR O ntheeveofthegeneralelection, the IC Centre for Governance (ICCFG) hosted a lecture series on the changing role of the civil services. The lectures on the critical topic of the relationship between the bureaucrats and the political leader- ship were delivered on April 4, 2014, at the India International Centre, New Delhi. In his opening remarks, Prabhat Kumar, former Cabinet Secretary and Governor of Jharkhand and currently the President of the ICCFG, said that Sardar Patel, the founder of the civil services in independent India, had visualised a clear role definition for the two crucial categories of bureau- crats and politicians. The political leadership defined the policies and the bureaucracy implemented these policies. The politicians had the vision and perspective, and the civil servants the domain knowledge and institutional memory. They started with feelings of mutual trust and interdependence. But over the years, they failed to delimit their respective roles with precision and clarity and this created feelings of mistrust and suspicion among them. Vinod Sharma, Political Editor of the Hindustan Times, traced the his- tory of the relationship by narrating some telling anecdotes about the con- fidence that leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru had in senior civil servants and the fearlessness and courage with which the bureaucrats tendered their frank advice. He felt that the recent trend of bureaucrats joining political parties immediately after retirement cast suspicion on their neutrality and non-alignment, and this tendency should be nipped in the bud. BK Chaturvedi, former Cabinet Secretary and at present Member, Planning Commission, expressed the view that both politicians and bureau- crats need to build a strong value sys- tem.Theyshouldjoinhandsinworking for the welfare of the common masses through ethical governance. He said that if the civil servants expressed their views fearlessly and with courage, the political leadership would accept their advice much of the time. It was good that the Supreme Court had laid down certain policy parameters to protect bureaucrats from premature and vengeful trans- fers. A concerted effort by the politi- cal and administrative leadership would surely give an impetus to the country to move rapidly on the trajectory of economic growth and social development. g Of Babus and Netas IC CENTRE FOR GOVERNANCE are absolutely essential, as they help employees to have a mutual under- standing between themselves and work in a team. It is a proven fact that if you need to reach a goal or a target in your process, you necessarily have to work together in a team. Even when someone is otherwise only average at a job, good human relations skills can usually make that person seem better to others. Sadly, the opposite is also true: poor interpersonal relations can make an otherwise able person seem like a poor performer. Thus, the importance of interpersonal relations in our personal and professional lives cannot be exaggerated. g Dr Dalip Singh, a 1982-batch IAS officer of the Haryana cadre, has a PhD in psychol- ogy from the University of Delhi. He can be contacted at
  31. 31. INITIATIVE workplace dalip singh www.gfilesindia.com32 gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May 2014
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  33. 33. MANDARIN MATTERS fiji tp sreenivasan www.gfilesindia.com34 gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May 2014 Diplomacy extraordinary the initiative of the Fiji government. The seeds of future conflict in Fiji were sown in its constitution, which came into force in 1970, following independence. It is believed that Prime Minister Indira Gandhi advised the Fiji Indian leaders not to insist on their ‘pound of flesh’ as the majority group in Fiji. Instead, they should work out a formula which allowed them to live and work in racial harmony. If a one man, one vote formula had been adopted, the Indians would have come to power immediately after independence, a prospect the Fijians considered worse than British rule. The formula adopted, therefore, was to have a Parliament with 22 Fijians, 22 Indians and 7 others—Europeans, Chinese, and others. Among these, some were to be elected within the communities themselves and others to be elected nationally. The compact, in effect, was that the Fijians would form the government with the support of others and Indians would be Her Majesty’s loyal Opposition. In return for this arrangement, Indians would be given long leases for the land they cultivated and their children would be given jobs in the government. The constitution reconfirmed that Fijian land was inalienable and the Indians would not be able to own land. The Indians made all these concessions in good faith in recognition of their immigrant status. ‘The world as it should be!’ This was the description of Fiji from 1970 to 1987. Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, who would have been the king of Fiji as the sen- iormost Fijian chief, assumed the Prime Ministership and he was hailed by all, including the Government of India, as the champion of multiracialism in Fiji. He was the leader of the Alliance Party, basically a consortium of Fijian chiefs with full Fijian support. The Indians formed the National Federation Party (NFP), which had leaders like Vinod Patel, Siddique Koya and Jairam Reddy. The Indians began to work tirelessly for building the nation, Fiji marked a turning point in India’s policy towards overseas Indians as the developments there took place at a time when the government was in the process of rediscovering the potential of the Indian diaspora T HE assignment to Fiji has been hazardous to Indian envoys at the best of times. For historical reasons, the envoys are looked upon by the Fiji Indians as their mentors. At the same time, the Indian envoys are expected to promote multiracialism and multicultural- ism and maintain the delicate racial balance enshrined in the Fiji constitution. Any effort on their part, therefore, to strengthen the Indian community’s cultural links with India are seen with suspicion and they are often accused of interfering in the internal affairs of the country. In my case, the problems were compounded by the fact that my arrival coincided with the emergence of the Labour Party, a new coalition between the Indians and the educated Fijians which threatened the alliance government of Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara. The elections of 1987 were conten- tious and the Indian mission was under watch for any encouragement we might be giving to the Indian community. When the Labourgovernmentwasformed,theIndian support to it was seen as prejudicial to the rights of the indigenous Fijians. A military coup, specifically aimed at the Indian role in politics, inevitably put us in direct oppo- sition to the military government. We refused to recognise the military government, imposed sanctions against Fiji and got it thrown out of the Commonwealth.Inspiteofthesemeasures, I continued to function as the head of mission, with instructions not to deal with the ministers. Fiji acquiesced in this unusual situation as it did not want to provoke the Indian community. After two years of an uneasy and unconventional diplomatic standoff, during which I was accused of interfering in the country’s internal affairs, Fiji unilaterally decided to downgrade the Indian mission as a consulate and asked me to leave in 72 hours. The relationship between the host government and the Indian mission during this period defied every diplomatic norm. Finally, the mission itself was closed at
  34. 34. gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May 2014 having set the scenario for the future, and Ratu Mara was able to win international recognition and foreign aid by following a clearly pro-Western foreign policy. He kept Fiji out of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) at a time when it was fashionable for newly independent countries to join it. He claimed that Fiji was so non-aligned that it could not even align itself with the NAM. But the real reason was his vision of Fiji as a Western ally like Australia and New Zealand. At the same time, he cultivated India, as he knew that India’s support was necessary to sustain the support of the Indian community. He turned out to be a master tac- tician, one whom the Indians could not match. The richer Indians, particularly the Gujaratis, supported the Alliance Party, while the cane farmers and the trade unions voted solidly with NFP. B ELOW the surface of racial harmony lay the major weakness of the Fijian nation. The constitution had perpetuated the racial divide. The two major races had learnt to coexist, but there was no integration as the Indians considered themselves superior from the day they landed in Fiji. The race-based constitution did not con- tribute to integration either. The experiment was to build a nation that was divided on racial lines with very little interracial intercourse. The Polynesian-Melanesian race continued to call themselves Fijians under the constitu- tion, while the Indian immigrants continued to be called Indians. Moreover, the majority race had no chance of gaining political power. It was a recipe for disaster from the start. A national identity and a common future are essential for any nation. When I was posted to Fiji from Rangoon as a head of mission for the first time, I was quite excited, as I knew that Fiji was an important post for India. I asked my pre- decessor whether Fiji was interesting. He was prophetic when he said that there was a danger of it becoming ‘too interesting’. But he encouraged me to accept the post and asked me to bring my golf set along. Within a few months after my arrival in Fiji, our military attaché in Canberra came to Suva on an accreditation visit. The officer in the Fiji army who coordinated the visit was Sitiveni Rabuka, a colonel who had just returned from a peacekeeping operation in Lebanon. The Fiji army, hav- ing nothing much to do in its own country, was a regular troop contributor to the United Nations. It got its offic- ers trained in near-battle conditions, earned money for the government and the soldiers and gained considerable international exposure. Virtually every Fijian soldier spent some time on UN peacekeeping. Being neutral ideologi- cally, Fiji was acceptable in every situation and both the UN and Fiji benefited from this arrangement. Rabuka was in touch with my officers, but he also spoke to me a couple of times on phone. He spoke impeccable English and he told me that he had been at the Staff College in Wellington near Ooty. I invited him to a dinner I had organised for the military attaché, but he declined. Within a few days I noticed a Fijian golfer playing alone, like I used to do in the morning every day at the Fiji Golf Club. He joined me as we arrived at the same time and it transpired that it was Rabuka. He was very polite and friendly, but not too talkative. But he did reminisce over his days in India and expressed appreciation for the professional skills of the Indian Army. We began playing Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, the first Prime Minister of Fiji, seen here on the right of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India (above) and to the left of Dr S Radhakrishnan, President of India (below) PHOTOS: PIB
  35. 35. MANDARIN MATTERS fiji tp sreenivasan www.gfilesindia.com36 gfiles inside the government vol. 8, issue 2 | May 2014 regularly, but I did not learn much about his personality except that he was a good golfer. He declined all my invi- tations, but he was quite happy joining me on the course. The election campaign picked up momentum by the end of 1986 and the likelihood of a Labour-NFP coalition made it very interesting. Ratu Mara and the Alliance Party were, however, confident of victory initially, but by the turn of the year, there was a certain nervousness raising its head. When Ratu Mara realised that the Indians were going to support Labour, he began to meet me frequently to see if I could influence them in his favour. A landslide was not possible in the Fijian elections because of the structure of seats in Parliament. The Fijians alone voted, and they went en masse to the Alliance Party. The Indian seats similarly went to the NFP. Only the new national seats permitted cross-voting of communities and these really determined the outcome of the elections. In 1987, the Fijians and the Indians voted largely as before, but about 10 per cent of the Fijian voters switched their allegiance from the Alliance to the Labour Party and that resulted in the victory of the coalition. In other words, the Indians did not switch votes to defeat Mara. It was the educated Fijians who defeated their feudal masters. T HE formation of a coalition government under Timoci Bavadra was a foregone conclusion once the results came out as he was already projected as the candidate for Prime Minister. I met Bavadra and the other ministers and pledged India’s support. But I cau- tioned them against dramatic changes in policy, knowing fully well that the economy was essentially in the hands of Australia and New Zealand and that the Western countries had a vital interest in the South Pacific. A radical image for the new government might do more harm than good. The Taukei (son of the soil) Movement was born within days of the formation of the Bavadra government to liber- ate the country from ‘foreign rulers’. This was seen as the handiwork of the ultra-nationalist Fijians, who had made expulsion of the Indians as their platform during the elec- tions. The movement held demonstrations against the government mainly in the west of the country. But there was no sign of it gaining momentum within the Fijian com- munity. The majority was willing to give the government a chance. The government itself was reassuring in its initial statements on maintenance of Fijian rights, particularly land laws, and there was nothing in their statements to provoke the Fijians in any way. On May 10, 1987, I was in the office in the morning, getting ready to go to the parliament to hear an address by Prime Minister Bavadra when I received a call from my son, Sreenath, an aspiring journalist, anxious to break the news, to say that there had been a military coup in Fiji. It was the first of its kind in the South Pacific. My golf partner, Lt Col Sitiveni Rabuka, walked into the Fijian parliament in civilian clothes with a revolver (unloaded, it turned out later) and ordered the prime minister, the entire cabinet and the members of parliament of the ruling party into waiting military trucks. A number of masked Fiji army soldiers had lined up inside parliament with auto- matic weapons to make clear that it was a military coup. As the truck drove off, Rabuka telephoned Adi Kuini, wife of the prime minister, to ask for her permission to bring her husband and his colleagues for detention at the offi- cial residence of the prime minister. The place of detention gave the coup a human face right from the start, but it was no soft coup. The soldiers had their finger on the trigger to meet any eventuality. I managed to put in a call to India House to find that