Navi Mumbai: The transfer of Indian Administrative Service officers raises issues of vested interests having axe/s to grind, sometimes making a mockery of the premier civil service of the country, particularly when there is a change of governments. This gives credence to the fact that there are favoured officers for every ruling lobby in the country, which is bad for the federal structure of the country.

This also warrants the need for a change in the administrative system in the country, which could be possible only if our elected representatives have the wisdom, nerve and will for the same in the interests of the nation and the citizens. We need more efficient management professionals in the executive wing of our democracy to replace the colonial-style trained bureaucrats.

As we can see the transfer of IAS officers appear to be a tool for nepotism, corruption and deliberate administrative failures to please political masters and ideologies in several cases.

We therefore see upright officers being transferred frequently to prevent them from sincere and honest functioning, flouting all service rules of the second pillar of democracy – the executive. We are also witness to arrogant and adamant bureaucrats following the legacy of the bureaucrats in British-ruled India, with shameless disregard for the citizens of a free India.

Bureaucrats are known to bend rules with impunity to suit their bias and preferences or that of their political masters, compromising on national interests. Thus, an incumbent IAS officer refuses to entertain queries on the steps taken by their predecessors, displaying lack of uniformity and consistency in administrative deliverance.

Notwithstanding the conflict of the All India Services (IAS, IPS, IRS, IFS) with the State Civil Services, the need for providing a strong centre is as relevant as it was when the then deputy Prime Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel after independence made the IAS a premier institution to maintain national unity in the wake of a fragmented nation with several princely states and a diverse demography defying a uniform administrative structure. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had then stressed upon political neutrality, of the civil servants, who, he insisted, should preferably work outside their State of origin to enable them to be impartial and act objectively and combat against communalism, casteism, regionalism and economic divide.

Where merit and seniority should be the only consideration for promotions and critical postings, sadly, hidden discrimination lead to incompetent officers at the helm. The Chief Minister of a State can transfer, promote or suspend IAS officers. Thus, politicians tend to misuse their power by transferring non-submissive bureaucrats to what is termed as ‘punishment or non-lucrative’ postings. They further tend to collude with bureaucrats, who resort to lobbying and bribes for plum postings, which they recover utilizing the deliberately vested discretionary powers and the large resources at their disposal for allocations to favoured groups.

This explains the large-scale transfer of civil servants whenever there is a change of government in the States. This chronic instability among the IAS cadre tells upon the efficiency of the performance of the administration, that needs continuity to achieve targets or objectives.