With Modi on the steering, acceptance for inefficiency and corruption at top-level is going down

On 5 February 2015, the Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami was sacked for allegedly trying to stall the arrest of Saradha scam accused and former Minister Matang Sinh.

Media confirmed that CBI recorded a conversation between Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami and Matang Sinh, an accused in the Saradha scam and a former Union Minister. The Hindu also stated that “During his meeting with the Home Minister, Mr. Goswami confirmed that he had made the calls.”

Anil Goswami has admitted to calling up CBI officials dealing with the Saradha case. Source: PTI
Anil Goswami has admitted to calling up CBI officials dealing with the Saradha case. Source: PTI

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The final decision was taken after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh met and discussed the issue. Before this, when CBI officials went to arrest Matang Sinh, he talked about his “high-level contacts.” Later, the CBI recorded a conversation between him and Goswami.

Goswami’s removal came after he was summoned by the Home Minister today to explain the conversation with Matang Sinh. That meeting lasted about an hour. He was also called by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) later in the day. Singh is reported to have briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue and also met CBI chief Anil Sinha.

Goswami was sacked four months before his tenure was due to end in June. He will be replaced by L C Goyal, a Kerala cadre IAS officer of the 1979 batch.

On 29 Jan 2015, a day after President Barack Obama’s visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi fired India’s highest-ranking diplomat Sujatha Singh who served as India’s Foreign Secretary from August 2013 to January 2015.

Former foreign secretary Sujatha Singh
Former foreign secretary Sujatha Singh

While Congress criticized it as a political move, Sujata Singh accepted it as a general repercussion after change of governments by expressing her displeasure with the government, BJP hinted inefficiency and inability as the prime reason for her removal. Singh was replaced by Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. Even former PM Manmohan Singh was  reportedly keen on appointing Jaishankar as the foreign secretary.

On 14 Jan 2015,  the government removed the chief of India’s top defence research organization, Avinash Chander, 15 months before his contract was to end. In August 2013, PM Narendra Modi had already expressed his dissatisfaction with DRDO, saying, “The biggest challenge for DRDO is how to work before time. The world will not wait for us.” He communicated his displeasure with the “Chalta Hai” attitude of DRDO.

Avinash Chander, ex-Director General Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)
Avinash Chander, ex-Director General Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)

Even though DRDO claims that under Dr Avinash Chander’s leadership, “The organisation carried out extensive research and indigenously developed the critical technologies”,  many of DRDO’s projects such as the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, Nag missile, long-range surface-to-air missile project and the Airborne Early Warning and Control System have been delayed by many years and seen several cost overruns.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, in a meeting with reporters,  said, “I recommended this. We need someone young and didn’t want somebody on contract to be in such a senior post.”

In October 2014, Arvind Mayaram, who was moved from the Finance Ministry to Tourism, was re-transferred as Secretary in Minority Affairs Ministry.  It was anticipated that Mayaram let off National Spot Exchange Ltd promoter Jignesh Shah with some minor punishments, and PMO was unhappy with this.

At his first direct interaction with secretaries who lead in various ministries, Modi gave a loud and clear and loud message to all: Top officers must take their leadership role seriously and be decisive to make things happen quickly and improve governance.

Looking at the speed at which actions are taken against corrupt and incapable top-guns, many corrupt, dormant and complacent bureaucrats would be having sleepless nights. It is a very optimistic sign to see that Modi, as expected, doesn’t hesitate to remove substandard babus irrespective of their positions or date of retirement.

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