Former IAS officer Samir Singh Chandel recently penned an article on Shekhar Gupta’s The Print, arguing in favor of the VVIP culture that has been abolished by the Modi government. The retired bureaucrat lamented that the removal of red beacons from cars has severely dented the motivation of IAS officers to carry out their duties. However, it has now come to the fore that the former bureaucrat was notorious for remaining absent from work for months on end.
In a writ petition filed in 2019, the State of Rajasthan had accused the former bureaucrat of repeatedly skiving off from work. The petition, which was published in a Times of India report, said Chandel had become a “problematic bureaucrat” for the state government. He was allegedly missing from service for 20 months. The report further said Chandel was unceremoniously returned by the central government where he had gone for deputation.
In 2001, Chandel did not report for the job for a full 294 days. When he returned to work and reported the matter’s personnel department, he was transferred to the administrative reforms department. However, Samir hardly worked for 2 to 3 days and had again gone missing.
“In the past 20 months, he has been sending leave applications without confirming whether his leave applications have been accepted or not. Singh has been stating reasons of either his IAS wife Shubhra Singh or his own illness for being absent. Often he has written that wife Shubhra was hospitalised. The personnel department sent him a registered notice on October 21, 2002, asking him the reasons for his leave and also on what account he was on continuous leave. The registered letter returned without being delivered with a comment ‘addressee not found’,” the petition said.
Besides, the article further said that Samir was facing several charges and a report has also been filed at a Jaipur police station against him on charges of non-payment and other irregularities. Samir was allegedly involved with a financial company, which was run by his relatives. Many people claimed they deposited their money thinking it to be Samir’s company, which later stopped its operations. The company owes them several lakhs.
Samir Singh Chandel proffers bizarre arguments in his article to The Print to defend bureaucrats for their inadequacies
The accusations of Chandel skipping work comes against the background of a recent article written by him in The Print in which he made bizarre arguments to blame the Indian government for the incompetence of the system.
In his article, Chandel said, “The system of accountability for civil servants to the elected representatives is based on two assumptions, which are both inherently flawed. The first assumption is that public representatives would be motivated to work out of a sense of public service. But the reality is that political activity has turned into a commercial enterprise. People invest huge amounts of resources in order to secure election victories. All political parties of India are now populated with petty, medium contractors, not leaders oriented towards public service.”
Then, he proceeds to add, “The second assumption is that people’s representatives will actually represent the people who elect them. In a situation where the spirit of service is gone, there is now a desire to ‘profit’ from an earlier investment. Therefore, representatives are more likely to prioritise commercial interests, rather than the needs of the public.”
The article written by Chandel was replete with absurd arguments to blame the central government and absolve the bureaucracy of any shortcomings. At one instance in the article, Chandel contended that the lack of motivation among the civil servants is because the government had taken away their laal batti (red beacon). He lambasted the government for stripping the red beacon, which he claimed brought prestige and authority to the civil servants.
The author wrote, “One of the first actions of the Modi government was to remove the mandatory requirement of sanctions to prosecute civil servants, a feature that stripped any sense of legal protection available to them. This was followed by the removal of so-called ‘Red Beacons’, the only vestige of authority and prestige that was available to civil servants, in the field.”
“In the absence of prestige and authority, officers lose their initiative and drive. In various state governments, the office of district magistrate has been reduced to a glorified post office that receives instructions from various government departments and passes them on to field officers,” Chandel had added.