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Why has Modi's fear not jostled the bureaucracy in Assam?
Perform or perish, this is what Narendra Modi's recent strong message to government officers has been especially to the top level officials. Meanwhile, the Union government has, reportedly, taken stringent steps against more than eleven hundred top level officers or bureaucrats including 24 Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers for their inefficiency, alleged involvement in corrupt practices and insincerity towards duties.

The government has decided to give inefficient and corrupt officers premature retirement besides stopping their allowances and other amenities. The IAS officers, generally, are considered as back-bone of the government who play major role in policy making. But the services being rendered by them had been under radar of the government at the Centre for quite sometime. PM Modi himself had instructed to monitor and asses the bureaucrats' performances.

It is a fact that lack of integrity, not only of officers but also of the ruling political class may create hindrances in policy implementation which is often common in our country. People of India, since the independence, have been witnessing that all political parties makes tall promises creating an emotional environment among voters to grab power during election campaigns. Finally, one, who can create maximum rhetorical impact, triumphs in the election. It is a sober reality of post-independent India.

The Modi government, too, is yet to deliver its election promises made before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. But it must be conceded that a number of decisions including demonetisation and implementation of GST by Modi-led government have drawn mixed responses from different sections of sociaety. Needless to point out that such steps alone cannot justify the government's success.

It has been seen that Assam's state government in Dispur, tries to blame its bureaucracy for non-implementation of welfare as well as other schemes. The chief minister himself had expressed dissatisfaction over the working of various state government departments, a few days ago.

Interestingly, additional chief secretary MGVK Bhanu, before the CM, has vented anger against some state government officers who lack sincerity towards duty. The state government, where BJP-led regime is in power, despite some newer moves including formation of the State Innovation and Transformation Aayog (SITA), is yet to deliver as expected. Like the previous Congress government it had also made a number of tall promises before the 2016 Assembly elections including to bring 'change'. The main success of the government, so far, has been in the steps it has taken against corruption which have been lauded by masses. But for common people, the success of a government is different.

Recently, a former Indian Navy chief opined that the performance of IAS and IPS and other officers, who hold responsible positions, must be reviewed at the time of their promotions. He is of the opinion that nobody gets promotion in the defence forces of the country if he or she lacks performance. Rather his or her superannuation becomes imminent. But there is no such procedure in terms of the IAS and IPS officers' promotions in the country. Rather, they get promotion, traditionally, on seniority basis. The former Navy chief has argued that some defence forces' procedures should be followed in India in a bid to make the bureaucracy more efficient. 

Surprisingly, Chief Minister Sarbanada Sonowal continues with same administrative set up, earlier selected by the Tarun Gogoi-led previous Congress regime. As for instance, the chief secretary and DGP continue to hold their respective positions despite the fact that they were selected by the previous regime. It needs no mention that traditionally a new regime changes its civil and police head, ie the chief secretary and DGP. But the Sonowal government has kept itself from doing that for reasons best known to them.

Thus, people may think that it is one of the reasons of non-implementation as well as slow implementation of various schemes in the state in sharp contrast to some other states of the country. The prevailing situation in Assam reflects that though a kind of fear, emanating out of PM Modi's stand, has jostled the bureaucracy almost all over the country, the state remains beyond it.

However, the Sonowal government should not blame only the bureaucrats for slow implementation of schemes as it too has enlivened the Congress-culture by welcoming some leaders who were once close aides of the former chief minister Tarun Gogoi.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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