MISRULE IN ORISSA: A SAMPLE

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

For us to say Orissa is in the grip of dishonest fellows is not new. New for us is that we are not alone. Slowly but steadily many others have started seeing how scoundrels are ruling the roost in Orissa. A sample of this new awakening has hit the police, which, after absorbing the initial jolt of predicament generated by overwhelming material documents against top authorities like the Chief Secretary and the Chief Minister, has at last stated to start investigations.

The crux of the issue is a corruption that Biju regime had started and Navin regime has completed!

It is a single case; but a representative case of nexus domination over administration.

A man was illegally appointed as a manager under the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) in the rank of a Deputy Secretary to Government on 23 April 1994 when Biju Patnaik was the Chief Minister. It was one of many illegalities done during his time.

The person that used the top corridor of Orissa Secretariat to bag the appointment was not qualified for the post. His deficiency was kept a secret and he continued to draw salaries of Deputy Secretary to government.

Comfortably placed, he longed for a promotion specifically as the Pay Commission was likely to sumptuously enlarge pay packages for officials. This made BDA peruse his personal file that brought to attention of the concerned officer the lacunae in his appointment. Then attempts were made to regularize his appointment by obtaining post- facto approval of the Government.

Unavoidably, the file went to the Secretary of Law. The law department refused to recommend for post-facto approval of the illegal appointment and returned the file on 27 February 2007 to the administrative department of Urban Development (UD). The illegalities in appointment having thus been bared by the department of Law, on 8 March 2007, the Special Secretary, UD department put up the matter before the departmental secretary with his observations that the appointment should be nullified and penal prosecution should be initiated against persons responsible for this illegal appointment and swindling of salaries. The Secretary endorsed it to the Chief Secretary on 13 March 2007.
The Chief Secretary, Ajit Kumar Tripathy, accepted the Law department interpretations and approved the views of the Special Secretary of UD and passed orders for fixation of responsibility for the illegality committed. In his note dated 17 March 2007, Tripathy said, “Government need not take lenient view to regularize irregularities like this. Continuance for long periods is no ground for this. I fully agree with the views of Law department. No further action is called for except fixing of responsibility for such action, which should be done”.

But Tripathy had hardly imagined that no illegality done during Biju Patnaik’s Chiefministership could ever be allowed to be shown on records as illegal during the Chiefministership of his son Navin.

His order for fixation of responsibility was treated with the contempt honesty attracts in a climate of dishonesty.

He was forced not to look at previous pages of the concerned file when that should come to his table again.

And, the file, sans compliance of his orders for responsibility fixation came to his table again with recommendation of UD Secretary dated 15 December 2007 for post-facto approval of the appointment viewed as illegal by the department of Law.

Tripathy did not look at the previous pages and endorsed the file to UD Minister, noting as if on dotted lines the words, “as proposed”. The copy of the note-sheet produced here below is suggestive of the tremendous mental trauma that Tripathy was subjected to at that moment. He seems to have deviated from his practice of putting the date below his signature after writing “as proposed”. By simply writing, “as proposed” he had indicated that he had to sign the file on dotted lines. Therefore the file had to return to him from the UD Minister with off the records instructions to express his clear willingness for post-facto approval of the appointment he had earlier refused to approve.
And, Tripathy had to write again, “The justifications are convincing and it is in interest of the organization”. Then the file passed the UD Minister and then the Chief Minister gladly regularized the irregularity committed in his father’s regime.

The person concerned who is now regularized must have enjoyed utmost sadistic pleasure by seeing Tripathy shallow his own bitter pill.

Such a situation hits a State only when the scoundrels rule the roost.

But now, Tripathy is to face the music for not having adhered to principle, as a social activist outfit Kalinga Sena has raised the issue of corruption that the police has taken cognizance of.

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  1. ‘Kris Formula’ – a prescription to end corruption – to create healthy citizenry based on genuine transactions and not ghost transactions – just published (4-17 July 2008) in the 4Ps Business and Marketing Magazine (copy attached).

    What ails the under developed and developing nations? Reply: “corruption leading to self perpetuating poverty”. Reason: lack of honesty and transparency. Result: lack of accountability for sustained growth.
    Let’s analyze these statements in detail.

    The economy is divided between the rich and poor; the rich are growing richer and the poor are growing poorer. The poor cannot afford the essentials for a decent living such as food, clothing, shelter, health, education and social security. The division is so sharp between nations and communities, while a rich family can afford to spend Euro 500 per week on food items, a poor family of the same size can hardly spend Euro 5 per week.

    Does this mean all citizens living in a poor nation are poor? Well the answer is a ‘NO’. The wealth in a under developed / developing nation is skewed. Almost 80-90% of the wealth of the nation is in the control of say 5-10% of the population. The majority of the populations hardly have access to any wealth and live in abject poverty.

    One of the biggest factors is ‘Corruption’. It is the cancer eating into the vitals of the society. It has permeated into all facets of life, affecting the poor and voiceless. Today, the common man with no money or muscle power, cannot think of getting any thing done in the developing world, without having to pay a bribe. This has created a parallel black economy sucking money out of the taxpayer and enriching the pockets of the rich.

    The Heads of Commonwealth nations at their recent mini-summit on 9 and 10 June, 2008 have stated that “Global institutions such as World Bank, IMF, and UN must enjoy legitimacy from their member countries and the international community. They must also be responsive, with the interests of all members, especially the smaller and poorer, being taken into account. The activities and governance of these institutions must be flexible, they must respond to new challenges, national priorities and specific circumstances in countries. Institutions must have clear responsibilities and the conduct of their business must be transparent and accountable to the entire membership and the wider public.”
    A scathing report from the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) of IMF highlights the lack of transparency and accountability in IMF… The IEO measured governance along four dimensions – effectiveness, efficiency, accountability and voice – and against three standards – the Fund’s own governing documents, other international organizations, and private and public-sector corporations. The report finds accountability and voice are the weakest features of the Fund’s governance and these weaknesses entail risks to the Fund’s legitimacy, which in turn has a bearing on its effectiveness.
    If this is the situation with global institutions, we can well imagine what would be the situation with national and regional institutions, No wonder they abound in corruption of all sorts and get away with it. Then, how do we get over this corruption mania? One sure way would be to plug all the leakages in the system. This cannot be done without active support of the governments and its citizens.
    A unique identification of every citizen is the primary requirement. With the advent of ICT tools, every citizen can be uniquely identified from birth to death using unique identification methods such as fingerprint, iris, hand vein geometry and DNA linked to their ID, name, family details, photo, etc.
    A Multi Purpose Biometric Smart Card for every individual and organization linked to a money account and a e-Tool to link every citizen and service provider / public authority including the vertical and horizontal hierarchy of governance can be used as a single window of transactions for G2C, G2G, B2B, B2C, etc. If the transactions are thrown open, then total transparency and accountability can prevail, as envisaged in the Right to Information Act.
    Healthy citizenry can be created by covering all aspects of citizens from birth to death such as health, hygiene, housing, education, skills, employment, earnings, expenses, consumption, savings, social security, etc. based on genuine physical transactions and not ghost transactions. Thus corruption. money laundering, arms trade and terrorism can be eliminated and all round peace and prosperity can prevail as every one would feel good that no one can cheat any one and all have equitable opportunities to contribute and grow.

    Kris Dev, ICT & e-Gov Consultant, Manthan Awardee for e-Inclusion & Livelihood Creation. krisdev@gmail.com

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