Civil servants have power to bring change on the ground: Fmr Union Secretary

Civil servants have power to bring change on the ground: Fmr Union Secretary

Former Union bureaucrat Anil Swarup on Thursday said a civil servant has the power to bring change on the ground for betterment of people.

"People have apprehensions that all troubles in the countryare due to bureaucrats. But bottom line is that if a civil servant wishes hecan deliver a lot on the ground. They can bring changes themselves," Swarupsaid. He was speaking at a function here in Kashmir University.

Known for his administrative skills and counted as one ofthe finest policy makers, Swarup said as then Secretary in Union Ministry ofCoal he pointed out "miscalculations in assumptions" made by then Comptrollerand Auditor General of India, Vinod Rai, in its coal block allocation report.

They (the findings) have not been challenged by anybodyuntil now," he asserted.

Having served on various key positions during histhree-decade career Sawrup said while in service he took cajoles with ministersonly to get policies implemented on ground.

"We used system based on technology while a minister in UPAgovernment was sitting on a file of Rs 5,300 crore," he said.

Saying former bureaucrat Shah Faisal's shift frombureaucracy to politics gave him a feeling that people could also be servedoutside the ambit of bureaucracy.

"You can still do a lot of work. What excites me is thathere is an officer like Faesal who gives you a feeling that you can also servepeople outside civil services," he said.

He said democracy allows space for political differenceswhich can be argued over rather than having a fight.

"I can have political difference and it's the beauty ofdemocracy. Why should we fight? We should rather argue?" said Swarup.

He said he had a great time working in Kashmir when he wassecretary, Department of School Education and Literacy, Government of India.

Swarup said his idea to pen down a book "Not Just a CivilServant" was to appreciate the ground reality.  

"First, we have to accept that a problem exists. Mein ye janbuj ke Srinagar mein keh raha hoon (I am deliberately saying this inSrinagar)," said Swarup, without explaining.

He said he was able to clear misconceptions regardingJ&K to a large extent through student exchange programs conducted duringhis tenure in the union education ministry.

"I had great time working in Kashmir. I have been close toOmar Abdullah. I also worked with Mehbooba Ji and told her once what needs tobe set right in state's education department so that aspirants are able toqualify competitive examinations like NEET," he said.

"I have also worked with Altaf Bukhari (former educationminister). Very proactive minister…there may be political differences, but thatdoesn't mean we would not meet…," said Swarup. 

Speaking on the occasion, National Conference member andformer Secretary Education Farooq Ahamd Shah appreciated Swarup's contributionto Kashmir education sector terming him as a "great inspiration".

Shah said when he took over as Secretary J&K Educationthe students were on roads resulting in a chaos all over. "More worrying thingfor me and the administration was the strike of SSA teachers who had beenwithout salaries for months together," said Shah.

According to him it was Swarup who bailed out the stateadministration by releasing funds for salary of the SSA teachers easing uppressure on the administration.

Shah said it was during the Swarup's tenure as UnionSecretary for School Education that Kashmir Schools were equipped with computerlabs and other facilities.

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