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Several bureaucrats in PMO plans departure if Modi re-elected: Reuters

Officials are not willing to go on record because of the sensitivity of the subject

NEW DELHI: Several senior bureaucrats in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) will be looking for an exit if PM Modi is re-elected after the Lok Sabha polls and returns to power in May, Reuters, the British news agency quoted multiple sources in the administration as saying.

At least eight senior bureaucrats in the Prime Ministers Office, and the Ministries of Home Affairs and External Affairs have either looking at premature retirement or transfer to other departments.

Officials are not willing to go on record because of the sensitivity of the subject but admitted that more “officials in several ministries were trying to move” but did not have a number. The “three officials” according to the report said that the reasons for the bureaucrats wanting an early exit were the same, namely “their inability to influence government policy as it is largely controlled and set by the prime minister and a small group of ministers and advisers, and the demanding work schedule they face”.

“The sense of partnership is missing, Modi and his ministers do not have an organic relationship with the bureaucrats,” the report quoted a civil servant in the home ministry as saying.

“I am looking out for other opportunities and have even requested for a transfer because it is almost impossible to work for 12-13 hours every day, even during weekends,” said a senior official working with Modi since 2014.

Reuters said that “Sanjay Mayukh, a spokesman for Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), declined to comment on the grounds that governance issues were managed directly by ministers.

The news agency further stated, “Senior bureaucrats said Modi’s top-down approach, and his orders to work on public holidays, to demand they submit details of their assets, and to clean their own workplaces at the start of a five-year cleanliness campaign in 2014, has widened the gap between the civil servants and the nation’s leader.

Amit Shah, a close aide of Modi and the head of the BJP, in a closed door meeting attended by two ministers in February said bureaucrats continued to suffer from “communist romanticism”, a reference to the alleged influence of the left-leaning Congress opposition party on the bureaucrats. The ministers, who spoke to Reuters, declined to be identified”.

The report continued: In particular, there is deep resentment in the top echelons of the Indian civil service over the interference in government by the Rashtriya Swayemsevak Sangh (RSS), the Hindu right-wing umbrella group of which the BJP is a part, these officials said.

Last year, PM Modi-led Union government announced recruiting at least ten professionals from private sector for joint secretaries in select government departments through “lateral entry” mode.

The plan still to be implemented, and is facing strong resistance from civil servants.

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