Fellowship of the files | Cover Story | Times Crest
Popular on Times Crest
  • In This Section
  • Entire Website
  • Dancing but no dhotis
    July 13, 2013
    The only time in recent past that a rule was bent was in 1989, ironically for a politician. It was the only time the club turned a blind eye to the…
  • The knowledge hub
    July 13, 2013
    Director Kavita A Sharma says, 'IIC isn't really a club but a cultural centre meant to help this country understand others better, and vice…
  • Fun and games
    July 13, 2013
    Bombay Gymkhana first opened its doors strictly to moneyed Britishers.
More in this Section
Profiles
Leaving tiger watching to raise rice Ecologist Debal Deb, who did his post-doctoral research from IISc in…
The crorepati writer He's the man who gives Big B his lines. RD Tailang, the writer of KBC.
Chennai-Toronto express Review Raja is a Canadian enthusiast whose quirky video reviews of Tamil…
Don't parrot, perform Maestro Buddhadev Dasgupta will hold a masterclass on ragas.
A man's man Shivananda Khan spent his life speaking up for men who have sex with men.
Bhowmick and the first family of Indian football At first glance, it would be the craziest set-up in professional football.
From Times Blogs
The end of Detroit
Jobs in Detroit's car factories are moving to India.
Chidanand Rajghatta
How I love the word ‘dobaara’...
Can ‘bindaas’ or ‘jhakaas’ survive transliteration?
Shobhaa De
Anand marte nahin...
India's first superstar died almost a lonely life.
Robin Roy
BABU BONHOMIE

Fellowship of the files

|


The UP clique has now replaced the Mallu brigade. (Right) Former national security advisor M K Narayanan with former ISRO chief G Madhavan Nair

For those who struggle to get by outside the charmed circle of batch mates and fellow cadre officers, the IAS is one of the most powerful networks in the country when it comes to special privileges. Influential and strictly offlimits to outsiders, even counterparts from other services, it functions on strict codes of loyalty that its political masters have tried but failed to break. There are less than 6, 000 of them in the country, but the IAS network punches way above its weight.

Check out any commission, regulator, PSU board, tribunal or committee, most are headed and manned by IAS officers, serving or retired. And of course, they control the levers of power in government, both at the Centre and in the states, running circles around their political bosses, the way Sir Humphrey Appleby did in the famous BBC TV serial Yes, Minister.

While the IAS is a tightly closed group, it has its cliques, built around different poles. There is the batch bond, the cadre empathy and the parochial interest. Sometimes they work at cross purposes, sometimes they overlap. Remember the era when the "Mallu brigade" dominated in Delhi? That was the time when two powerful officers from Kerala, M K Narayanan as national security advisor and T K A Nair as principal secretary to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, pulled strings sitting in South Block. The hallmark of their tenure was that every important post in government went to a fellow Keralite. At one point, the foreign secretary, the chief vigilance commissioner, the secretary to the President of India and several secretaries to the Government of India were all Malyalis. Or they belonged to the Kerala cadre, like Vinod Rai, who as CAG has ironically proved to be a thorn in the flesh for the government.

The rise of the Mallu brigade was particularly resented by the UP clique that has historically dominated the IAS because of sheer intake numbers. Even today, UP tops the recruitment list with 15 per cent of officers hailing from the state, followed by Bihar at 9. 4 per cent. UP is back in the driver's seat today. Both the cabinet secretary, Ajit Kumar Seth, and the PM's new principal secretary, Pulok Chatterjee, belong to the UP cadre.

The special bonds that IAS officers share are believed to be an asset in governance. A phone call to a batch mate or cadre mate can resolve a knotty problem. But they also create vested interests with the IAS using its powerful network to corner goodies for itself. Some of the best housing colonies across the country, built on land parcelled out at concessional rates, belong to the IAS. And in the Capital, one of the most elite schools, located in the heart of the exclusive diplomatic enclave, was started by the IAS for its children.

Reader's opinion (1)

Om Prakash AhlawatMar 24th, 2012 at 10:34 AM

fellowship of d files does not start & finish at d top level even though they have garnered all d perks & privileges

 
Other Times Group news sites
The Times of India | The Economic Times
इकनॉमिक टाइम्स | ઈકોનોમિક ટાઈમ્સ
Mumbai Mirror | Times Now
Indiatimes | नवभारत टाइम्स
महाराष्ट्र टाइम्स
Living and entertainment
Timescity | iDiva | Bollywood | Zoom
| Technoholik | MensXP.com

Networking

itimes | Dating & Chat | Email
Hot on the Web
Hotklix
Services
Book print ads | Online shopping | Business solutions | Book domains | Web hosting
Business email | Free SMS | Free email | Website design | CRM | Tenders | Remit
Cheap air tickets | Matrimonial | Ringtones | Astrology | Jobs | Property | Buy car
Online Deals
About us | Advertise with us | Terms of Use and Grievance Redressal Policy | Privacy policy | Feedback
Copyright© 2010 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service