New Delhi : The UPA government is losing all semblance of control with at least two of its senior ministers engaged in mindless bickering with top bureaucrats.
A case in point is senior bureaucrat Keshav Desiraju: He was given marching orders in the Health Ministry on Tuesday morning. Sources said Desiraju had come out against some appointments made by Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was allegedly packing the Medical Council of India with his own men. Desiraju also took a tough stand on a company selling stents in India: Azad was reportedly miffed with the Health Secretary for not being ‘flexible’.
The Harvard educated Desiraju is incidentally the grandson of former President Dr Radhakrishnan. He was appointed as Health Secretary in February 2013 and had joined the ministry as an Additional Secretary in 2010, after completing his tenure as the Chief Secretary of Uttarakhand. But a year later he has been removed unceremoniously and shifted to the Consumer’s Affairs Ministry. That, too, without a replacement being found.
When asked about his transfer, Azad said, “These are administrative things. I don’t think people should get into it. Officers and Ministers’ portfolios change, it is a regular affair. He is a capable officer.”
To add to the government’s discomfiture, Urban Development Secretary Sudhir Krishna has complained that Finance Minister P Chidambaram humiliated him by not allowing him to speak in Hindi and instead insisted on his conversing in English. A miffed Krishna has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh complaining against the Finance Minister.
The incident took place at a meeting ahead of vote-on-account when Krishna was asking for relaxation in some schemes. Chidambaram asked him to speak in English as he did not understand Hindi but the Secretary went on in Hindi. Chidambaram finally said the demand cannot be met and another official has to look into it.