MA­HA­RASH­TRA: GEN­DER-BEN­DER

Ma­ha­rash­tra, which has ehhn at thh fr­rhfr­rnt rf thh Sr­rgrhssivh mrvhmhnt anG wrmhn’s uSliftmhnt, is yht tr aSSrint a wr­man tr thh Srst rf Chihf Shcrhtary in 58 yhars sinch its fr­rmatirn

Gfiles - - FRONT PAGE - K SUBRA­MA­NIAN

ey

THE se­nior bu­reau­cracy in Ma­ha­rash­tra is up in arms af­ter Ad­di­tional Chief Sec­re­tary (ACS Fi­nance) D K Jain (1983 batch) was ap­pointed as the new Chief Sec­re­tary, su­per­sed­ing four other se­nior bu­reau­crats from the same batch. It has peeved them so much that two of the se­nior most bu­reau­crats of the 1983 IAS batch, Medha Gadgil (ACS Relief and Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion) and Sudhir Shri­vas­tava (ACS Home), have pro­ceeded on a month long leave af­ter

Jain took charge on the state’s for­ma­tion day on May 1, which is cel­e­brated as the Labour Day and is a hol­i­day. One of the two se­nior bu­reau­crats, who have pro­ceeded on leave while speak­ing to gfiles on the con­di­tion of anonymity, dis­closed that they in­tend to drag the mat­ter to the Cen­tral Ad­min­is­tra­tive Tri­bunal (CAT) once they fi­nalise the draft of the pe­ti­tion chal­leng­ing Jain’s el­e­va­tion. If they place their griev­ances be­fore the CAT, it would be the first in­stance in Ma­ha­rash­tra’s his­tory that the ap­point­ment of a Chief Sec­re­tary would be chal­lenged be­fore the tri­bunal. Be­sides, Gadgil and Shri­vas­tava, the other two bu­reau­crats in the se­nior­ity list

This time the con­tro­versy has ac­quired a po­lit­i­cal un­der­tone. Gadgil de­spite be­ing the se­nior most bu­reau­crat of the 1983 batch was over­looked in favour of Jain for the post of Chief Sec­re­tary

are Su­nil Por­wal (ACS In­dus­tries) and UPS Madan, (ACS and Met­ro­pol­i­tan Com­mis­sioner), Mum­bai Met­ro­pol­i­tan Re­gion De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity (MMRDA). This time, how­ever, the con­tro­versy has ac­quired a po­lit­i­cal un­der­tone. Gadgil, de­spite be­ing the se­nior-most bu­reau­crat from the 1983 batch, was over­looked in favour of Jain. Among the rea­sons that are be­ing bandied about, the one that her ar­chi­tect hus­band Anant Vit­thal Gadgil is the sit­ting Congress Mem­ber of the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil (MLC) in the up­per house of the state leg­is­la­ture in the BJP-Shiv Sena govern­ment led by Chief Min­is­ter Deven­dra Fad­navis went against her has gained max­i­mum trac­tion.

HOW­EVER, sources in se­nior bu­reau­cratic cir­cles seem to sug­gest that a pow­er­ful non-Ma­ha­rash­trian lobby, both in the state and in New Delhi, pushed hard for the ap­point­ment of Jain as the new Chief Sec­re­tary. An­other ru­mour do­ing the rounds is that the non-Ma­ha­rash­trian lobby wanted Jain at the helm of af­fairs as the land ac­quired for a mega oil-re­fin­ery in Na­nar in Ratnagiri dis­trict of the Konkan re­gion is mostly owned or be­longed to non-Ma­ha­rash­tri­ans. This is not the first time that the govern­ment of the day has by­passed the se­nior­ity rule. In May 2007, Johny Joseph (1972 batch) was ap­pointed as the Chief Sec­re­tary by the rul­ing Con­gressNa­tion­al­ist Congress Party (NCP) al­liance govern­ment, su­per­sed­ing se­nior women IAS of­fi­cers that in­cluded the then Chair­man of the Mum­bai Port Trust Rani Jad­hav (1970 batch), Charusheela So­honi, Sec­re­tary GoI, An­i­mal Hus­bandry De­part­ment, A K Dua and Chitkala Zut­shi, all from the 1971 batch. It also over­looked the se­nior­ity of the then ACS Home, A P Sinha (1970 batch). The sec­ond in­stance was in 2009, again dur­ing the Congress-NCP led govern­ment, when J P Dange (1973 batch) was el­e­vated to the post of Chief Sec­re­tary su­per­sed­ing the then ACS Home, Chandra Iyengar. But what has ag­i­tated many in ad­min­is­tra­tive, po­lit­i­cal and so­cial cir­cles is that in 58 years since its for­ma­tion, a pro­gres­sive state like Ma­ha­rash­tra has not had a woman Chief Sec­re­tary. More than that, many find it dis­turb­ing that Ma­ha­rash­tra, which has a long his­tory of women’s eman­ci­pa­tion, women’s rights and women’s ed­u­ca­tion, has not found a wor­thy, mer­i­to­ri­ous and ca­pa­ble woman bu­reau­crat to head the state ad­min­is­tra­tion. Zutsi from the 1971 batch is the only woman bu­reau­crat to have come clos­est to be­ing ap­pointed to the top ad­min­is­tra­tive post be­fore she lost out to her ju­nior peer Joseph. Politi­cians of all shades, whether they be­long to the rul­ing party or the op­po­si­tion, never miss a chance to show rev­er­ence

Zutsi from the 1971 batch is the only woman bu­reau­crat to have come clos­est to be­ing ap­pointed to the top ad­min­is­tra­tive post be­fore she lost out to her ju­nior peer Joseph in 2007

to the great so­cial re­form­ers such as Ma­hatma Jy­otiba Phule and Sav­it­ribai Phule, Dr. Babasa­heb Ambed­kar, Ch­ha­tra­p­ati Shahu Ma­haraj and oth­ers, and take great pride in pitch­ing Ma­ha­rash­tra as a pro­gres­sive state. In 1994, the Ma­ha­rash­tra govern­ment led by Chief Min­is­ter Sharad Pawar, be­came the first state in In­dia to come out with a pol­icy specif­i­cally aimed at em­pow­er­ing women. It had mooted the pol­icy for reser­va­tion for women in body politic. Even the cur­rent BJP-Shiv Sena govern­ment led by Fad­navis has come out with a pol­icy aimed at en­cour­ag­ing women en­trepreneurs with soft loans to start busi­ness en­ter­prises. It is 170 years since Ma­hatma Jy­otiba Phule and Sav­it­ribai Phule started the

first school in the coun­try ex­clu­sively for girls at Bhide Wada in Pune in 1848. Since then, so­cial re­form­ers from Ma­ha­rash­tra have shown the way for woman’s up­lift­ment. One of In­dia’s first fe­male physi­cians was Anandibai Gopal Joshi (18651887), who stud­ied medicine in the US. Un­for­tu­nately, she died when she was just 21. Ram­abai Ranade (1863-1924), wife of so­cial re­former Ma­hadev Govind Ranade, was a prom­i­nent women’s rights ac­tivist.

CAP­TAIN Sau­damini Desh­mukh was the sec­ond woman in In­dia to com­mand a Boe­ing 737 in 1988 and Air­bus A320 in 1994. Not to for­get, Prat­i­bha Rao Patil, who also hails from Ma­ha­rash­tra, be­came In­dia’s first woman Pres­i­dent in 2007. Yet, Maratha politi­cians on ei­ther side of the po­lit­i­cal di­vide, who call the shots in state, have not been able to over­come their con­ser­va­tive mind­set when it comes to deal­ing with women ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cers. The ar­gu­ment that has been usu­ally put for­ward is that they find it dif­fi­cult to

It is 170 years since Ma­hatma Jy­otiba Phule and Sav­it­ribai Phule started the first school in the coun­try ex­clu­sively for girls at Bhide Wada in Pune in 1848. Since then, so­cial re­form­ers from Ma­ha­rash­tra have shown the way for women’s up­lift­ment

sum­mon women of­fi­cers for work at late hours or find it un­com­fort­able in deal­ing with them over ad­min­is­tra­tive mat­ters. On the other hand, state’s like Kar­nataka, Andhra Pradesh, Ker­ala, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Jhark­hand, Ma­nipur and Ra­jasthan have had women Chief Sec­re­taries. A few no­table ex­am­ples in­clude K Ratna Prabha (1981 batch), who was ap­pointed as the Chief Sec­re­tary of Kar­nataka in Novem­ber 2017, Min­nie Mathew be­came the sec­ond woman bu­reau­crat af­ter Sathi Nair to be ap­pointed as the Chief Sec­re­tary of Andhra Pradesh in 2002. Even a state like Haryana ap­pointed Meenaxi Chaud­hary as its first woman Chief Sec­re­tary in 2005. She was fol­lowed by Shakun­tala Jakhu, who be­came Chief Sec­re­tary in 2014. Nalini Netto (1981 batch) is cur­rently the Chief Sec­re­tary of Ker­ala. Oth­ers on the list in­clude: Padma Ra­machan­dran, Ker­ala (1991), Sheela Balakr­ish­nan, Tamil Nadu (re­tired in 2014), Kushal Singh, Ra­jasthan (2009), S Malathi, Tamil Nadu (2010-11), Sathi Nair, Andhra Pradesh (2002), Ra­jbala Verma (re­tired in 2018) and Gir­ija Vaidyanathan (1981) and Ra­jani Ran­jan Rashmi (1983) in Ma­nipur. It is not only women IAS of­fi­cers who have been side­lined or over­looked for top bu­reau­cratic post­ings in Ma­ha­rash­tra. Dr. Meeran Chadha Bor­wankar, the 1981 IPS batch of­fi­cer, was not con­sid­ered for the top post of the Direc­tor Gen­eral of Po­lice (DGP) in 2017. Bor­wankar was over­looked de­spite su­per­vis­ing the high-

pro­file hang­ings of Aj­mal Kasab and Yakub Me­mon and was the chief in­ves­ti­ga­tor in the in­fa­mous Jal­gaon sex scan­dal in July 1994. Ma­ha­rash­tra politi­cians have of­ten cited var­i­ous Supreme Court of In­dia judge­ments such as the TSR Subra­ma­nian case, the Prakash Singh case (April 2014), J C Jetli (IAS, 1990 batch) or the Vi­neet Narain case (De­cem­ber 1997) to put for­ward their ar­gu­ments while jus­ti­fy­ing the prac­tice of su­per­sed­ing. If noth­ing else works, they fall back on the old ar­gu­ment how the for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Indira Gandhi in 1973 ap­pointed Jus­tice A N Ray as the Chief Jus­tice of In­dia, su­per­sed­ing Jus­tices I M Shelet, Jus­tice K S Hegde and Jus­tice A N Grover.

AS one woman bu­reau­crat pointed out that when it comes to pro­mo­tions for top bu­reau­cratic post­ings the rule book is thrown at them, over­look­ing com­pe­tence, merit and se­nior­ity. To this day, the politi­cians who never miss any op­por­tu­nity to project Ma­ha­rash­tra as a pro­gres­sive state are yet to shed their con­ser­va­tive mind­set when it comes to ap­point­ing a woman bu­reau­crat at the helm of af­fairs in the state. The Union Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion (UPSC) has taken a note of the gen­der im­bal­ance that ex­ists in Civil Ser­vices and has tried to ad­dress the is­sue head on. A no­ti­fi­ca­tion is­sued by the UPSC in March 2017 for the Civil Ser­vices Ex­ams (CSE) said: “The govern­ment strives to have a work­force which re­flects gen­der bal­ance and women can­di­dates are en­cour­aged to ap­ply.” It seems the skewed ra­tio of one woman of­fi­cer for 20 male of­fi­cers com­pelled the UPSC to ac­knowl­edge gen­der im­bal­ance in Civil Ser­vices. Ac­cord­ing to avail­able sta­tis­tics, the num­ber of women clear­ing the CSE and get­ting com­mis­sioned into var­i­ous ser­vices steadily in­creased be­tween 2001- 2010. In 2001, out of the 455 women can­di­dates

In 1994, the Ma­ha­rash­tra govern­ment led by Chief Min­is­ter Sharad Pawar, be­came the first state in In­dia to come out with a pol­icy specif­i­cally aimed at em­pow­er­ing women. It had mooted the pol­icy for reser­va­tion for women in body politic. Even the cur­rent BJP-Shiv Sena govern­ment led by Fad­navis has come out with a pol­icy aimed at en­cour­ag­ing women en­trepreneurs with soft loans to start busi­ness en­ter­prises

who ap­peared for the CSE Mains Ex­ams, 179 qualified for in­ter­view and 88 were rec­om­mended for in­duc­tion into var­i­ous ser­vices. By 2010, the to­tal num­ber of women can­di­dates ap­pear­ing for the CSE Mains Ex­ams in­creased to 1,418, out of which 449 made it to the in­ter­view stage and 203 were se­lected for com­mis­sion­ing into ser­vices. It ap­pears that there has been a per­cep­ti­ble change since 2012 when Van­dana Chauhan claimed eighth rank in the All In­dia Rank (AIR) in the CSE. The 2015 CSE re­sults marked a wa­ter­shed mo­ment when the top four AIR were claimed by women can­di­dates. Ira Sing­hal, Renu Raj, Nidhi Gupta and Van­dana Rao topped the AIR rank­ings that year. In 2016, Tina Dabi was the CSE top­per. Ex­perts and so­ci­ol­o­gists be­lieve that for progress, eq­ui­table de­vel­op­ment and a bal­anced work­force, gen­der equal­ity in Civil Ser­vices is equally im­por­tant, be­cause women rep­re­sent 50 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion. Some have been lucky to en­joy the sup­port of their fam­i­lies, but oth­ers like Chauhan, hail­ing from a poor famer’s fam­ily in Ut­tar Pradesh, had to over­come the con­ser­va­tive mind­set of the so­ci­ety to reach where she is to­day.

Medha Gadgil went on leave

Ma­hatma Jy­otiba Phule and Sav­it­ribai Phule

Sharad Pawar (left) and Deven­dra Fad­navis, Chief Min­is­ter

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.