VRS for Vijaylakshmi Joshi: Another IAS officer retires ahead of schedule

A few days after Home Secretary LC Goyal sought early retirement, another IAS officer has filed for voluntary retirement (VRS): Vijaylakshmi Joshi, head of the Swachh Bharat mission

FP Staff September 03, 2015 13:13:30 IST
VRS for Vijaylakshmi Joshi: Another IAS officer retires ahead of schedule

A couple of days after Home Secretary LC Goyal sought early retirement — 17 months before his term was to elapse — another IAS officer has filed a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) application. Gujarat cadre officer from the 1980 batch, Vijaylakshmi Joshi, who helmed the ambitious Swachh Bharat mission as secretary of the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, has quit her post.

VRS for Vijaylakshmi Joshi Another IAS officer retires ahead of schedule

Vijaylakshmi Joshi. Image courtesy: Indian Sanitation Coalition

The Economic Times reports that Union Minister for Rural Development, Sanitation and Drinking Water Birender Singh has forwarded her letter of resignation to the Cabinet Secretariat. The ministry has so far kept silent on the development, and the report duly quotes a ministry official stating that there was “no comment to offer on the issue”.

The report adds that Joshi was secretary in the panchayati raj ministry, until 2011, when her Central deputation began as joint secretary, Ministry of Commerce, in the UPA-II government.  It was in September last year that Joshi was appointed officer on special duty in the Ministry of Drinking Water ahead of the 2 October launch of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

Unfortunately, the results of the cleanliness drive have not been commensurate with the euphoria at the launch of the campaign, and could be linked to Joshi’s retirement — three years ahead of schedule and barely a year into the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

Goyal's retirement, however, stemmed from a trust deficit with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. In fact, according to this Firstpost report, Singh had last week expressed his grievances to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about Goyal's 'approach and attitude'. The report quotes a ministry official who stated that "Goyal would often sleep over a file or find 10 different reasons to negate a particular move. His approach to work was of a typical sarkari saheb, who would keep looking to the rule books, precedents to seek endless clarifications, which would take the steam out of a move. At times his approach to a project would amount to virtually killing an initiative".

Looking further back, seven years ago to be precise, when Joshi was managing director, Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation, her husband and 1978-batch IAS officer also from the Gujarat cadre GP Joshi had filed for VRS while serving as principal secretary (finance) in the Gujarat state government. A report in The Times of India at the time said, “Joshi is the second IAS bureaucrat who has put in his papers this year. The first one to quit four months back was JS Rana of 1975 batch. Rana, too, opted for VRS. And like Rana, Joshi — despite his known abilities — failed to be posted to good postings”.

The report added that 13 IAS officers had resigned between 2001, when Modi became Gujarat chief minister and September 2008, when GP Joshi resigned. Fast-forward to 2015, and a report in The Times of India in June stated that no less than 56 IAS officers had resigned prematurely from their Central postings — opting to be repatriated with their states or to retire — since the Modi government came to power in 2014.

Whether these are cases of clearing the way for more worthy candidates or indicative of deeper political issues within the ministries, one thing is clear: Being a babu is no easy task in the Modi sarkar.

Updated Date:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.