Rath-In-Charge: Govt Officials, Employees Must Be Neutral

Government officers, employees and soldiers guarding the country’s borders will now also become ‘Rath-in-charge’.

They will highlight the nine years of achievements and government projects of the Modi Government, i.e. the Government of India, and will praise them for reaching out to the common people.

Now the government’s ‘public servants’ will also become the spokesperson of the Modi government. He will be the charioteer of ‘Vikas Bharat Sankalp Yatra’ and will try to promote government programs till the grassroots.

Perhaps this is being done for the first time at the level of the Government of India. In this context, the Revenue Department of the Union Finance Ministry and the Defense Ministry have issued circulars and given instructions to government employees and bureaucrats.

This decision of Modi government is becoming a political controversy. Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge has written a letter to Prime Minister Modi urging him to withdraw this order, because government civil servants are considered ‘neutral’ and it is wrong to ‘politicize’ them just before the elections. Kharge is also logical to some extent.

The political ideology of the average government officer, bureaucrat, employee may differ from that of the Government of India. Army soldiers and paramilitary force personnel work for ‘Mathrubhoomi’.

Of course administratively they are under the Government of India. As an average government employee, they are bound to accept the policies, decisions, projects of the Government of India. They will work on the same lines in government work, but in democracy, ideology and voting rights are autonomous.

He cannot be forced to become a ‘government spokesperson’. Under the guise of public service and public responsibilities, Prime Minister Modi has drawn a wrong, immoral line.

Soldiers have been lured with ‘annual leave’. It is expected that they will become ‘Soldier Ambassadors’ to promote government projects, so that their benefits can reach the grassroots citizens.

The question is, where is it written in the rules of their government service that a bureaucrat or employee or soldier should be instructed to become ‘rath-in-charge’?

As citizens of the country, government servants also have responsibilities and commitments to serve the common man, but it is also possible that as a citizen, they may disagree with the projects and policy programs of the Government of India! The Constitution has given us the right to dissent.

The government has an extensive propaganda machinery. A party like BJP also has unlimited cadre. They can be made ‘chariot-in-charge’, because this has been the political tradition till now.

However, the political opposition to this decision of the government has not subsided yet, but their arguments are correct that in this era of polarization, it is very important for the government officials and employees to be neutral and autonomous, so that the decision on the mandate can also be taken with the same discretion.

Some parties are also considering challenging this decision in court.

We believe that many IAS level officers are also politically ‘committed’ and after retirement, they are given the opportunity to become MPs or even ministers. RK Singh, Ashwini Vaishnav, Hardeep Singh Puri, S. Jaishankar, Aparajita Sarangi etc. are such Union Ministers and MPs.

Ideology is also their autonomy. There is no question on this. 

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