04 June 2021 ~ 0 Comments

Too much PMO! Ex-babus chide Modi on vaccine policy, state ties

In the context of the second Covid surge, a group of 116 former civil servants has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing the government of not addressing the crucial issues at stake.

What makes this “open letter” significant is that the signatories include former Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar, former foreign secretary and National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon, former health secretary K. Sujatha Rao, former advisor to the Prime Minister T.K.A. Nair, former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah and former Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, among others.

Now unfettered by civil service regulations and free to speak their mind, these former babus, who call themselves the Constitutional Conduct Group, have alleged that the Centre has botched the efforts to tackle the spread of the pandemic and urged Modi to take urgent action, including centralizing procurement and supply of vaccines which should be administered free and universally to all Indians. They have also expressed concern about the “steady erosion of the Cabinet system of governance” (too much PMO!) and deteriorating ties with the states.

Of course, there is nothing new in the missive. The ordinary citizens, Opposition parties, and even the judiciary in several states have been raising these same issues. The “coalition” of the willing that Modi seemed to have created since his ascent to power in 2014 is now beginning to crack. The government had managed the narrative adroitly so far, but in the face of the Covid pandemic, it now seems unable to contain the growing dissent in the country over its pandemic policy.

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