Highlander’s Plainspeak: An Administrative Rede

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Book Code: 1111016936218

Taradatt

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Untitled Document

ABOUT THE BOOK

The “Highlander's Plainspeak:  an Administrative Rede” is a unique narrative. Structured over important posts held by author over a period of thirty three years of active service in Indian Administration, it recounts personal novel experiences while critically analysing reformative and developmental interventions.


It spans wide-ranging fields of administration. From policy-making to implementation of schemes, taxation and planned spending, it forays into the unexpected heavy fire-fighting during natural disasters and emergencies, besides challenging brushes with polity and judiciary. It can be useful not only for the  budding aspirants and administrators but also to those having academic interest in nuances and caveats, potential and paradoxes of the Indian administrative system in all its facets.


The book shows how the system rewards and motivates but also punishes and bruises, sometimes without rhyme or reason. Misunderstandings with seniors, contemporaries and friends can  be common, and at times vicious. The narratives reveal how an administrator can exercise  functional leverage through specific and broad-based interventions  at every rung of hierarchy, even  while holding posts type-cast as administratively insignificant. The book reflects the die-hard spirit of an emotionally-detached administrator, who turned his assignments into the most productive ones for the public at large.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The author, Dr. Taradatt, earned his Ph.D. from Banaras Hindu University after completing dual Masters degrees in Sanskrit, with specialization in Literature, and Indian Philosophy. Showing competitive mettle, he got placed in Indian Administrative Service in 1983. In a career spanning 33 years, he innovated and visibly transformed land administration, agriculture, rural and tribal development, disaster management, and varied other fields. His forte was delivering timely and effective public service across all positions held in State Government of Odisha and Central Government. He rose to the top rung by dint of hard work, sincerity, intelligence, sheer grit, and unimpeachable integrity.
He has numerous articles in Sanskrit, English and Odia published in reputed journals and dailies, besides four books to his credit on tribal development, block development administration, Advaita Philosophy of Aadi Sankara, and reality and imaginations in relation to Kailash-Manasarovar.
The author can be reached through his email ID: drtaradatt@gmail.com

CONTENTS

Contents
Foreword........................................................................................................... 11
Preface............................................................................................................... 15
Acronyms and Abbreviations............................................................................. 19
1.     Firmly Grounded Early Life, Education and Training..................... 23
Family and Education
Training: a vital necessity
2.     First Cut in Revenue, Regulatory, Development Administration.... 39
Charge Officer, Settlement, Jeypore, Koraput
Transfer to Bhawanipatna, Kalahandi District
Difficulties Faced Early On
Exposed to Misuse of Power
Skewed Distribution of Land
First Exposure to Administration: Sub Collector
How Grounding in Settlement Helped
Eviction of Encroachments
Other Revenue Administration Functions
Implementation of Priority Sector Programmes
Public Distribution System and Social Welfare Schemes
Unnecessary Administrative Rituals
Flavour of First Promotion: Project Director in DRDA, Balangir
Overturning Mismanagement and Implementation of Schemes
Streamlining Office and Field Administration
Sylvan Green Pastures at DRDA Sambalpur
Initial Hiccups in Sambalpur
Improving the Ecosystem
Innovations to Redress Deficiencies in Schemes and Programmes
Correcting the Mechanical Approach and Improper Methodology
Promotion of Non-Conventional Energy and Other Schemes
Shifting to the new DRDA Office Building
Management of Homes for the Destitute
3.     Decisive District Administration: Ganjam............................................ 85
An Unexpected Students’ Agitation
An Unprecedented Natural Calamity
Damage and Restoration
Operational Difficulties
Misunderstanding and Confrontation
Exploitation by Some and Enforcement by Administration
Rural Development Works in Ganjam
Misunderstanding with RDC
Communal Conflict
Efforts towards Total Literacy and Exit
Things Which Remained Unattended
Expression of Public Appreciation and Rejection of Favours
4.     Desk Jobs in the Secretariat and Foreign Training.......................... 119
Five Weeks in Industries Department
Tasks Assigned in Panchayat Raj Department
Heading a Department: Director, Tribal Welfare
Untangling Knots in OTDP, Kashipur
Tribal Education: Achieving Certification of Merit
Historical ‘Exclusion’ of Tribal Development
Vested Interests at Work in ST&SC Development Department
Contempt of Court
Implementing Reservation
Single Line Administration: A Paradox
Foreign Training: First OVERSEAS Exposure
Mass Education: MY least productive assignment
5.     Deep Plough: Agriculture & Food Production................................... 149
Sorry State of Agriculture in the State
Streamlining Administration: A Pre-Requisite
Achieving High Yields in HYV Certified Seeds
Turnover in Seeds of Odisha State Seeds Corporation
Aggressive Push to Farm Mechanisation
Large-Scale Soil Testing
Micro-Irrigation
Diversification of Production
Swift Revival of Odisha Agro Industries Corporation
Sorting Out Convoluted, Unseen Dimensions of Agriculture
Hybrid Seeds and Cultivation of a Scam
Seeds of an Investigation by CBI
End of My Innings in Agriculture Department
6.     A Bit of Everything................................................................................... 183
Once more in Panchayat Raj Department (Vigilance)
Hitting Bull’s Eye in OSCSC
A short creative tenure in GAA
Stymied and Stalled in Fisheries & Animal Resource Development               
7.     Central Sojourn: Handling Home Affairs and AYUSH................... 201
Ringside View of Functioning of Constitution: Home Affairs
Functioning of Zonal Councils of States
Reorganising States is not about size; natural resources matter
Centre-State Relations – Window Dressing
A Minor Personal Disappointment
AYUSH: Appearance and Reality
Holistic Reforms and Mainstreaming Indian Systems of Medicine
Embedding Standards in Educational Institutions
Administrative Affairs in AYUSH
A second baseless CBI Investigation
8.     Taxing Life: Administration of Commercial Taxes in Odisha..... 223
Administrative Difficulties in Implementing Value Aid Tax (VAT)
Creating Healthy Office Conditions for Healthy Tax Collections
Overcoming Staff Stagnation and Demoralisation
Twin Tracks: Tax Mobilisation and Enforcement
Minister’s Restlessness
Tax Brushing Some Well-known Industrial Enterprises
Bhubaneswar and Cuttack Club or Cabal?
Resisting Interference in Transfers and Postings and Other Matters
9.     Equity and Equality: ST&SC and OBC & Minorities Welfare..... 245
Magical Development of a Thousand 100-seated ST Girls’ Hostels
Building Educational Complexes for Particularly Vulnerable Tribals
Ekalavya Model for Tribal Residential Schools
From Elementary to Higher ST/SC Education in 8 KBK Districts
54 Residential High Schools for ST Girls Usher Parity with ST Boys
Rationalisation of Admissions in Hostels
Hard Landing of Soft Skills Vital to Promote Tribal Education
Launching Innovative Tribal Education: Ramakrishna Mission
Partial Success at Rationalising Student Scholarships, Staff Remunerations
Misunderstanding with Minister, déjà vu
Making a Cooperative Corporation Stand on its Feet
Two Vital Schemes for Economic Development
Dead Against Social Discrimination of SCs
OBC Politics in the State
Office Reforms
Handling Ethnic Conflict in Kandhamal: No Easy Task
Odisha Scores High on Conferring Land Rights to Tribal Families
Did It Have To End This Way? Some Embarrassing Moments
10.  Multiple Hats: Cooperation, Excise and Rural Development........ 289
Cooperation Department
Anarchy in Crop Loans and Paddy Procurements
Quirks of Fate Secure Completion of Market Yard for Fish at Chilika
Success in Democratising Institutions; Infrastructure Remains a Dream
So Close to Refunding Depositors’ Dues of a Collapsed Bank
Investments and Losses: Finger-Pointing at Erstwhile MD, OSCB
Cleaning Operations
State’s Excise Policy and its implementation
Liquor Guzzling Godowns: Improving Delivery Systems
Replacing Degrading Poly-Packs: Bottling Country Liquor at Aska
Tragedy with Liquor: Hooch Deaths
Exposing Rampant Cultivation of Cannabis
Tenure in Rural Development: Hoisting Flags of Flagship Schemes
Prime Minister’s Gram SadakYojana (PMGSY)
Rural Sanitation and Drinking Water
11.  Highest Office: Cabinet Secretariat and its functioning.................. 315
Steely Resolve Underpinned Auctioning of 3G Spectrum
24x7x365 Handling Defence, Security, Intelligence Work
Commonwealth Games-2010: Making it Happen Finally
Investigative Aftermath of CWG-2010: Public Deserved Better
My experience in CWG-2010 is used in South Asian Games-2016
Some Other Tasks Performed in Cabinet Secretariat
Stress and Strain
12.  Saving Precious Lives: Revenue and Disaster Management.......... 359
Completing Land Settlement Operations Left Undone
Land Records: Transforming and Modernising Offices and Systems
Retrieving Government Land from Bellicose Bulls, while Bearing Risks
Exposing and Disposing Fraudulent Government Land Leases
Bringing Discipline, Accountability in Land Acquisition and R&R in Law
Reformative Ransacking of Land Acquisition and R&R Rules
Government’s Poor R&R Track Record
Abdication of Responsibility by Nodal Department/Agency
Making Registration Offices Intrinsically ‘Swatchh’ and Modern
No Political Traction for Dealing with Land Classification nor Share-Cropping
Other Legislative and Administrative Reforms
Modernisation of Tahasils
Plugging other Legal and Administrative Loopholes
Settling GramkanthbParomboke, Abadi, Khasmahal and Nazul Land
Saga of Paradip Port
Streamlining Administration and Other Interventions
High risk but no choice: Heading the Task Force on Quotas
Bhubaneswar Development Authority
Cuttack Development Authority
Odisha State Housing Board
General Administration Department
Critical analysis and broad conclusions
Submission of Report and its Expected Aftermath
HEIGHTENED PREPARATIONS: DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Vigorous Development: National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project
Preparing the State Disaster Management Plan
Mock Drills to Test Preparedness: Leaving Nothing to Chance
Very Severe Cyclone Phailin Strikes, but Precious Lives Saved
National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project-II
Close to Settling Satbhaya
13.  KBK Districts: Superior Endowments, Conspicuous Deficits......... 453
KBK Administration: A Curtain Raiser
Critical Efforts: Intensity for Steady Transformation in KBK Districts
Execution of other Infrastructure Projects
Capacity Building: Essential Nurturing, Mainstreaming Local Youth
Decentralization and Selection of Contractors on Nomination Basis
Health and Family Welfare
The Mess in Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS)
Elementary, Vocational and Higher Education in KBK Districts
Implementation of Priority Sector Programmes
Irrigation Projects in KBK Districts
Closure of Innings as Chief Administrator, KBK Districts
14.  The Past Gone, Seizing Today: Closure of Innings........................... 495
Preparation of 30 District Gazetteers: Unfinished Symphony?
Just a Bitter Taste at Closure of Administrative Innings
Temptation or Threat to Transfer and Organised Campaign
Anonymous Petition that was not Rightfully Consigned to Anonymity
Odisha: Paradoxes, Opportunities, Politics and Bureaucracy
Developmental Distortions
What Ails Poverty Alleviation Programmes
My Final Take


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