It pays to be ethical: Anil Swarup


By Sanjay Bhatnagar

Seldom it has been seen that a book of a bureaucrat is waited more than that of any other regular writer. Maybe because of the content of the previous book or due to a long-hauled straightforward career or owing to some strong views about governance or may be all these factors combined into one.

It is most unlikely to spring some surprise when you name the bureaucrat whose crystal clear thought process has managed to convince even most of the politicians though they would fret to admit. This is Anil Swarup for you whose book ‘Not Just A Civil Servant’ has already won him many admirers. The plain talks as a responsible bureaucrat, not willing to be subservient to unscrupulous elements during his career and explaining it in no uncertain term was hallmark of this book.

Mr Swarup is ready with his next book  ‘ Ethical Dilemmas of A Civil Servant’ to be web-launched on July 5 next . It is being speculated that the book will have a peep into the designs of the political executive  as well as the dilemmas of a conscientious bureaucrat. The 1981-batch UP cadre IAS officer, after having served for 38 years, would be remembered to have reformed the coal sector as the Secretary of the Coal department. In fact, his exploits in the Coal ministry are well reminded and coincide with the auction of 41 coal mines for commercial mining on June 18,2020. Thereafter, he was posted as Secretary, Elementary Education, the sector he relished and nurtured for quite some time.

In his forthcoming book, he has many things to point out and that too in his own style without mincing the words – “Whereas in the coal sector, mining was underground & mafias operated above it, in the ‘minefield’ of school education it was the other way around. These mafias were eating into the essentials of Indian society & much more resilient.”

In another excerpt, he writes “Civil servants can’t be absolved of responsibility. If they don’t allow themselves to be used, then they can’t be misused or abused. More often than not there is a quid-pro-quo. It is the expectation of rewards that makes civil servant weak.”

When asked further about the content of his book ‘ Ethical Dilemmas of A Civil Servant’, Anil Swarup says ” I have never felt constrained to work unethically or playing to the tunes of unethical dictats of the political masters.” He said it had been the biggest myth that the bureaucrats were forced to do something against the law or moral ehthics. ” If you decide to work consciously, no body can ever force you to do which you are not supposed to do. If you are asked to do something against the law ,adverse to the interest of public or in violation of moral propriety, It can be a dilemma for some but then for some it is just a routine worth giving a miss,” he says.

He produced it in his book also that “Reputation of an officer is progressively built on the basis of his ethical conduct & that usually stands him in good stead in the future…..It pays to be ethical”: Ethical Dilemmas of a Civil Servant.

(Writer is a Senior Journalist and views expressed here are his personal)