The Insider's View: Memoirs of a Public Servant

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Penguin UK, Sep 15, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 324 pages
In this illuminating memoir Javid Chowdhury shares his varied experiences over four decades in the IAS: the years in training when he imbibed the service’s ethos and values; his initiation into the rural universe as the District Development Officer and the District Magistrate; and further on, to his handling of the infamous Bank Securities and Jain Hawala scams as Director of Enforcement and Union Revenue Secretary. With a light pen, Chowdhury describes the changing social profile and attitudes of entrants to the higher civil services; the nepotism, in many garbs, that he encountered as Establishment Officer; and the stranger-than-fiction tortuous investigations of crimes. He also offers his nuanced reflections on the dubious legacy Gujarat acquired as a result of the communal carnage in 2002. Chowdhury further examines how policymaking within government came to be whittled away under the neo-liberal theology, with key scrutiny being left to external expert think tanks and ad hoc groups. As a consequence, he perceives that public accountability came to be inordinately diffused, resulting in the roller-coaster governance that we witness today. Sharp and insightful, replete with telling anecdotes and amusing sketches of icons, colleagues and ministers, The Insider’s View is a compelling portrait of the author, a self-confessed welfare socialist, besides being an X-ray of the innards of the bureaucracy.
 

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Contents

Dedication Preface
Return to My Roots
The Learning Years
The Terrain of Field Administration
1974 to 1978
The Changing Face of Public Administration
1996 to 1997
Orphaned Economic Laws
The Russian Connection
Some Aspects
Treasures from Sleuthing
In the World of Finance
The New Theology
National Economic Security
1999 to 2002
Societal Dynamics

The Securities Scam
The Rogues Gallery
2002
Communalism? What is That?

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