Anil Swarup Hits Back at Modi’s ‘IAS Babus’ Remarks on Twitter

Taking note of Modi’s barbs, Swarup questioned several appointments under the Modi government.

2 min read
Anil Swarup

In response to Prime Minister Modi’s remarks on the bureaucracy having the monopoly on top positions, Anil Swarup, author and retired IAS officer, took to Twitter to underline that many of these appointment’s have been made by the BJP government.

“I wonder whether his advisors brought the correct facts to his notice,” Swarup wrote.

He further noted the absence of a “truly independent institution” to select "experts" in these positions, saying that such an institution would prevent jostling.

Anil Swarup’s tweet.
Anil Swarup’s tweet.
Photo: Twitter

On 10 February, PM Modi referred to Indian bureaucrats as ‘Babus’, saying “Will babus run everything? Just because they’ve cleared an IAS exam, does it also mean they’ve become competent to run fertiliser factories, chemical industries, even fly aircraft or manage airlines? What is this all-conquering force that we’ve created?”

Questioning the tradition of vesting all decision-making powers in the hands of the bureaucracy, he asked further, “What is this big power we have created? What are we going to achieve by handing the reins of the nation to babus?”


While Swarup said he agreed with Modi’s line of questioning, he added that the “office should analyse and brief him how and why the Project Monitoring Group (PMG) succeeded during 2013-14. Therein lies the solution”.

The PMG is an institutional mechanism for accelerating resolutions of issues and regulatory obstructions in projects with investments more than Rs 500 Cr. It was set up in 2013, as a special cell in the Cabinet Secretariat.

Taking note of Modi’s barbs, Swarup in a series of tweets, also questioned several appointments under the Narendra Modi government. Beginning most of his retorts with “Totally agree with @narendramodi when he questions occupation of all key positions by IAS ‘babu',” he went on to say:

“I was only wondering why no expert could be found to head Competition Commission of India (CCI) and an IAS Babu was appointed Chairman? Will he also get an extension like Chairman, Central Electricity Regulatory Commission?”

He also highlighted the appointments of Chairperson of Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), who is an ‘IAS Babu’, as well as the head post of the Committee purposed with carrying out the construction of Ram Temple at Ayodhya, which is also occupied by a former bureaucrat.

“I do wonder why an IAS Babu was appointed as CEO, NITI Aayog & was given further extension after his tenure got over?” he added.

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