By Somali K Chakrabarti
Continuing from my last post ‘The Flaws In Our Laws’ By Bibek Debroy | My Scribbling Of The Session – Part I, here I proceed to jot down the next two anecdotes that were also the most interesting anecdotes of the session.
Identifying Surplus Government Posts
Anecdote 3 was about identifying redundant government posts to recommend their abolishment.
The story, as narrated to Dr Debroy by a retired senior civil officer goes as follows…
In 1973, an Administrative Reforms Commission was set up in Tamil Nadu to find posts in the system that appeared to be redundant. Two such posts identified were that of LBK, LBA. Nobody seemed to have a clue about what these abbreviations stood for, nor about the duties assigned to these posts.
Some facts unfurled when people who had retired from these positions and were drawing pensions were called upon to enquire about the posts.
In 1926, a Royal Commission on Agricultural Reform was set to improve the quality of agriculture in India . The Commission was set up under the Chairmanship of Lord Linlithgow, who later became the Viceroy of India and served from 1936 – 1943. It was decided by the Commission that agricultural productivity would be improved by improving the quality of Indian cattle by breeding Indian cows with foreign bulls. The system was as slow then as it is today, maybe much more slower. Nothing moved on the recommendations of the Royal Commissions.
Ten years on, in 1936 when it was announced that Lord Linlithgow would be the new Governor General, things suddenly stirred up in the system. The new Viceroy would certainly want to know what had happened to his recommendations.
In the government system, creating new positions is just as difficult as slashing jobs. So to get things moving, two job positions were created by invoking the name of Lord Linlithgow . The position LBK stood for Linlithgow’s Bull Keeper, who was assigned with the task of overseeing the import of bulls, while LBA’s (Linlithgow’s Bull Assistant’s) job was to ensure that cows were impregnated at the right time.
As we were in splits of laughter, he added that though these posts were abolished in the early 1980s. Yet there was another post that still continued past the 1980s. Read more