Babus Sweat As Drabu Tightens Screws

15 March 2015
Kashmir Monitor
Irfan Malik

Jammu: The Babus of J&K's lofty Finance Department seem to be sweating these days as the new Finance Minister Dr. Haseeb Drabu has begun to tighten the screws over the functioning of his department. Sources say that senior officials of the Finance Ministry were taken aback when the Finance Minister communicated to them that he wanted the exact amount of money available in state treasuries every evening. Not used to this new system the officers tried hard to convince the Finance Minister's office that the new process would take some time, but the officers were told that the new system should be in place within 24 hours, the officers complied. 'Initially there was a lot of resistance to Dr. Drabu's approach. But once they got a sense that FM would not tolerate insubordination, everything fell into place. Now every evening the FM gets a piece of paper showing the account balances in state treasuries', a source in the Finance Ministry told Kashmir Monitor. Not just this but Drabu has also told his staff that on a daily basis he should be informed how much money has come in and how much money has gone out to various department. Sources maintain that the Finance Minister wants to know whether money is rotating or is being released favorably. He has already directed that all pension payments should be released before 30th of every month. Sources in the Civil Secretariat also point out that the Finance Minister's office is no ivory tower and that anyone can walk into the see the FM. They maintain that the most crowded corridor is the Finance Ministers. Sensing people want to be heard, Drabu according to sources has moved his office into the ante-room while his main office space has been turned into a visitors hall where people who come to meet him can sit and wait. 'The FM said that he would be very happy to operate from the anti room and he just needs a chair and table and nothing fancy. He was very particular that people should not have to stand outside to meet him but as far as possible they should be made to sit inside his office', an official in FMs office said. Typical of his days as J&K Bank Chairman no file or Government document stays on Drabu's office for more than 24 hours sources say. They add that Drabu is usually the last Minister to leave secretariat and works late hours at his lodgings as well. 'He has brought fresh air to a Civil Secretariat which otherwise was a very boring place. One day he came to office in jeans, next day in a kurta pyjama and next day in crisp jodhpurs. In fact we now look forward to see what the FM will wear today', a KAS officer says. But many maintain that in theory its all good but for the system to change and be people friendly the entire cabinet will have work collectively with passion and drive never seen before.