Not Just A Civil Servant

AUTHOR: Anil Swarup; PUBLISHER: Unicorn Books Pvt Ltd

Anil Swarup retired in June last year as Secretary, School Education, HRD. The book is a memoir of his 38-year-long roller coaster stint in the civil services.

The book begins with the fact that his entry into the IAS world wasn’t his decision, but his parents. That’s not the only decision that Swarup accepts quietly and shines in. The book presents a number of incidents in his life when he was handed over posts that would have been termed as ‘punishment posting’ by others. But instead of getting depressed and losing his appetite for work, these postings brought out the best in him. Be it his posting as a Managing Director of PICUP (The Pradeshiya Investment Corporation of Uttar Pradesh) or Director General, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India. When he took over as MD of PICUP, the organisation was in red from nine successive years. But he turned it around in just 10 months. And his tenure in union labour ministry got him working on the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), an insurance scheme for the poor launched in 2007. This scheme is said to have laid the foundation of the much-talked about Modi government’s Ayushman Bharat Yojana.

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Swarup’s services were also sought by the government to clear the coal scam mess after the Supreme Court cancelled the allocated blocks. As secretary in the coal ministry, he brought about structural reforms in the coal sector that enabled transparent auction of coal blocks in the country.

His last posting was in the HRD ministry as the secretary, school education. Controversies and challenges followed him here as well. It was during his tenure that the controversy surrounding CBSE paper leak erupted. Swarup took a lot of initiatives to improve the quality of teachers in the country. He writes in his book, “The real problem of education in the country centres around government teachers. It begins with the pre-service training of teachers… The selection of teachers itself is a tricky affair.” Further, in order to improve the quality of education in the country, he promoted the use of technology and encouraged engagement of NGOs to build public-private partnerships.

Not just a Civil Servant is a must read for anyone aspiring to be an IAS officer. It will help you understand and appreciate the challenges involved in a civil servant’s life. The best part about this book is that it is full of optimism and hope – a perfect example of the idiom, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

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