12 May, 2021

The Mandarin Makes His Move

Corporates are calling them, and more bureaucrats are taking it. It isn't just the lucre, the new job is exciting too.

Dinesh Parab
The Mandarin Makes His Move

Till the 1980s, cracking the Indian Administrative Service examinations was the dream of young men and women from both the established as well as aspirational middle class. Only a very few quit midstream, usually either for an academic course or career at a foreign university, or the lure of an even greater—and far better paid—bureaucracy in the United Nations.

But the brave new world of post-liberalisation India has changed all that. Now an increasing number of IAS officers—and indeed their colleagues in the Indian Revenue Service, Indian Railways, technocrats in NICNET, and government servants in the steel and telecom sectors—are heading out to the corporate sector, well before retirement. The recent hefty salary increases announced by the Pay Commission are unlikely to stem this exodus—they are still far behind the Rs 50 lakh to Rs 2.5 crore annual salaries that corporates are offering even mid-level government servants.

"Earlier, the government had a monopoly over the building of roads and ports, as builder and...

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