The author of Not Just a Civil Servant, Anil Swarup was in conversation with Ashok Kamath, chairman of the Akshara Foundation. Anil Swarup talked about his beginnings as an IAS officer and the amusing things he saw travelling the country. He also spoke about the importance of transparency in governance and public-private partnerships. He also provided some insights from his time as Secretary, School Education and Literacy and his views on the Right to Education Act and pointed out that we have a bigger focus on policymaking, but should also give importance to implementation. Anil Swarup also told the audience that he’s working on a second book on education in India.
Not Just A Civil Servant drafts the journey of Anil Swarup, a civil servant who survived despite being politically incorrect. He invites readers into his world chronicling the experiences that shaped him from growing years as a student to his years of rigorous training as a civil servant and finally managing crisis, both man-made and otherwise, that confronted the government. His career, spanning 38 years, revolved round tackling myriad of issues that ranged from dealing with corruption in the state of Uttar Pradesh to coal mafias, witnessing the aftermath of Babri Masjid demolition to handling education mafias. The memoir records the travails and tribulations of Anil Swarup as a decision maker and as an internal observer of the system. He describes his triumphs and his disappointments, both public and private, narrating his story as he has lived, in his own words and on his own terms. It also lays bare the understanding of administration by a bureaucrat. The book is a culmination of Swarup’s initiatives and intense engagement with various contentious issues both at the state and at national level. This memoir is a deeply personal reckoning of a man who attempted to make-things-happen with the hope to inspire others to do the same.
During his career spanning 38 years, Anil Swarup attempted to ‘make it happen’. Before joining the IAS in 1981, he served the IPS for a year. He won Director’s Gold Medal at the LBS National Academy of Administration amongst the officers of his batch. As a civil servant, he held various assignments within both the State (UP) and Central Govt. During the final years of his career, he served as Secretary in the Ministry of Coal where he handled the aftermath of the coal scam. Thereafter, he served as Secretary, School Education and Literacy where he attempted to foster public private partnership to improve quality of school education. As a strategic thinker and an innovative leader, he won several awards and nominations.