The youngest minister in Arvind Kejriwal government, Rakhi Birla, seems to be still learning the art of administration meeting officials from various departments. But officials who have interacted with her during the past 15 days claim that she suspects all of them, labeling everyone in the system as corrupt.
In the first meeting with her office staff, she termed everyone in the department as corrupt.“You all have been involved in acts of corruption and money making till now, but no one will be able to do so during my tenure,” a member of her office staff quoted her as telling them in their first interaction.
“It was like slapping us on our face. No minister or officer has ever spoken to us in this manner before this,” said an official. The staff at the secretariat, which has worked with both BJP and Congress ministers in the past, feels that earlier politicians could differentiate between honest and corrupt officials. “If the minister cannot appreciate the honest and hardworking people in the team, there will be no motivation for the department staff to work,” another official said.
Birla has been meeting officials from the departments of women and child welfare, social welfare and languages. “She is absolutely clueless about the work these departments have done in the past. She called us to understand what we do and the status of various projects,” said an officer with the social welfare department.
“I think a lot of things that we say in our presentations are beyond her understanding. She puts them to her secretary, with whom she would sit back later and discuss to understand the system,” said another officer.
Birla has, meanwhile, refused to speak to the media. “We have been told that she will give interviews only next month,” her office staff said.