TN babus told not to dump old newspapers

TN babus told not to dump old newspapers

Celebrating the wisdom of an old adage, “There is nothing like old friends and old wine”, now, ‘old newspapers’ may also have to be added to this list of cultural niceties, at least by the top echelons of the bureaucracy in Tamil Nadu.

‘Babus’ from the top-most level of secretaries to government, special secretaries, heads of departments, district Collectors, Superintendents of police, IGs, Zonal IGs and DIGs of Police, to joint secretaries and additional secretaries to government are eligible to buy two to five newspapers daily (and get reimbursed later), depending on their seniority.

Senior administrative and police officers are authorised to purchase the daily newspapers for the “purpose of news scrutiny and follow up”, from the list provided in the ‘Tamil Nadu Financial Code’.

While the list of ‘approved Newspapers’ is prepared by the public (library) department, the state finance department recently issued a GO of a “consolidated list” of 23 English and Tamil newspapers from which ‘babus’ could pick and choose, after few modifications had been made to the list by the public department.

Though that is a matter of course, the sting in the finance department’s order came towards the end, by gently reminding the ‘babus’ obliquely to return the “old newspapers” to the office supplying the newspapers.

Those officials “not returning the old newspapers” would face a “deduction of 15 per cent of the monthly cost of newspapers towards the sale value of old newspapers in the subsequent month,” the GO stated.

This may be peanuts in the annual budgetary parlance of public finance. But a rule is a rule, insists the finance department in a state otherwise known for being very liberal with all sorts of freebies to the tune of thousands of crores of Rupees each year. But the latter is voted ‘expenditure’ by the state legislature, they added to rub in the difference.