Satya Darshan

धर्मेंद्र प्रधान ने सेना के अफसर को गालियां क्यों दीं, स्किल इंडिया से क्यों निकलवाया?

ब्लॉग रवीश कुमार

अप्रैल 29, 2019

लिंक्ड इन एक सोशल साइट है. इस पर राष्ट्रीय कौशल विकास निगम के वरिष्ठ स्तर के अधिकारी अजय कुमार ने अंग्रेज़ी में विस्तार से पोस्ट लिखा है. इस पोस्ट में अजय कुमार बताते हैं कि धर्मेंद्र प्रधान ने सबके सामने उन्हें गालियां दीं. उस तरह की गालियां जिन्हें यहां लिखना संभव नहीं हैं. अंग्रेज़ी में जिन्हें Cuss Word कहते हैं.

सेना में 23 साल तक अफसरी करने वाले अजय कुमार ने अपने इस सार्वजनिक अपमान के बारे में लिखा है. क्या राष्ट्रवाद राष्ट्रवाद करने वाली मोदी सरकार के मंत्री को इतनी छूट है कि वह सेना के एक वरिष्ठ अफसर को सबके सामने गालियां दे सकते हैं, उन्हें बर्ख़ास्त करने के आदेश दे सकते हैं?

क्या यह छूट इस दम पर है कि ऐसी बातें अख़बारों में नहीं छपती हैं. न्यूज़ चैनलों में नहीं दिखाए जाते हैं? जिसके कारण जनता को कभी पता ही नहीं चलेगा कि धर्मेंद्र प्रधान सेना के अफसर अजय कुमार को सबके सामने दस मिनट तक गालियां देते रहें. पोस्ट बहुत ही लंबा है और राष्ट्रीय कौशल विकास निगम के भीतर चल रही कई तरह की कारगुज़ारियों के बारे में लिखा है.

अजय कुमार ने राष्ट्रीय कौशल विकास निगम इसलिए ज्वाइन किया क्योंकि वे देश के लिए कुछ करना चाहते थे. अच्छी सैलरी की नौकरी का प्रस्ताव छोड़ कर इसलिए कम सैलरी वाले काम पर आए. अजय कुमार को दो बड़ी ज़िम्मेदारियां दी गईं. जो भी स्किल सेंटर खुलने थे, उनकी जांच करना और रेटिंग देना. दूसरा जम्मू कश्मीर के नौजवानों के लिए उड़ान योजना. इन दोनों के प्रमुख बनाए गए.

घटना पिछले साल की है. दिल्ली के कांस्टीट्यूशन क्लब में स्किल इंडिया का कार्यक्रम था. वहां अजय कुमार को नहीं जाना था मगर कबीना मंत्री धर्मेंद्र प्रधान के दफ्तर से वहां मौजूद रहने को कहा गया. धर्मेंद्र प्रधान ने अपने किसी ख़ास के स्किल सेंटर को मान्यता देने के लिए कहा तो अजय कुमार ने कहा कि मंत्रालय के नियमों के मुताबिक इन्हें मान्यता देना मुमकिन नहीं है. आपका ज़ुबानी आदेश लागू नहीं हो सकता है. बस इतने पर धर्मेंद्र प्रधान उखड़ गए. सबके सामने अजय कुमार को गालियां देने लगे. मंत्री जी इतना आपा खो चुके थे कि सबसे सामने उन्हें बर्ख़ास्त करने की धमकी देने लगे.

अजय कुमार हतप्रभ रह गए. सेना के इस अफसर ने ऐसा अपमान कभी नहीं देखा था. वे खुद को सबके बीच नंगा महसूस करने लगे. अजय कुमार ने लिखा है कि वहां पर लघु व मध्यम उद्योग मंत्रालय के संयुक्त सचिव राजेश अग्रवाल भी मौजूद थे. राष्ट्रीय कौशल विकास निगम के प्रबंधन निदेशक मनीष कुमार भी थे. किसी ने कुछ नहीं कहा. अजय कुमार ने तब मंत्री को कहा कि आप अपने शब्दों पर ध्यान दें.

इतना कहने पर धर्मेंद्र प्रधान और भड़क गए और गालियां देने लगे. प्रबंधन निदेशक को निर्देश दिया कि इनकी बर्ख़ास्तगी पर अगली सुबह पूरी रिपोर्ट दीजिए. वहां पर आए मेहमानों के बीच सेना का यह अफसर गालियां खाता रहा. अपमान सहता रहा मगर मंत्री की धौंस के आगे सब चुप रहे.

यही नहीं इस्तीफा देने के लिए लीगल टीम की तरफ से धमकियां दी गईं. उनके परिवार को देख लेने की धमकियां. यह सब अजय कुमार का ही लिखा हुआ बता रहा हूं. बाद में प्रधानमंत्री कौशल विकास निगम के प्रबंध निदेशक ने अजय कुमार को बुलाया और कहा कि इस्तीफा देना होगा. अजय कुमार ने अपना इस्तीफा लिख दिया. 31 जुलाई 2018 को उनकी सेवा समाप्त हो गई. उन्होंने अपने लंबे पोस्ट में कौशल विकास की कारस्तानियों का ज़िक्र किया है.

अजय कुमार ने 9 महीने बाद पब्लिक में पोस्ट लिखा है. इसका कारण यह बताया है कि स्किल इंडिया छोड़ने के बाद उन्हें चार नौकरियों के प्रस्ताव मिले. हर जगह उन्होंने छोड़ने का सही कारण बताया कि मंत्री ने गाली दी और ज़बरन इस्तीफा लिया. यह सुनकर उन कंपनियों को नौकरी देने की हिम्मत नहीं हुईं. वे अपना प्रस्ताव लेकर चंपत हो गईं. अजय के दोस्तों ने समझाया कि कुछ झूठ बोल दो. तब अजय से रहा नहीं गया औऱ उन्होंने पब्लिक में यह पोस्ट लिख दिया है.

धर्मेंद्र प्रधान को इसका जवाब देना चाहिए. उनकी पार्टी की राजनीति के अनुसार सेना के अफसर तो झूठ नहीं बोलेंगे. सेना कभी झूठ नहीं बोलती है. जो सेना कहती है उसी पर भरोसा करना चाहिए. तो क्या पब्लिक भरोसा करे कि प्रधानमंत्री मोदी का एक मंत्री मंत्रालय के काम के सिलसिले में अपने अफसरों को गालियां देता है? अजय कुमार को भी लेख के बाद सबके सामने आना चाहिए.

जब गालियां दी जा रही थीं तब वहां मौजूद राजेश अग्रवाल और मनीष कुमार को भी ध्यान रखा जाना चाहिए जिन्होंने अजय कुमार का साथ नहीं दिया. सिस्टम में ऐसे कमज़ोर अफ़सर सिर्फ अपने लिए होते हैं. सरकारी गाड़ी और कुर्सी की धमक रिश्तेदारों में दिखाते हैं. मगर कभी मौका आने पर तन कर खड़े नहीं हो पाते हैं.

अजय कुमार की पूरी पोस्ट कुछ इस प्रकार है..

On resigning from my first corporate job post army career, there was a choice to make out of three job offers in hand- two in areas of my past experience, with good salary, a third one with lesser salary in an area that was greenfield for me. Without any predicament the third one - with National Skill Development Corporation (#NSDC)- was my choosing as my heart and mind were in unison over the decision.  After 23 years in army and four years in corporate, something more than just a job was needed. The circumstances the country faced about youth bulge, NSDC promised me participation in the mission #skillIndia. I was heading a prestigious project #Udaan for Jammu and Kashmir on behalf of Ministry of Home Affairs and also another vertical #SMART (#Skill Management and AccReditation of training centers) that is gateway for anyone wanting to join #skillIndia as a #TrainingProvider. These two were in addition to other responsibilities which were light weight as compared to these. And then, there was a turn of the events tearing through all that was cherished so passionately.

A spat with Mr Dharmendra Pradhan, Cabinet Minister, Ministry   of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship #MSDE at a public event at "Constitution Club of India" (un intended irony) over facilitating accreditation and affiliation to one of his known persons (or party affiliate, I am not sure) in contravention to minister's own guidelines issued by #MSDE changed it all. When I told him why his verbal orders were not doable given the guidelines , he lost his cool and started abusing me and using cuss words. Initially I was amused at his spontaneous disparaging out pouring but his out flow continued in full public view. May be my initial silence gave him a false feeling that he, with his brute political power, could ride roughshod over me. He was mistaken. So were other senior functionaries including Mr Rajesh Agarwal, Joint Secretary #MSDE and Mr Manish Kumar, MD, #NSDC. They probably forgot my Army Background and that we in armed forces take our self-respect, pride and dignity quite seriously. I curtly told the Minister to watch his words as I had just followed the guidelines. Not anticipating such defiance to his perceived authority, he exploded in uncontrollable hysteria and ordered my immediate sacking while continue using cuss words.  He directed MD NSDC to brief him with complete details the next morning (it was late in the night at that time). I was in an unwished-for situation. All glare, including those of guests, waiters, my own team at me as if I was being ripped apart. The 10 minutes ordeal was like endless torture. I was standing perplexed for a few moments, as if stripped naked in full public view. The indignation was too much for me especially due to silence of my two seniors. Minister left in a huff and I confronted both the seniors who always espoused advantages of team spirit, team work, honesty and morality but in testing times, just crumbled.

Next day, MD briefed the Minister . There was nothing to indicate anything wrong on my part.  But then, I had hurt bloated ego of a powerful minster so price had to be paid. I was told that the Minister is a compulsive abuser when things are not to his liking. Not willing to give up on my dream mission so easily, I dug my heels. Based on directions of MD, head of #NSDC #legalteam communicated to me veiled threats about my future and my family’s wellbeing if I did not submit my resignation. Not finding any sign of compliance from me, MD, a #Harvard educated ex bureaucrat, with experience of working on #WASH in #WorldBANK and whom I held in very high esteem to the limits of idolising, called me and told me that Minister wanted my head. Wanting to confront Minister, I sought an appointment with him through his staff. It never materialised. MD was to travel with him for next three days. He requested me to give him a one line resignation letter with last working day as three months thence, that would be used to satisfy the Minster. I spoke to my wife, she told me upfront , "give anything in writing, be ready to get back stabbed." 

Aware of the inherent risk, I still had faith in the system. Resignation letter was handed to him with parting words, “Sir, I am an army man. I am showing same confidence in you as I would have showed in my Commanders during war.” He assured me that he would live up the faith I reposed in him. My expectations were unrealistic. Unlike in forces, corporate world hardly have any leaders. Yes, it can boost of very successful MANAGERS. Even the world's top universities and our own #LBSNAA can not inculcate strength of character and leadership qualities in best of its academically empowered alumni. Next evening, I received a call from Mr Manish Kumar, MD #NSDC informing me that my resignation had been accepted as per my wishes and I would be relieved by 31 July 2018. That was my exit from #NSDC.


At hindsight, this turn of event was awaiting to happen for some time. It was premeditated. I was not supposed to attend that event as it was not pertaining to my area of responsibility. My presence was requested by Minister’s office to discuss important procedural issues regarding upcoming guidelines. It was a trap.

Minister had not been comfortable with my continuation in NSDC, since, during a meeting, mine was the lone voice that countered one of his proposals on accreditation and affiliation based on self-certification of Training Centres. Previous experience with similar arrangement was not encouraging as many of those centers ended up in places like cow sheds or obscure buildings with little semblance to what was claimed in affidavits of self assessment submitted by Training Partners ( most of these manage to continue to be part of #NSDC run public funded schemes inspite of adverse reports against them).. Both the Joint Secretary and MD NSDC who were present in that meeting and had first hand knowledge of previous experiment remained silent. His displeasure was communicated to me the next day.

Many a feathers had got ruffled in skill eco system due to my actions as Head #Udaan . I had unearthed a scam involving big organizations - one organization , #VisionIndia or #VISPL allegedly owned by law maker son of a central Minister from Bihar and others like #KPMG  #ApolloMedskills  #MountTalent  #SeBIZ  #STC in implementation of Udaan. Strangely, there was not an indication of rot in any of the notes of my predecessors.The scheme, aimed at enabling 40,000 educated youth of J&K at a cost of Rs 750 Cr should have been a game changer for the state. Ground realities were entirely different. My deep diving showed that most of the numbers were fake, and existed in documents only. Youth of J&K were being shortchanged by big corporates for quick money. I raised the issue with #NSDC #Management. Things did not move initially. I was bluntly told that it wasn’t #NSDC responsibility to check corruption.  My persistence forced #NSDC and #MHA to act, though painfully slow to the limits of pusillanimity. Corporates were not happy. When all efforts to win over me with inducements for favourable closure did not bear fruits, they resorted to intimidation ( I had kept my MD informed about all those offers).  

Those at helm failed to recognize that State of J&K have sensitive security connotations too. The youth of the state, already bearing burnt of double whammy of militancy and corruption in state, lost opportunities, unsure today and tomorrow, needed to be handled with sensitivity. Their well being should be a Priority for all of us. They are needed to be taken out of vicious cycle of lack of confidence in governance, pessimism and thus radicalisation. Insurgency in the state cannot be finished by forces alone. Youth have to be on our side through positive interventions and interactions just like the spirit with which Udaan was envisaged.  But to quite a few in government and corporate, situation in J&K is a business opportunity as usual and I was an impediment in their profiteering. For NSDC top man, promotion of a Joint Secretary to rank of Additional secretary was more important than any corrective actions in implementation of the scheme. So things were temporarily buried for promotion to happen example of the hollowness for a haloed institution.However, to safeguard other selfish interests, my head had to roll.

Even as Head #SMART, my endeavor was to create a level playing field for all, which again did not go well with some who considered themselves more privileged. They too tried all tricks in their bag including threats to my family. But those could not deter me. I got no positive response from my seniors when I informed them. Not to take things lying down, each one of them was confronted by me in person. Serious issues have been plaguing #SkillIndia like poor selection of job roles, contents, fake enrolments in RPL and PMKVY, quality of trainings, compromised assessment system. All these issues were raised with Management and concerned people in writing and at various in-house meetings during my tenure with #NSDC. This was unacceptable to Minister and management as any contrary views are considered blasphemous now a days.

Going public on this issue can be a professional hara-kiri. Many of you who are reading this would call it an act of frustration. No, it is not. Some incidents, however bitter they are, need to be told and retold especially if these have bearing on issues as serious as engaging with the youth of our most sensitive state i.e. J&K.

In last nine months, I got four offers, all from reputed corporate but those suddenly evaporated as soon I shared with them the reasons of my #resignation from #NSDC. I could have made up something else. Many well-wishers told me so. It is my firm belief and conviction that any relationship on falsehood is doomed. I decided to put the details in public domain for any future employers to be aware of reality before they start considering me as a candidate and also for anyone to contest if they feel I have written falsehood.

Other reason was to stop rumour mills from grinding more stories. It is quite painful that these rumours come from top management/ coterie around them. There had been sudden exodus from #NSDC after present dispensation took over. The reason oft quoted was adverse conduct reports from intelligence agencies against those individuals. When similar rumours about me also started surfacing, It was in everybody's interest to go public. No one should be allowed the pleasure and liberty to character assassinate anyone.

#SkillIndia is an unfinished mission for me. There is, however, no regret for any of my actions during my stay with NSDC and no animosity with anyone. Each one of us have his/her own moral compass. My moral compass continues to guide me. During my tenure at #NSDC, I tried to work within limited elbow room available and was successful in bringing many positive changes. The corrupt did not have free run in my areas of responsibility and they were taken head on.

There were a lot of learnings from many well meaning, motivated and aware youngsters who worked with me and people whom I met. I came out of NSDC with lots of work satisfaction thanks to diversity of issues that came up every day. It gave me immense exposure to social development sector and made me aware of gestation period before such welfare measures start showing improvements on ground in a country as diverse as ours. These necessarily require behaviour change in society. But gestation period can be unending in case of lack of conviction and adulterated morality of implementing agencies. I would never be on side of such adulterations and corruption of silent indulgences .

Why is #skillIndia off the list of achievements of ruling dispensation in election year? Why do most of the welfare schemes in our country fail to optimise? Reasons are not difficult to fathom. While espousing at strict measures that need to be taken to stop the leakage, PM Modi have so often alluded to Late Sh Rajiv Gandhi's comment that only 15 paise of Re 1 reaches masses. Organisations like NSDC are bestowed with huge mandate. Such organisations must not be allowed to fail. The onus of this is on its top management. They should not only be essentially just and responsive but should also seem to be so.

I am not an activist, just a common Indian. I am not here to garner sympathy, or complain but just to lay bare some harsh realities.This article is not against any individuals neither an issue between a victim and a tormentor. It is against a system and the mindset that permeates thereon. It is meant to make some people feel disturbed so much disturbed that they may at sometime introspect as to how they allowed things in their control to reach such a stage.

Easy options are always available to us all- keep silent, be part of system, keep everyone happy through reciprocal relationships. But each one of us have to face self some day. Dignity, pride and self respect are precious. A born optimist with belief in goodness of human beings, I am sure, it would turn towards better some day. Things are waiting for opportune time which is just a turn away. That day, cost paid would seem to be very less and mind would be at peace. "This too shall pass."

सिर्फ हंगामा खड़ा करना मेरा मकसद नहीं, सारी कोशिश है कि ये सूरत बदलनी चाहिए।

मेरे सीने में नहीं तो तेरे सीने में सही, हो कहीं भी आग, लेकिन आग जलनी चाहिए। - दुष्यन्त कुमार

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