Interview with Pu Lalrohlua Chhakchhuak , MCS

A simple bureaucrat with a zeal for good governance

I have never met him but I have often heard of him as we have common friends and passed out (HSLC) the same year. I have been following him on Twitter and he sounds like an interesting person, someone of my age group, working for the Government who often tweet a bit of insight into the working of the Government machinery. I did saw him at a quiz competition back in School where he won. Inspired by Coffee with Karan and being curious about the role of the State Civil Service in Mizoram, I asked Rohlua if he would do a casual interview for my blog. Rohlua, thanks a lot for taking the time to answer my otherwise boring questions.

Can you please introduce yourself?

I am a simple bureaucrat with a zeal for good governance.

I heard you got an offer from IBM upon graduation through campus placement, why didn't you join?

The urge to join the Civil Service was the main reason for not taking up the job offer from IBM. The decision was, indeed, a difficult one.

In plain English, what does an MCS offer do?

MCS is indeed the backbone of civil administration in Mizoram, perhaps due to the small number of IAS Officers in the State. MCS Officers have a wide diversity of job ranging from Block level administration (as BDO), Sub Divisional administration (as SDO(Sadar), SDO(C)), District administration (DC, Addl. DC, SDC). MCS Officers do have an important role in policy formulation in the State Secretariat where they are posted as Secretary, Addl. Secy, Joint Secy, Deputy Secy as well as Under Secy. Further, MCS Officers play an important role in policy implementation in the Directorates as Directors, Jt. Directors, Dy. Directors and Asst. Directors. More specifically, MCS Officers play an important role in the Departments of General Administration, Rural Development, Disaster Management, Election, Revenue, Urban Development, Local Administration, Prisons, Printing & Stationery, Transport, Food & Civil Supplies, etc.

I believe you are currently posted as Under Secretary at DP&AR, what exactly do you do?

Yes, I am currently posted as Under Secretary, DP&AR (General Service Wing) and Nodal Officer, DP&AR (Good Governance Cell). Under General Serving Wing, the main tasks before me are

1) Framing/amendment of Recruitment Rules/Service Rules 2) Extension of service/re-employment of retired Govt. officials 3) Deputation of Govt Officials to ex-cadre/foreign service posts 4) Examination of cases relating to alteration of Date of Birth 5) Examination of agenda papers for promotion of Group ‘B’ Gazetted Officers & above before sending it to MPSC/Attending Departmental Promotion Committee meeting for promotion of Group ‘B’ Non Gazetted Officers and below 6) Examination of cases relating to seniority 7) Recognition of service associations 8) Conduct of Examinations under UPSC/SSC 9) All matters connected to MPSC 10) Performance Appraisal of Officers and Staff

As the Nodal Officer, GGC, my main tasks are

1) Implementation of Results Framework Document (RFD) 2) Management of public grievance redressal portal 3) Implementation of Citizens Charter 4) Implementation of recommendations of 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission, etc. Now we are currently initiating draft bill on Right to Public Service on the lines of Right to Service Act being implemented in MP, J&K, Assam, etc

What’s the career path of an MCS officer?

There are six different grades for an MCS Officer. Promotion to higher grades depends on performance plus availability of vacancy in such grades. These are

  1. Junior Grade (BDO, SDC, ASO, AD, etc)
  2. Senior Grade (SDO(S), U/S, DD, EO, DTO, SO, DLAO, DRC etc after 5 years in Junior Grade)
  3. Junior Administrative Grade (Addl. DC, D/S, JD, etc after 5 years in Senior Grade or 10 years of service with 2 years in Senior Grade)
  4. Selection Grade (Jt. Secy, Director, etc. after 5 years in JAG or 15 years of service with 2 years in JAG)
  5. Supertime Grade ‘B’ (Addl. Secy after 5 years in Selection Grade or 20 years of service with 2 years in Selection Grade)
  6. Supertime Grade ‘A’ (Secretary after 25 years of service).

Has your Engineering education help you in your line of work?

Yes, my engineering degree is helpful in various ways. First, we were the first RD Block to launch a Block level website when I was posted as BDO in Khawbung RD Block. In fact, we received a letter of appreciation from CS. Second, my engineering education also came in handy for taking up IT based initiatives under GGC such as RFD, public grievance portal, etc Third, it enabled me to be more analytical in my approach to work.

How comfortable are your peers with Information Technology?

Majority of my peers are comfortable with IT and its basic application with the exception of some of the senior most ones. I believe that there are 125 members out of a total of 185 MCS officers in the Facebook group for MCS implies that most of them are more or less conversant with basic IT skills.

What do you like and dislike in your job?

Overall, I really love my job. I love the experiences of working as a Block level Officer in the fields as also the highly clerical yet challenging tasks in the Secretariat. One thing I wasn’t really comfortable was handling pressure from local party workers while working in the field.

When one browses through Mizo Facebook groups, it looks as though everything is below par and sub standard in Mizoram. Whats your view?

We are good at criticisms, such criticisms should at least be constructive. Bad things are often exaggerated while the good ones are hardly noticed. Things are not so bad as portrayed in FB groups!

You sometimes tweet about walking home. I know you do it out of choice but are you not provided a vehicle? On such days what do you tell your driver?

I did walk home a few times from Office since I am not provided a vehicle. In fact, in the State Secretariat, vehicles are provided only for Jt. Secy level and above Officers. Nowadays, I hardly walk home from Office but I used to walk in the morning

You know I hate Paulians. Because they are soooooo Paulian! For a few reasons I didn’t join St Pauls. I believe I could have. Heck, I shared the 2nd Rank in MESLC 2005 with a smart girl from Home Missions. I went to Mount Carmel instead. Looking back I often think I missed the company of the competitive minds at St Pauls. On average we weren’t much less brilliant but far less competitive at Mount Carmel. I bet you agree?

Yes Paulians are so Paulians☺. I believe there is a strong sense of bond that keeps Paulians together long after passing out from the School. In fact, our batch is planning to have a re-union on the 18th August at Aijal Club!! I do agree that there are lots of brilliant Mizo students outside St. Paul’s. The teaching methodology there in St. Paul’s may not always be outstanding, yet I believe that the spirit of competition inculcated in the minds of the students is what makes St. Paul’s tick.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Benjamin Rualthanzauva’s story.