Karnataka IAS officer, Manivannan P has been transferred on 11th May 2020.
Until Monday, Manivannan served as Karnataka's Principal Secretary for Labour department. He was also associated with the Information and Public Relations department. A 1998 batch IAS officer, Captain Manivannan was district in-charge during Shivamogga floods of 2019. He has also held senior postings in other departments such as Social Welfare, Urban Water Supply, Drainage Board, and BESCOM (Bengaluru Electric Supply Company Ltd).
Prior to his ouster, Captain Manivannan endeared himself with his actions. Workers who had not been paid by employers were helped by Captain. Several firms defaulted on paying salaries to staffers and workers for the month of April. Captain took to Twitter quoting labour minister Shivaram Hebbar as having directed to issue notice to employers who had not paid salary/full wages. Such workers were requested to report their complaints. Over a thousand complaints were recorded by the labour ministry.
Over a thousand complained after Captain asked them to do so.
Captain Manivannan also helped blue-collar complainants who sought relief from social platforms after their employees left them with no financial assistance. Help in the form of assistance was also rendered via a dedicated Telegram group, the brainchild of Captain Manivannan that helped answer labour specific queries. Sadly, his approach towards tackling complaints over social media platforms did not go down well with the corporate world.
His style of working lead to resentment within Karnataka's industrial circles and associations. A few agencies and associations even made representations against Manivannan. For instance, Karnataka Small Scale Industries Ltd's (KASSIA) spokesperson had this to say on Manivanna's ouster - "We felt his actions were anti-industry. He was giving stern warnings of penal action if we defaulted on payment of wages. He also set up a helpline..."
A ToI report quotes R Raju, VP for KASSIA as saying, "He should have been a facilitator between labour, government and entrepreneurs — he was not doing that. He is a government representative who was not interested in a mutually acceptable solution. He was one-sided in his approach."
Raju further added, "In normal circumstances, I would say Manivannan's actions were perfectly right. But we are in an unprecedented situation."
M Maheshwar Rao, Principal Secretary for Commerce & Industries and Mines & MSME department will take up the additional charge of Manivannan's departments. A replacement may soon be announced by the state government.
Captain Manivannan's Twitter is open to comments after his unceremonious and suprise ouster.
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Text: Sify Finance
Cartoonist: Satish Acharya