Dilli Ka Babu: Tough on corruption

Columnist  | Dilip Cherian

Opinion, Oped

Obviously, the current government policy is a boon for the other services who are entering positions held earlier by the IAS.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath (Photo: File)

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, who is running a campaign against corruption, has reportedly sought the records of over 100 officials, including Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and state service, whose names have figured in corruption cases. Sources say that at least 300 officials and employees of the state government are under the chief minister’s scanner for their alleged involvement in financial irregularities.

The decision to crack down was reportedly taken at a recent meeting in the chief minister’s office and attended by chief secretary Anup Chandra Pandey, principal secretary (home) Arvind Kumar and director-general of police O.P. Singh. It is being seen as a strong message about the chief minister’s intention to crack down on corruption, not just in his regime but also during the tenure of his predecessors. He has also sought files of cases that took place during the SP and BSP rule. According to reports, following this order, babus in Uttar Pradesh are in a tizzy!

Cadre allocation put off
The Centre has put off implementing the proposal linking cadre allocation of new Indian Administrative Service officers with their performance in the foundation course. The department of personnel and training (DoPT) has, therefore, announced the service allocation of the 848 candidates who cleared the Civil Service Exam (CSE) last year as per existing criteria.

Sources say that the reason is lack of consensus between the cadre-controlling ministries of various services on the issue. The proposal to tweak service allocation norms had also run into political trouble.

However, it is not yet known whether the government has decided to shelve the proposal, made by the D.S. Kothari Commission back in the 1970s. As of now, the decision not to implement the proposal is only for the current year. This should give the government time to involve the Union Public Service Commission in the process since the proposal requires overhauling the entire CSE procedures.

IAS losing grip
Is it no longer important being an Indian Administrative Service officer in the Narendra Modi sarkar? The government seems to be increasingly relying on other all-India services for joint secretary-level positions rather than the “heaven-born”. According to sources, this year, the Centre so far has empanelled only 11 IAS officers for joint secretary-level posts, compared to 87 officers in 2014 when it came to power. On the other hand, it has empanelled 45 officers from the Indian Forest Service (IFoS), 56 officers from the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) and 70 officers from the Indian Police Service (IPS) for these posts.

Is the Modi government consciously trying to dilute the IAS dominance by changing the landscape of Central deputation? Or is there a shortage of IAS officers caused by what has long been said about the reluctance of officials at the state level to move to Delhi and work under the Modi government?

Obviously, the current government policy is a boon for the other services who are entering positions held earlier by the IAS. After all, they have always complained of discrimination in the rules of empanelment, which favour the IAS. Perhaps Mr Modi is trying to convey that talent is not restricted to the IAS alone. And allowing lateral entry to private sector talent in the higher echelons of bureaucracy is another sign that the ground seems to be shifting from under their feet.