Sources say that with Karnataka Assembly elections approaching, the government did not want to ruffle feathers in the bureaucracy.
With the appointment of Ratna Prabha as the new chief secretary, Karnataka now has women officers heading the administration as well as the police force. Just last month chief minister Siddaramaiah had named senior IPS officer Neelamani N. Raju as the police chief, a first for the state.
Sources say that with Karnataka Assembly elections approaching, the government did not want to ruffle feathers in the bureaucracy. There had been a hue and cry last year when
Ms Prabha lost out to her 1981-batchmate Subhash Khuntia for the chief secretary’s post. The chief minister had been accused by the Opposition of overlooking Ms Prabha and appointing the low-profile Khuntia, who was in Delhi in the Central government since 2012.
This time Mr Siddaramaiah seemingly chose to play safe by not disturbing the seniority status, even though Ms Prabha will have a tenure of four months before the state elections. She is the third woman chief secretary of the state.
Academicians out, babus in
The position of joint director at National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), the second in command in the hierarchy, has traditionally been earmarked for academicians. The government now wants to change it. Sources say this could be the reason why the joint director’s post has been vacant for nearly a year now.
Initially, the human resources development ministry had sought applications for the post through an advertisement in January. Nothing more was heard on the issue until the ministry issued another advertisement on November 15, with a few changes in the eligibility criteria.
In the past, the position was given to academicians with at least five years’ experience in professor grade. The new advertisement indicates that the government wishes to allot the post to a bureaucrat. The ministry has now sought applications from “willing and eligible officers who have been empanelled to hold joint secretary or equivalent posts at the Centre”. It appears that academicians’ loss is babus’ gain.
Govt tweaks rules for security posts
In order to induct two senior police officers in the elite Special Protection Group (SPG), the Centre has had to temporarily upgrade two posts of deputy inspector general (DIG) to inspector general (IG). The IPS officers are Alok Sharma of the 1991 batch and S. Suresh of the 1995 batch, both currently with the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB). Mr Sharma belongs to Uttar Pradesh cadre whereas Mr Suresh is a Kerala cadre IPS officer.
The SPG are charged with protecting India’s Prime Minister, former PMs and their families. This “lateral shift” entailed upgrading the two DIG posts to IG level for two years or “until further orders”. The question is whether this induction is a “one-off” thing or whether the government will tweak rules as and when it needs to bring in certain police officers babus to particular positions in the security establishment.