The thin line between government and party often gets blurred in the nitty-gritty of politics.
It now appears that Jammu & Kashmir chief secretary B.B. Vyas may get a third six-month extension. Mr Vyas was scheduled to retire in November last year but he has since been given an extension twice, each of three months. His extended term is scheduled to end this month-end.
According to sources, based on J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti’s recommendation, the state government is consulting the Centre on keeping Mr Vyas, a 1986-batch Rajasthan cadre officer, in the saddle. Earlier, he served as principal secretary to governor N.N. Vohra, as well as three successive chief ministers — Omar Abdullah, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and Mehbooba Mufti.
If Mr Vyas indeed gets to stay on, it would put paid to the claims of two IAS officers, B.R. Sharma and K.B. Agarwal, who are senior to him. Mr Sharma actually enjoyed a brief spell as chief secretary but was dramatically replaced by Mr Vyas, following which he proceeded on Central deputation.
Mr Agarwal was recalled last year from Delhi where he served as principal resident commissioner of J&K government. Contrary to tradition, he agreed to a posting in the civil secretariat despite being senior to chief secretary Vyas.
SC agrees with Centre
The Supreme Court has upheld the decision taken by the Central government to scrap the limited competitive examination (LCE) recruitment for making appointments to the Indian Police Service (IPS). In 2012, the UPSC had invited applications for filling up posts in the IPS through LCE, and written tests and interviews were conducted but the results have not been announced till date.
The amendment of the Indian Police Service (Recruitment) Amended Rules, 2011 introducing LCE in addition to the normal modes of recruitment, was challenged in a multitude of petitions filed in different high courts. The court agreed that if the Centre was compelled to make the appointments, it will lead to a plethora of litigations where those recruited to the IPS between 2013 and 2018 will claim seniority over the persons who appeared in the LCE.
In January this year, the Central government stated before the court that it had taken a decision to scrap the LCE held in the year 2012, which was objected to by candidates who had appeared in the LCE. The three-judge bench comprising justice Madan, justice Kurian Joseph and justice Deepak Gupta then proceeded to decide whether the decision to scrap the LCE recruitment was justified.
Babus fan out to villages
The thin line between government and party often gets blurred in the nitty-gritty of politics. What was initially meant to be a work for the BJP workers is now the task of some 1,000 “class 1 Central government officers” who have been told to visit over 20,000 villages spread across 509 districts in 28 states by the government to spread the message about the work done by it on seven Central schemes, including the Gram Swaraj Abhiyan programme.
The “project” kicked off last week, though the when and why of the switch in responsibility for spreading the message from party cadre to government babus has not been explained. Though their involvement may appear unwarranted, for these senior Central government officials there is no getting away from the programme as it would be closely monitored. According to a ministry note, daily targets would be set by every ministry and department. There would also be a dashboard/ portal for monitoring if these targets are met.
Apparently, the plan was outlined in a letter sent by secretary, rural development, Amarjeet Sinha, addressed to chief secretaries of all states and Union territories and secretaries in the government of India among others.