Dilip Cherian | IPS officers in Maha need to wait longer for their postings

The Asian Age.  | Dilip Cherian

Opinion, Columnists

Fadnavis may be the second in command but is clearly the one who calls the shots

NewsThe continuous tussle between Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is the most likely reason for senior bureaucrats in Maharashtra to be unhappy. (Photo: PTI)

Senior bureaucrats in Maharashtra are unhappy with the state government delaying their postings. The continuous tussle between Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is the most likely reason for this. Though an ‘unnatural’ political alliance to gain power was firmed up by them, the duo are yet to settle down in their respective roles. 

Fadnavis may be the second in command but is clearly the one who calls the shots. Delayed appointments are just one of the results of this constant one-upmanship.

Sources informed DKB that a delegation of IAS officers met Chief Secretary Manu Kumar Srivastava, Fadnavis and Shinde serially before six IAS officers from the 1992 batch were promoted to additional chief secretary rank last week. The delegation had to pressure the netas to urgently promote these officers since their batchmates in other states had already been promoted.

Meanwhile, five senior IPS officers in the state have not got a posting since mid-December. They were not been assigned a position while being transferred. They have been idling since then waiting to be summoned for duty once the government makes up its mind. 

Sources added that with the approaching Budget Session of the Maharashtra Assembly, and rumours circulating about a possible state Cabinet expansion, these postings may well be delayed further.


Govt must plug digital divide before initiating any reforms


App-based attendance is proving to be an uphill task for governments to popularise. The Centre discovered this after introducing the mandatory attendance of MGNREGA labourers. The mobile app was launched in May last year as a voluntary service. However, in January, it was made mandatory for officials managing MGNREGA schemes at the panchayat level to upload photos of labourers at the worksites twice a day.

The aim is legitimate — to ensure more transparency, accountability, and efficiency, and to root out corruption. However, glitches in the implementation of the plan apart, some people fear that this is the Centre’s attempt to drive down payouts.

Now, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy is facing similar protests from state government employees. It had decided to introduce an app using facial recognition software to track staff attendance and location. At present, bureaucrats in Andhra Pradesh use an Aadhaar-enabled biometric attendance system to mark their attendance. Last year, the Reddy government introduced a facial recognition-based system in schools to track teachers’ attendance but met with backlash. Some of the concerns about the plan are of a practical nature: many babus do not own smartphones and do not know how to use them. The threat to privacy is yet another worry.

Clearly, there is a big gulf between the government’s intentions and the ground reality. Plugging the digital divide is the question that the government needs to address before initiating reforms.


Small piece of land divides  IPS, IAS officers in Punjab


Whose land is it, anyway? 

A small piece of land in the table tennis stadium complex in Jalandhar has pitted a senior Punjab IPS officer against a 2015-batch IAS officer.

The disputed land is part of the stadium but Additional Director General of Police, Punjab Armed Police-cum-Administrator of Punjab Waqf Board M.F. Farooqui claimed that it is Wakf land, and got a wall constructed to mark out the perimeter. 

However, one the same day, municipal corporation workers arrived at the site and demolished the wall. They claimed it was an encroachment. 

The Municipal Corporation commissioner Abhijeet Kaplish, however, defended the action, claiming there was no order of the tehsildar or the SDM to allow the Waqf Board to acquire the land.

The issue has escalated to the Punjab sports minister Gurmeet Singh. 

Now babus are pouring over the records to sort out the battle between the IAS and IPS officers.