With a spate of retirements due over the next few months, Kerala is likely to face an acute shortage of experienced IAS officers. While additional chief secretary (revenue and disaster management), P.H. Kurien, retired last month, additional chief secretary (home and vigilance) Subrata Biswas is due to depart in April and additional chief secretary (health and family welfare) Rajeev Sadanandan in May 2019.
Secretary of cultural affairs, animal husbandry, dairy development and zoo departments Anil Xavier, secretary of general administration (sainik welfare) department Sumana N. Menon, land revenue commissioner A.T. James, Supplyco chairman and managing director M.S. Jaya and Kerala State Cooperative Bank director E. Devadas are also set to retire in a few months.
Chief of vigilance and anti-corruption bureau, DGP B.S. Muhammed Yasin is scheduled to retire on February 28. Since the post of vigilance director is a cadre post and also a sensitive post that can build or tarnish the image of the government, the government may be extra careful while finding the replacement.
Speak up, pay the price
While Sushant Kumar Mishra, a 1985 batch officer of the Indian railway traffic service (IRTS), has taken over as the new railway board secretary, there is a fascinating tale behind the removal of his predecessor Ranjanesh Sahai. Mr Sahai, sources say, has paid the price for seeking action against the powerful Union minister Jitendra Singh’s OSD for casting “aspersions” on the railway minister and questioning the wisdom of senior officials in an article. Mr Sahai wrote to the department of personnel and training (DoPT) seeking the immediate repatriation of Sanjiv Kumar, a 2005 batch officer of the Indian railway personnel service (IRPS) for “breach of official decorum and misconduct”. Mr Kumar is officer on special duty (OSD) to Mr Jitendra Singh, who holds multiple portfolios, including minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office and for development of Northeastern region.
A case of breach of official decorum and misconduct of Mr Sanjiv Kumar, IRPS, has been brought to the notice of the railway board. Mr Sanjiv Kumar has authored an article which, Mr Sahai claimed, questions the wisdom of senior functionaries of the level of secretary to the government of India and also casts aspersions on the minister of railways (Piyush Goyal). Mr Sahai asked DoPT secretary C. Chandramouli to consider immediate repatriation of Mr Sanjiv Kumar, IRPS, to this Ministry for taking action as deemed appropriate. It added that the issue had the approval of the railway board chairman. However, it turned out that it is Mr Sahai who got axed.
Taxmen reclaim turf
Though the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is under the department of revenue, Ministry of Finance, it has for long been led by IAS and IPS officers, which has caused much grief to Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officers who form the bulk of its workforce. According to sources, the last time the ED had an IRS officer as chief was 15 years ago. Until now.
The Modi sarkar which has, of late, sought to appoint non-IAS officers to senior posts, broke the “false ceiling” by appointing S.K. Mishra, a former income tax officer as ED chief. Now, sources say, Mr Mishra is keen to reclaim the Directorate for officers belonging to the IRS from their IAS and IPS counterparts.
According to sources, Mr Mishra is pushing for key vacancies in the agency to be filled with IRS officers. At present, there are 12 vacant posts in the ED, including three special directors, seven joint directors and two additional directors. It is being reported that the candidates under consideration for the appointments were all from the IRS.