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  Opinion   Columnists  05 Mar 2021  Dilip Cherian | Diplomatic pool to get eight new joint secys soon

Dilip Cherian | Diplomatic pool to get eight new joint secys soon

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Published : Mar 5, 2021, 7:37 am IST
Updated : Mar 5, 2021, 7:37 am IST

It is a known fact that India’s foreign service is woefully understaffed, with most Indian missions abroad having too few diplomats


The ministry of external affairs (MEA) has been quite keen to add more joint secretaries to the diplomatic pool to staff new embassies and consulates being set up in various countries. Now, after some wait, headway has been made in this direction with the government planning to empanel eight IFS officers of the 2003 batch as joint secretaries.

According to sources, the cadre controlling authority of the IFS was ready with its list in December last year but was asked to wait since the government was about to empanel 41 IAS officers from the 2003 batch. The department of personnel and training (DoPT) reportedly informed MEA that there should be a gap of one month in the empanelment process between the IAS and IFS. It is further learnt that, except for Devesh Uttam who is posted in the country, the remaining seven IFS officers are posted abroad.

It is a known fact that India’s foreign service is woefully understaffed, with most Indian missions abroad having too few diplomats. This could be a small step towards addressing this grievance.

Sreedharan pads up for another innings

The BJP wants to be a serious contender in Kerala and is hoping that “Metro Man” E. Sreedharan’s induction in the party will help it make inroads in the impending Assembly elections. Will the gamble pay off?

Mr Sreedharan has enjoyed a full innings in his illustrious career, immense credibility with the aam aadmi as an honest and efficient technocrat as well as respect among politicians across party lines, and picked up a Padma Shri, Padma Vibhushan and a host of other national and international honours.

Why would the man who shot to fame with the Delhi Metro project and who advised the Kerala government on Metro projects in the state and who is also involved in the other Metro projects in Jaipur and Lucknow want a stab at politics (and chief ministership, no less!) at the ripe age of 88 years?

Clearly, he enjoys wearing many hats. And a politician’s topi would be the crowning glory of his career if he can manage the challenge of transforming from technocrat into a neta. His future progress will be watched closely by not just politicians but also bureaucrats who may be nurturing similar ambitions themselves.

MP chief minister finds his mojo

The usually affable and soft-spoken Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is a different man in his fourth term, according to the babus in the state. By some accounts, he seems to have set the proverbial cat among the pigeons! Mr Chouhan, it appears, is attempting an image makeover. The soft-spoken veneer has been replaced by a hard-nosed leader in “full action” mode.

The result of this transformation has been directed at the babus who, sources say, have begun to dread the CM’s new-found penchant to order the transfer of officers, sometimes during a meeting itself. According to sources, Mr Chouhan has unceremoniously transferred more than six district magistrates and SPs so far and seems to be in an unrelenting mood. One IPS officer, Vahini Singh, the SP of Niwari district, was transferred during a meeting by Mr Chouhan, who also told the gathered officials in as many words that he was keeping a close tab on them. Other officers transferred in this period are the SP of Guna Rajesh Singh, and the DMs of Neemuch and Betul, J.S. Raje and Rakesh Singh.

Those in the know say that the chief minister is using the monthly meetings with state officials to scare them into submission through these tactics. Mr Chouhan means business is the unmistaken message and it seems to be hitting its mark quite effectively!

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Tags: e sreedharan, ministry of external affairs (mea), dilip cherian column, madhya pradesh chief minister shivraj singh chouhan