Health being a state subject, the government is awaiting the views of the states to the proposal.
The Niti Aayog’s strategy document “Strategy for New India@75” has recommended several measures to reform the Indian bureaucracy. Among them is compulsory retirement for underperforming babus, reducing the number of existing civil services, and bringing down the age limit for general category candidates from 32 years to 27 years, among many others. The thinktank has also suggested one all-India examination for both state and central civil services.
While many of these suggested “reforms” would be just what the doctor ordered to revive the ailing civil services, sources say that the government is unlikely to take them up for fear of having to pay a “political price” during the general elections, barely a few months away. The Niti Aayog is not the first to make these recommendations. Several committees and the Second Administrative Reforms Commission have done so earlier, but these reports were shelved for fear of disturbing the status quo. The earlier reports are reportedly languishing since the government fears the political ramifications. In all likelihood, the Niti Aayog’s suggestions will meet the same fate.
Medical service cadre in limbo
In 2017, the Modi sarkar moved a proposal to set up an All India Medical Service (AIMS) cadre along the lines of the IAS and IPS. Though a long-pending demand of medical professionals, the proposal is still to make any meaningful headway. Health being a state subject, the government is awaiting the views of the states to the proposal.
According to sources, though the Union health secretary had written to all chief secretaries soliciting their response, only six states have responded so far. These include Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Sikkim, Goa and Mizoram. Two union territories — Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Andaman and Nicobar — have also replied. But even among these states, Andhra Pradesh has sought a more comprehensive proposal from the Union Health Ministry before signing on. And since any further development will depend on the responses of the various state governments, it does seem that the proposal may take a long while before it comes through.
Indian Police Service (IPS) officers are reportedly upset with the recommendations made by a parliamentary committee headed by former Union minister P. Chidambaram, which asked the government to end their hegemony over the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF). The Parliamentary Committee for Home recommended that the services of IPS officers in these forces be gradually phased out, and their deputation be reduced to just 25 per cent.
While the report has come as a vindication of the sentiments of CAPF officers, IPS officers have declared the recommendation “unnecessary” and “dangerous”. While each force consists of its own cadres, they are all, as a rule, headed by IPS officers, who occupy the position of the director-general (DG). Even other positions like the additional DG, inspector-general and deputy IG are mostly reserved for IPS officers. This has led to enormous resentment among officers of the CAPF cadre, who believe their exclusion from the top ranks in their own forces is “discriminatory and unfair”.
The panel, however, felt that allowing CAPF cadre officers to head their own forces would not only “go a long way to boost the morale of the CAPFs but will also provide a bigger pool of qualified officers”.
Dismayed by the recommendations of the committee, the IPS Association is contemplating writing to Mr Chidambaram and the other members. Not surprisingly, they are being supported by the IAS Association.