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Dilli Ka Babu: Power tussle during polls

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Published : May 19, 2019, 5:07 am IST
Updated : May 19, 2019, 5:07 am IST

The Modi sarkar has been working at streamlining the bureaucracy, to cut out the deadwood from the government.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu
 Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu

Barely weeks after polling and with a change of guard widely expected, Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu is at loggerheads with the state chief secretary L.V. Subramanyam. According to sources, the tussle is about who gets to control the routine administration until the votes are counted and result declared on May 23.

While Mr Naidu and his ministers argue that his government is fully empowered to take decisions on every matter, the chief secretary is objecting to several review meetings held by the CM. The tussle has split the IAS and IPS lobbies into two camps.

Sources say that Mr Subramanyam, a 1983 batch IAS officer appointed as the chief secretary by the Election Commission before the polling, is now presiding over every sphere of governance in the state. Mr Naidu wants to continue his routine administrative activities, reviewing departments and issuing orders. They cite the instance when some pro-Subramanyam babus called a meeting of the AP IAS Officers’ Association, but pressure from the CM’s office led to its cancellation. It seems now that only the election results will, hopefully, sort out things in the state government.

Whipping ’em into shape
The Modi sarkar has been working at streamlining the bureaucracy, to cut out the deadwood from the government. Sources say that over the last four years, between 2015 and 2018, the Centre reviewed the service records of over 1,100 IAS officers, especially those who have completed 25 years of service or have attained the age of 50 years. The purpose of the review is to zero in on non-performers.

The rules state that the Central government in consultation with the state government concerned may ask an IAS officer to retire in public interest by giving at least three months’ notice in writing or three months’ pay and allowances in lieu of such notice. Sources have revealed that of 1,143 officers reviewed, four — two from Chhattisgarh cadre, and one each from Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and Union Territories (AGMUT) cadre and Bihar cadre — were recommended for premature retirement in public interest.

However, some states like Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana, Tripura and Uttarakhand have not carried out an intensive review of the record of officers.

Babu goes against superiors
It doesn’t happen often that a state administration officer takes on senior IAS officers, including the state chief secretary. But a Karnataka Administrative Service (KAS) officer has lodged a complaint with the state Human Rights Commission against the Chief Secretary and nine other IAS officers, apparently the first such instance in the state.

Sources say that K. Mathai, an administrative officer in the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms (DPAR) has alleged “continuous human rights violations” against him by his superiors for exposing a land scam. Mathai, it is said, has been transferred 27 times in 10 years by the state government.

In his complaint to the commission, Mr Mathai has mentioned Chief Secretary T.M. Vijaya Bhaskar and nine senior IAS officers for their alleged role in violating his human rights. Sources say that Mr Mathai has highlighted the grievances of many KAS officers who allege harassment by their senior officers and politicians. The proceedings in Mr Mathai’s complaint to the human rights panel will, no doubt, be followed closely by bureaucrats in Karnataka.

Tags: chandrababu naidu, ias officers