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Ad-hocism at top invites criticism: UP administration creates history

By Indian Mandarins- 14 Feb 2020
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Over six months have passed since the brute majority Uttar Pradesh government has failed to get a regular Chief Secretary; a rank and post that plays key role in the administrative framework of any state. For the last few months it has been drawing criticisms in the power corridors of Delhi for its indecisiveness. Sometimes it is termed as a ‘strong government with weak administration’ and sometimes as ‘weak government with strong mandate’. It might be a coincidence that Hitesh Chandra Awasthy too is holding the additional charge of DGP post for want of UPSC’s consent on the panel.

There are several theories doing round that explain the reasons behind this uncertainty in UP administration. Probably any other Govt would have ensured clarity at the top ahead of crucial ‘Ayodhya verdict’ but that too passed; though smoothly. And this is something which is often cited as Yogi Adityanath Govt's strength and endurance. 

Agriculture Production Commissioner R K Tiwari (IAS:1985:UP) was on September 01, 2019 given additional charge of Chief Secretary. It is for the first time in the history of UP when a key position like CS is being run under an ad-hoc arrangement for more than six months. Even previous coalition state governments in UP ensured clarity at the top echelons of the administrative machinery.

Interestingly, UP does not have any dearth of officers at senior level having the qualification to become full-fledged Chief Secretary. If integrity has been an issue R K Tiwari too is considered among the best lot of officers. Further, it is said that in a state where social equations matter a lot, the Yogi Govt might be in dilemma while drafting Brahmins both as CS and DGP.

Until August-September last year names of Union Urban Affairs Secretary D S Mishra (IAS:1984:UP) and Union Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal (IAS:1984:UP) did rounds.

Amid delays in announcing regular CS initially, it was assumed that it might be the reflection of a stand-off between the Centre and the State Govt over the choice of a particular officer. But with the passage of time this theory fell flat.

Further, it is said that the Yogi government is inclined to draft Avanish Kumar Awasthy (IAS:1987:UP) as Chief Secretary but superseding over a half dozen senior IAS officers in the state would be a little difficult at this point of time.

There are a few who also believe that an ad-hoc arrangements often suit to a powerful establishment. Whatever be the reason behind this apparently perpetual arrangement it is being keenly watched as till how long the top job hangs in balance.

(By Rakesh Ranjan)

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