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Read between the lines: Senior IAS officer’s repatriation triggers speculations

By Rakesh Ranjan- 11 Jan 2024
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New Delhi (11.01.2024): In a plain note a Secretary-equivalent post falls vacant at the Centre but the repatriation of senior IAS officer Sanjay Bandopadhyay (IAS: 1988: MP) left several senior bureaucrats perplexed for the reasons of his repatriation to parent Cadre (M.P) ‘with immediate effect’.
Bandopadhyay was working as Chairman of Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) since December 2021. A section of MP Cadre IAS officers opines that one of the possible reasons could be his prospect as being appointed the next Chief Secretary of MP which appears unlikely at least for now.
The incumbent CS Veera Rana (IAS: 1988: MP) is scheduled to retire on March 31, 2024 and one cannot rule out the possibility of extension in her service tenure. Besides this, there are little chances of Veera Rana continuing as CS because MP cabinet led by Shivraj Singh Chouhan appointed her just before the counting of Assembly polls replacing Iqbal Singh Bains. Now, there is a new chief minister in the state with fresh mandate.
A section of senior officers in New Delhi observes that ‘repatriation with immediate effect’ is something that has provoked curiosity. 
It is also said that working successively under the administrative framework of Shipping secretaries junior to him (first 1991 batch IAS and currently a 1992 batch IAS) might have caused repatriation without any clear prospects in the Cadre for a better position. 
As one of the senior-most officers in the Cadre coupled with service tenure till August 31, 2024, Bandopadhyay would certainly be under consideration for the Chief Secretary post but the Centre’s mandate will play key role as well. Here lies the catch. 
The Centre first empanelled him for Secretary-equivalent post and then drafted him as Chairman IWAI to function under the administrative control of the ministry headed by junior officers and finally ‘repatriation with immediate effect’; a career progression that narrows down one’s prospects in the Cadre state functioning under the watchful eyes of New Delhi. 

(By Rakesh Ranjan)

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