EXCLUSIVE NEWS ON BUREAUCRACY

niti-acc-revisited-it-s-51-days-old-decision-alok-kumar-is-being-relieved-today-

NITI: ACC revisited it's 51 days old decision, Alok Kumar is being relieved today?

Alok Kumar (IAS:1993:UP) is being relieved today from Niti Aayog consequent upon his repatriation to cadre state (UP). Officials at NITI are perplexed over his repatriation. The development is being seen as something unusual that is a new normal now. 

It may be underlined that the ACC order dated 28 May 2020 announced him an extension for a year beyond 16.06.2020. Fifty-one days later (21.07.2020) the ACC revisited its previous decision (28.05.2020) announcing his repatriation with extended cooling-off.       

It became a talking point that what turned out counter-productive for Alok Kumar; an officer who had been shouldering over 60-70 percent of the key assignments allotted among JS level officials at NITI.  

Since the State Government itself had given its consent (NoC) for his extension in May-June it rules out the possibility that the state government would have recalled his services.  

Considering Centre’s U-turn against its 51 days old decision it appears that something would have irked the higher-ups. It is heard that there were some differences between the Ministry of Health and NITI over policy issues. But it does not sound convincing because differences in opinion are inevitable and healthy ingredients of the decision-making process.    

It is further apprehended whether the decision would cast its shadow over the empanelment for holding Additional Secretary level post in Government of India; a decision which 1993 batch officers are keenly waiting for. Alok Kumar is considered among competent officers and his repatriation leaves a question ‘where is the reward for premium’?

ALSO READ:

NITI: Tenure of Alok Kumar extended 

(28 May 2020)

NITI: Alok Kumar repatriates to parent cadre 

(21 July 2020)


31 Jul 2020
close-contest-between-three-doctors-who-will-be-manipur-cs-

Close contest between three Doctors: Who will be Manipur CS?

For Manipur Chief Minister it appears a tough task to accomplish what he aspires for. The CM is reportedly keen to continue Dr J Suresh Babu (IAS:1988:MN) given the Centre gives its concurrence. CM and Babu are considered in sync which is well known to the establishments at Centre.

It was also heard, in crucial quarters at Centre, that the State Government has not sent any such proposal to the DOPT. Extension in service to Dr Suresh Babu is possible in case CM would have taken up the extension matters directly through the top authorities at Centre which is unlikely.

On the other hand, 1986 batch IAS officer Dr Suhel Akhtar cannot be ruled out for the top job. If some well-placed sources are to be believed the Governor is keen to see Suhel as CS despite the fact that he is retiring next month.

Further, Dr Rajesh Kumar (IAS:1988:MN) is another strong claimant among others for his competence with an advantage over others in terms of service tenure. Dr Rajesh has service term till June 2022.

Coincidentally, all three are professionally qualified MBBS. It would be interesting to see the outcome which may be announced by the evening today.

31 Jul 2020
niti-acc-revisited-it-s-51-days-old-decision-alok-kumar-is-being-relieved-today-

NITI: ACC revisited it's 51 days old decision, Alok Kumar is being relieved today?

By IndianMandarins 31 Jul 2020

Alok Kumar (IAS:1993:UP) is being relieved today from Niti Aayog consequent upon his repatriation to cadre state (UP). Officials at NITI are perplexed over his repatriation. The development is being seen as something unusual that is a new normal now. 

It may be underlined that the ACC order dated 28 May 2020 announced him an extension for a year beyond 16.06.2020. Fifty-one days later (21.07.2020) the ACC revisited its previous decision (28.05.2020) announcing his repatriation with extended cooling-off.       

It became a talking point that what turned out counter-productive for Alok Kumar; an officer who had been shouldering over 60-70 percent of the key assignments allotted among JS level officials at NITI.  

Since the State Government itself had given its consent (NoC) for his extension in May-June it rules out the possibility that the state government would have recalled his services.  

Considering Centre’s U-turn against its 51 days old decision it appears that something would have irked the higher-ups. It is heard that there were some differences between the Ministry of Health and NITI over policy issues. But it does not sound convincing because differences in opinion are inevitable and healthy ingredients of the decision-making process.    

It is further apprehended whether the decision would cast its shadow over the empanelment for holding Additional Secretary level post in Government of India; a decision which 1993 batch officers are keenly waiting for. Alok Kumar is considered among competent officers and his repatriation leaves a question ‘where is the reward for premium’?

ALSO READ:

NITI: Tenure of Alok Kumar extended 

(28 May 2020)

NITI: Alok Kumar repatriates to parent cadre 

(21 July 2020)


close-contest-between-three-doctors-who-will-be-manipur-cs-

Close contest between three Doctors: Who will be Manipur CS?

By IndianMandarins 31 Jul 2020

For Manipur Chief Minister it appears a tough task to accomplish what he aspires for. The CM is reportedly keen to continue Dr J Suresh Babu (IAS:1988:MN) given the Centre gives its concurrence. CM and Babu are considered in sync which is well known to the establishments at Centre.

It was also heard, in crucial quarters at Centre, that the State Government has not sent any such proposal to the DOPT. Extension in service to Dr Suresh Babu is possible in case CM would have taken up the extension matters directly through the top authorities at Centre which is unlikely.

On the other hand, 1986 batch IAS officer Dr Suhel Akhtar cannot be ruled out for the top job. If some well-placed sources are to be believed the Governor is keen to see Suhel as CS despite the fact that he is retiring next month.

Further, Dr Rajesh Kumar (IAS:1988:MN) is another strong claimant among others for his competence with an advantage over others in terms of service tenure. Dr Rajesh has service term till June 2022.

Coincidentally, all three are professionally qualified MBBS. It would be interesting to see the outcome which may be announced by the evening today.

css-cadre-officers-hopeful-now-dopt-seeks-fresh-vacancy-position-within-10-days

CSS cadre officers hopeful now: DOPT seeks fresh vacancy position within 10 days

By IndianMandarins 29 Jul 2020

The DOPT on Tuesday wrote to Union Secretaries seeking a fresh status on vacancies in a given proforma (within 10 days or by 06 August 2020) on the latest vacancy position in their Departments/Ministries as on 30 June 2020.

DOPT’s latest move ahead of Supreme Court hearing which is expected after 22 August has sparked off hope among thousands of Central Secretariat Service (CSS) cadre officers awaiting their dues in the promotion to DS/Director level despite fulfilling all eligibility conditions and a large number of existing vacancies. ‘Reservation in promotions’ and ‘own merit in promotions’ in the Government is sub judice before the Supreme Court in an SLP titled ‘Jarnail Singh & Others Vs Lachmi Narayan Gupta & Others’ since April 2019.

In its hearing in April 2019 the SC had directed to maintain ‘status quo’ which was not much clear to the implementing authorities and later several Ministries/Departments sought clarification from DOPT as to whether they could provide reservations in promotions or apply the concept of own merit in promotions.       

As of now, more than 110 cases were tagged with the main SLP out of which 66 pertain to the Central Government and rest to various state Governments. All these cases too would get resolved once the SC comes up its judgment on the main SLP.

The lack of clarity on the ‘status quo’ has constrained the DOPT to expedite on thousands of promotions held up against existing vacancies. The CSS cadre officers have been complaining to the DOPT that the logjam in promotions has adversely affected their morale as well as the smooth functioning of the work in Govt of India. Indianmandarins had earlier learned that feeling the heat of manpower crunch at DS/Director level the Government of India has made up its mind to go for a mass recruitment drive to fill up 400 posts through lateral entry.

A Member of Parliament last month wrote to the Prime Minister that all other services were getting the promotions in spite of the pending Court cases and hence if posts could not be filled up on regular basis due to Court cases and the judgment was not expected early the promotions of CSS cadre officers could be made on an ad-hoc basis.

The SC hearing held on 22 July 2020 and DOPT’s subsequent communication to Union Secretaries seeking latest reports on existing vacancies appear to have refreshed the hope of CSS cadre officers.

meaning-of-moving-from-mines-to-ncst-the-grammar-of-governance-and-administration-

Meaning of moving from Mines to NCST: The grammar of governance and administration?

By Rakesh Ranjan 25 Jul 2020

Union Mines Secretary Sushil Kumar (lAS:1987:TR) on Friday morning laterally shifted from the Ministry of Mines to National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCST) in the rank and pay of Secretary to the Govt of India. He got his first posting as Union Mines Secretary on December 13, 2019 and within seven months got shifted elsewhere.

Immediately after the ACC order flashed on Friday morning, it took others in a flashback. It reminded several other of cases that took place in the recent past from then Consumer Affairs Secretary Pawan Kumar Aggarwal (IAS:1985:WB), I&B Secretary Ravi Mittal (IAS:1986:BH), Union Secretary, School Education and Literacy Reena Ray (IAS:1984:UT) and former Coal secretaries Inder Jit Singh (IAS:1985:KL) and Sumanta Chaudhary (IAS:1985:WB). These officers were shifted to other departments on a little different gound whereas Mrs Ray was repatriated to parent cadre. Sumanta Choudhary remained in dilemma (awaiting posting orders from the Centre) for several weeks before he chose to repatriate to West Bengal. 

But Friday’s orders left Sushil Kumar’s peers puzzled over what exactly led to this development? If some well-placed sources are to be believed he found himself constrained in responding swiftly and bringing concrete outcome to Centre’s call for a fast policy push. Reportedly, mining as a subject under the ‘State-list’ required more time to invite consultations of the state governments. Probably, Sushil Kumar’s insistence on the time-consuming consultation process irked the government leading his abrupt and unceremonious lateral shift from a significant department (Mines) to a relatively insignificant one (NCST).

Power corridors abuzz Sushil Kumar bought peace for his future. Former Coal Secretary H C Gupta’s misfortune is not an old story who is still considered among few honest officers; at least in his service peers. Some former Union secretaries remarked that Sushil Kumar was a little more fortunate than his senior Pawan Kumar Aggarwal who was shifted from Consumer Affairs (in the rank and pay of Secretary to the Govt of India) to Logistics Department in the rank and pay of Special Secretary; something which almost civil servant termed it distasteful.

After all, Civil servants know it better that, for a popular government someone’s post, rank and pay hardly matters. 

(By Rakesh Ranjan)

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secretary-level-reshuffle-effected-at-centre-course-correction-vs-realignment-

Secretary-level reshuffle effected at Centre: Course correction vs realignment?

By IndianMandarins 24 Jul 2020

Following the minor Secretary-level reshuffle at Centre people in power corridors opine that it appears more of a course correction and realignment than a reshuffle reflecting a sound objective.

Appointment of Rajesh Bhushan (lAS:1987:BH), OSD in MoHFW, as Secretary, Department of Health and Family Welfare is something which was expected. He will succeed Ms Preeti Sudan (lAS:1983:AP) on her superannuation on 31 .07.2020. 

Ram Mohan Mishra (lAS:1987:AM) was appointed as Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development vice Ajay Tirkey. Presently, Mishra is working as Secretary, National Commission for Scheduled Castes. Ajay Tirkey (IAS:1987:MP) was laterally shifted to the Department of Land Resources as Secretary vice Ruolkhumlien Buhril (lAS:1984:TN) retiring next week. Appointment in the Department of Land Resources was obviously a routine requirement.   

The appointment of Tirky on a lateral shift basis from the Ministry of Women and Child Development to Land Resources appears more of making avenue for Ram Mohan Mishra who was working on Secretary equivalent level post in the rank and pay of Secretary (GoI).  

Union Mines Secretary Sushil Kumar (lAS:1987:TR) was appointed as Secretary, National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCST) in the rank and pay of Secretary (GoI) vice Ram Mohan Mishra whereas Coal Secretary Anil Kumar Jain (lAS;1986:MP) was given the additional charge of the post of Secretary, Ministry of Mines.  

It is believed that the lateral shift of Sushil Kumar from Mines to NCST is something unusual yet unsurprising. Looking back, the Ministry of Coal and Mines have seen several abrupt and unpleasant changes at the top. Coal and Mines are tuff turfs and require a tight rope-walk. 

posting-a-junior-officer-to-supervise-seniors-work-create-ripples

Posting a junior officer to supervise seniors’ work create ripples

By IndianMandarins 25 Jun 2020

It may be a good idea to post an Indian Trade Service officer as Deputy Chairman and CEO, Tea Board if one looks at the sector from export and export promotion perspective. But ignoring the convention of seniority casts a shadow over the administrative framework and overall efficiency. This is something that is apprehended in the Tea Board as well.

Utpal Acharya, a 2008 batch Indian Trade Service Officer, has been given six months' charge of Deputy Chairman and CEO, Tea Board. A 2008 batch officer has been drafted to replace a 1988 IPS officer Arun Ray who has reportedly decided to prematurely repatriate to cadre state of Assam/Meghalaya. Ray is supposed to have brought about remarkable changes to the auction process in Tea Board.

As ED Acharya would have the mandate of overseeing the work of several officers seniors to him namely; Sanjiv Kumar (IFS:1997:UP), PK Sahoo (IOFS:1997); M Balaji (IAS:2005); Soundararajan, Director (GoI).

Likewise in Coffee Board, even when there are two Director level officers already present, including N N Narendra (IOFS:2002) they will report to Naveen Kushalappa (ITS 2007) who is junior to them.

Also in Tobacco Board, there is existing Director level ED Sridhar Babu (IAS:2008) but his work will be supervised by Muthuraj ITS who is junior to him. Other plantations boards are next on radar to do the same.

Now since the charge is given is for 6 months, will their ACRs be written by junior officers?

Several officers are apprehensive that soon the same pattern may be exercised in other plantation Boards like Plantations Exports Development Authority (PEDA), Tobacco Board, Coffee Board etc. Contrary to these views there are several officers who believe that sometimes it becomes necessary for the administrative ministry to look beyond seniority.

cmd-may-be-denied-extension-an-ias-officer-tipped-for-nmdfc-post

CMD may be denied extension, an IAS officer tipped for NMDFC post

By IndianMandarins 07 Jun 2020

If some well-placed sources are to be believed the NaMo administration may deny an extension in tenure of Mohammad Shahbaz Ali; the outgoing CMD of National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation (NMDFC), a Central  PSU under the Ministry of Minority Affairs. Shahbaz Ali is completing his five years term on 11 June.

Reportedly, the NaMo administration is considering to post an IAS as Ali’s successor.

cadre-merger-that-never-was

Cadre merger that never was

By Rakesh Ranjan 28 May 2020

The perpetually warring cadres of Indian Railways were said to be the curse of the government. They were said to oppose reforms, fought for resources and lobbied for sub-optimal projects. The Prime Minister ordered the right anti-dote for the sickness - MERGE THE CADRES.

 

Accordingly, a proposal was made for a merger and the Cabinet approved the plan in double quick time, such was the urgency of the matter. The Chairman Railway Board, V K Yadav, asked for and got an extension for a year to implement the plan. This was many months before the COVID crisis, yet little action was taken. Now the COVID is considered a deterrent to the merger of the cadre.

 

Interesting to recall that the cadre merger plan met with vehement resistance from the Civil Services entrants, who claimed that the interdepartmental fight of IRSME and IRSEE should have been solved just by merging these two cadres. Why create a serious technical crisis by bringing humanities and engineering graduates into a single fold?

 

Well, the plan doesn’t end there. There was a proposal to restructure the Railway Board, first such exercise after 1925, when the Railway Board was created. The Cabinet was assured, which was accepted in good faith, that the Board would be restructured on a functional basis, with separate Members looking after Passenger Business, Freight Business, Infrastructure, Finance and headed by the CRB, now wielding the power of a CEO. All these posts would be ex-cadre. Also, there would be a DG, Human Resources, an ex-cadre post again.

 

Now, not only is the IRMS cadre nowhere near creation, having been assigned to an Empowered Group of Ministers or Secretaries, the restructuring of the Board, which was a far easier task has been put off as well. As a result, the following are the distortion’s that have crept in and being further enhanced:

 

1. The post of Financial Commissioner, originally encadred for the Indian Railways Accounts Service (IRAS) continues to be so. An Additional Member or IRAS, Majula Rangarajan, has been looking after the role for several months now. Now, there is a proposal to promote her to Apex Grade to make her a full-fledged FC, just a few months before her retirement. Many say it is a reward for her signing on the dotted lines on proposals to privatise the Railways. But several others say that in fact she was the only one who wrote on file against the merger of cadres and for which she was denied full-fledged FC for long and she continued as AM/Finance looking after the post of FC.

 

2. The post of Member Staff, which was to be surrendered under the Cabinet Approved reforms, continues to exist. Member Traction, Rajesh Tiwari held this post on a dual charge basis for many months. Upon protests by the IRPS cadre, the Additional Member (Staff), Anand S Khati was deputed to look after this post for some time. Anand Khati has recently been moved as DG Human Resources (DGHR) in the same grade as AM. Now, there is a proposal to grant him, Apex Grade, as DGHR.

 

3. DPC for grant of Apex Grade to Manjula Rangarajan and Anand Khati is underway. People ask if this is a restructured Board, the posts of FC and DGHR should be filed on ex-Cadre basis from out of General Managers. Why are these officers being given higher grade in ex-Cadre posts over many seniors, who are working as General Managers and are in the same grade as these two from earlier dates.

 

4. It is not clear if the Railway Board has been restructured or not. The post of Member Rolling Stock (MRS) encadred to IRSME should have gone to LC Trivedi, General Manager of East Central Railway, who was eligible by all norms. In another case of alleged discrimination against the IRSME, LC Trivedi was never promoted. If Restructuring of the Board was the cause for not promoting LC Trivedi, why was the post of MRS not surrendered? Why was it given on a dual charge basis to PC Sharma an IRSS officer?

 

5. The posts of FC and DGHR now open to all cadres are sought to be filled from old cadres. The appropriate step would have been to make new recruitment rules and define eligibility of candidates for these if Rail Bhawan was serious about the Cabinet approved cadre merger plan.

 

The above-mentioned facts, perspectives may appear mutually differing and at some point mutually contradictory as well. But all its part of a process. Like any new move creation of combines IRMS cadre too can not be full-proof and can not keep everyone contended. But it is also true that running on the steel wheels Indian Railways itself is run by the very bureaucracy termed as a steel frame and behind the iron curtains of the Rail Bhawan, everything is not so fair causing frustration and anger of officers.

 

A discontented lot of officers of Indian Railways blame DOPT saying either has its hands are full or it does not care for eight thousand Group A Officers, a group larger than most other cadres put together. The intervention of the PMO or the DOPT is not always a solution rather it calls for introspection to restore the faith of Railway Officers in government, governance and administration.

(By Rakesh Ranjan)

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