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Hemant writes to PM, calls IAS (Cadre) Rules amendment draft ‘draconian’

Ranchi: Chief minister Hemant Soren on Saturday expressed strong reservations over government of India’s bid to introduce certain amendments in the IAS (Cadre) Rules, 1954. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Soren informed that the state government has formally communicated its disagreement on the proposed amendments vide letter no. 175 dated 12.01.2022.

He added, “In the meantime, we have received another draft of the proposed amendments in the cadre rules of All India Services which, prima facie, appear to be more draconian than the previous proposal. I feel constrained to write this letter to express my strong reservations and apprehensions about these proposed amendments and strongly urge you to bury it at this stage only.”

Soren said that first of all, it is not clear as to what has necessitated this drastic move to bring about these amendments whose only purpose and intent seems to force any officer of All India Services serving in the affairs of the State to come on deputation  to  Government  of  India  without  the  consent  of  the  concerned  officer and NOC of the state government.

“If the objective is to meet the shortage of officers serving in the affairs of the Government of India then, I must say, it is not a desirable move because the state government exclusively get the services of only three category of officers i.e. IAS, IPS and IFS whereas the Government of India every year, gets a huge pool of officers from more than 30 odd other All India Services for which UPSC makes recommendations without fail. The shortage in the Ministries of GOI can be easily met from this pool of officers.

“Here, I would like to reiterate that even though recruitments are being made after taking into consideration Central Deputation Reserve (CDR) but the fact remains that there is an acute shortage of officers in small cadres like Jharkhand. As of today, only 140 IAS officers (65%) are working in the State as against the sanctioned strength of 215. Similarly, only 95 IPS officers (64%) are working in the affairs of the Government of Jharkhand against the sanctioned strength of 149. The situation is no better in respect of Indian Forest Service cadre. This, you may agree, is not a comfortable scenario.

Many officers are holding more than one charge and the administrative work is suffering due to this acute shortage of officers,” he wrote.

“Further, forced removal of officers from this stressed pool will make it extremely difficult for the State Government to discharge its duties as are expected to be performed by any popularly elected government. Needless to state here that most of the Central Government Schemes and Projects are implemented through State Governments only. The aggravated shortage of officers will hamper timely implementation of State Government and Central Government projects,” he underlined.

“Sudden deputation of an officer outside his cadre will certainly cause immense disturbance to the officer and his family. It will also hamper and disrupt education of his children. This will certainly demotivate the officer, lower his morale and create a fear psychosis in his mind. It is likely to affect his objectivity, performance and  efficiency and  the  factor of uncertainty will always prevent him from giving his best while discharging his duties for the cause of poor people of a backward State like Jharkhand,” he enumerated.

“He will also not be able to give candid opinion in matters which entail taking sides in sensitive matters of Centre-State disputes which are in plenty in a mineral rich State like Jharkhand. This scenario of duality will certainly impact their performance efficiency and accountability to the State Government,” he said, adding that it will certainly cause permanent and irreparable damage to the functioning of bureaucracy in India.

“I would also like to iterate here that the proposed amendments seem to be contrary to the spirit of cooperative federalism and fundamentally they appear to be an attempt to design a lever to exercise indirect control over the officers functioning in the affairs of the State where the political party in power is different from the one at the Centre. These amendments thus strike at the very root of the Constitutional Scheme of federal governance. Undoubtedly this move is likely to further strain the already stressed Centre State relations. It has immense potential to be misused for harassment of officers and vendetta politics against the State Government,” he said.

He added that it is high time for the Centre to introspect and find out the reasons for the perceptible decline, over a couple of the last few years, in the number of officers opting to go on Central Deputation. “There is also a need to put a break on the practice of premature repatriation of officers to their parent cadre without assigning any reason. Moreover, the Centre may consider creating a permanent core cadre of such officers for themselves and not solely depend on ‘borrowed players’

In the light of the above, I hereby express my strong reservations against the proposed amendments in the Cadre Rules of All India Services. I would request you, therefore, to reconsider the proposed amendments so that the space for consultation and cooperation designed in the existing framework of Constitution is not replaced by unilateralism,” he said.