State News

a-book-on-women-s-versatility-in-corona-times

A book on women's versatility in Corona times

Ms Chandan Tripathi's book '3400 Square Feet' is a beautifully crafted memoir of a working woman and mother that exposes readers to the various strands of living and struggling in these pandemic times. It is a very real account of a common woman rediscovering the joy of living amid the lockdown.

Belonging to the state administrative service of Chhatisgarh, she has been a Sub-Divisional Magistrate for 7 years in Surguja, Bilaspur, and Mungeli districts. She has also worked as Joint Director in the state Health Department and as the Chief Executive Officer of Zilla Panchayat in Raigad district.

She holds an Honours degree in Botany from Banasthali University and a Master's degree in Forestry, Wildlife, and Environmental Sciences from a Central University.  A naturalist at heart and a firm believer in the culture of India, Chandan Tripathi has done research on 'Tissue Culture of Bambusa Nutans' from Sal Forest Research Institute in Jabalpur. She has also worked on medicinal plants and has written several articles for newspapers including The Hindu, Echo, Morning India, and Punjab Kesari.


21 hours ago
mha-on-overdrive-to-depute-officers-to-j-k

MHA on overdrive to depute officers to J&K

As the democratic political process gets set to go, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is said to be preparing a comprehensive list of competent all-India service officers particularly IAS and IPS for deputation to the UTs of J&K and Ladakh.

Towards the end of last month, the Ministry had advised all cadre-controlling authorities to urgently compile a list of IAS, IPS, and other all-India service officers who may be willing to serve on deputation to the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

In an official memo, the MHA letter has asked Railway Board chairman, Controller General of Accounts (CGA), Comptroller Auditor General of India (CAG), secretaries of the ministries of Defence, External Affairs, Corporate Affairs, and Information and Broadcasting, chairpersons of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), and the Departments of Commerce, Telecommunications and Posts, to depute Group A service officers to the two UTs.

Following the submission of lists from these government departments and institutions, the MHA is building up its own final list.

Officials see it as a major operation to reinforce and sustain the democratic revival process set in motion by Lt Governor Manoj Sinha.

The troubled J&K will shortly have its first phase of District Development Council (DDC) Election for 43 seats for which hundreds have filed their nominations. Along with the DDC election, byelections for several seats of sarpanch and panch will be conducted. The byelection for three urban local bodies – Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), Pahalgam Municipal Council, and Ashmuqam Municipal Council - are also being held simultaneously.

The enthusiastic response to these elections - as is being reflected in the filing of a large number of nominations - seems to have convinced the PMO and the MHA that Sinha has earned, and therefore deserves, their full support for more officers to strengthen the governance culture of the state. 

The whole region has been suffering from an acute shortage of administrative officers despite its evolution as union territories in August 2019. But it was not till Sinha's appointment as Lt Governor that the government got serious about filling the administrative vacancies in the region. And that seriousness shows up in the MHA's wording in the letter "the new Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh are beset with acute shortage of officers."

Although J&K is provided with a cadre strength of 137 IAS officers and 147 IPS officers, it has currently only 58 serving IAS officers and 66 IPS officers for a variety of historical and technical reasons. Of these, at least nine are on GoI deputation. 

According to senior officers, while there is an overall shortage of 1,500 IAS officers, J&K, as well as the Northeastern states, might have experienced a proportionately greater shortage because of the peculiar political dispensation in these regions which discourages selected candidates from choosing these regions as their preferred cadre.

(By M K Shukla & Rakesh Ranjan)

24 Nov 2020
a-book-on-women-s-versatility-in-corona-times

A book on women's versatility in Corona times

By IndianMandarins 21 hours ago

Ms Chandan Tripathi's book '3400 Square Feet' is a beautifully crafted memoir of a working woman and mother that exposes readers to the various strands of living and struggling in these pandemic times. It is a very real account of a common woman rediscovering the joy of living amid the lockdown.

Belonging to the state administrative service of Chhatisgarh, she has been a Sub-Divisional Magistrate for 7 years in Surguja, Bilaspur, and Mungeli districts. She has also worked as Joint Director in the state Health Department and as the Chief Executive Officer of Zilla Panchayat in Raigad district.

She holds an Honours degree in Botany from Banasthali University and a Master's degree in Forestry, Wildlife, and Environmental Sciences from a Central University.  A naturalist at heart and a firm believer in the culture of India, Chandan Tripathi has done research on 'Tissue Culture of Bambusa Nutans' from Sal Forest Research Institute in Jabalpur. She has also worked on medicinal plants and has written several articles for newspapers including The Hindu, Echo, Morning India, and Punjab Kesari.


mha-on-overdrive-to-depute-officers-to-j-k

MHA on overdrive to depute officers to J&K

By M K Shukla & Rakesh Ranjan 24 Nov 2020

As the democratic political process gets set to go, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is said to be preparing a comprehensive list of competent all-India service officers particularly IAS and IPS for deputation to the UTs of J&K and Ladakh.

Towards the end of last month, the Ministry had advised all cadre-controlling authorities to urgently compile a list of IAS, IPS, and other all-India service officers who may be willing to serve on deputation to the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

In an official memo, the MHA letter has asked Railway Board chairman, Controller General of Accounts (CGA), Comptroller Auditor General of India (CAG), secretaries of the ministries of Defence, External Affairs, Corporate Affairs, and Information and Broadcasting, chairpersons of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), and the Departments of Commerce, Telecommunications and Posts, to depute Group A service officers to the two UTs.

Following the submission of lists from these government departments and institutions, the MHA is building up its own final list.

Officials see it as a major operation to reinforce and sustain the democratic revival process set in motion by Lt Governor Manoj Sinha.

The troubled J&K will shortly have its first phase of District Development Council (DDC) Election for 43 seats for which hundreds have filed their nominations. Along with the DDC election, byelections for several seats of sarpanch and panch will be conducted. The byelection for three urban local bodies – Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), Pahalgam Municipal Council, and Ashmuqam Municipal Council - are also being held simultaneously.

The enthusiastic response to these elections - as is being reflected in the filing of a large number of nominations - seems to have convinced the PMO and the MHA that Sinha has earned, and therefore deserves, their full support for more officers to strengthen the governance culture of the state. 

The whole region has been suffering from an acute shortage of administrative officers despite its evolution as union territories in August 2019. But it was not till Sinha's appointment as Lt Governor that the government got serious about filling the administrative vacancies in the region. And that seriousness shows up in the MHA's wording in the letter "the new Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh are beset with acute shortage of officers."

Although J&K is provided with a cadre strength of 137 IAS officers and 147 IPS officers, it has currently only 58 serving IAS officers and 66 IPS officers for a variety of historical and technical reasons. Of these, at least nine are on GoI deputation. 

According to senior officers, while there is an overall shortage of 1,500 IAS officers, J&K, as well as the Northeastern states, might have experienced a proportionately greater shortage because of the peculiar political dispensation in these regions which discourages selected candidates from choosing these regions as their preferred cadre.

(By M K Shukla & Rakesh Ranjan)

haryana-bureaucracy-on-the-boil

Haryana bureaucracy on the boil

By IndianMandarins 23 Nov 2020

The simmering dissatisfaction with service matters in the Haryana civil services boiled up last week. This may indicate that the administration of CM Manoharlal Khattar has been either unwilling or failing or both in harmonizing the interests of various service groups in the state. This doesn't omen well for the governance of the state, much less for the reputation of the ruling party. 

First, it was famous public-spirited IAS officer Ashok Khemka who stoked the fire.

In a letter (whose content became public last week) to Chief Secretary Vijaya Vardhan, Khemka argued that the mandated prior approval of the state Civil Services Board (CSB) was not being secured while transferring and posting officers in the state.

Citing cadre rules and several examples, the officer pointed out that, in gross violation of the Supreme Court directions, IAS cadre posts were being distributed among non-cadre officers without informing the UPSC and the central government and such 'illegal' postings were being validated through post-facto CSB approvals.

While non-cadre officers can't remain posted to IAS cadre posts beyond three months, he wrote  “Shri Yogender Chaudhry, IRS, continues on the cadre post of Principal Secretary since 12th March 2020 and Shri Alok Verma, IFS, occupied the cadre post of Principal Secretary in addition to his own IFS cadre post for a period of almost 6 months from 30.04.2020 to 22.10.2020 before seeking retirement to join as Chairman, HPSC”.

He also referred to the appointments of IPS officer Shatrujeet Singh Kapoor and IFS officer MD Sinha to IAS cadre posts. He argued that the state government was law-bound to seek approval of the central government to validate the appointment of these two officers beyond three months to the cadre posts of Principal Secretary.

As the content of Khemka's letter became public, the Haryana Civil Services Association also joined the fray to highlight their disappointment with the appointment of non-cadre officers to their cadre posts.

The Association president, Dr. Vandana Disodia, wrote to the CS, arguing that the posting of "officers of allied services against the cadre posts meant for the HCS... was a colorable exercise of power ... Also, it undermines the existence and efficacy of the Civil Services Board and the service as a whole.”

She pointed out that though the cadre strength of the HCS executive branch was enhanced recently, these executive branch officers have been given insignificant assignments or their postings are put on hold for a long time. In specific terms, she referred to the fact HCS officers are never posted to cadre posts of the police department or sent on any deputation to the police department as SP, ASP, etc. "Even the posts meant for HCS (EB) like Additional IG (Jails), Secretary Police Establishment, etc have traditionally been kept vacant for all these years for no plausible reasons. In a welfare state and democratic set-up, it is paramount that these posts are manned by officers of the Civil Administration. There is absolutely no representation to our service in key departments of the State like Home Affairs, Chief Secretary office, power department, police establishment, etc.”

She also expressed her rage over the fact that many HCS officers are also too frequently suspended without due investigations on the basis of unsustainable charges. She called for this undesirable situation to be reversed and the principle of fair play adopted in dealing with HCS officers.

ex-dg-cpwd-gets-cabinet-minister-rank-in-andhra-pradesh

Ex-DG CPWD gets Cabinet Minister rank in Andhra Pradesh

By IndianMandarins 19 Nov 2020

New Delhi (18.11.2020): The Government of Andhra Pradesh on Monday appointed Prabhakar Singh, former Director General of CPWD, as Adviser (Technical) to the Government in the rank of Cabinet Minister. He will be functioning his duties from Andhra Pradesh Bhawan, New Delhi.

It may be underlined that Singh was the first DG of CPWD who got an extended-term on a re-employment basis. He retired on 31 July 2018 and on 01 August 2018 he was re-employed for a period of one year.

It may also be underlined that prior to this the Government of Andhra Pradesh had picked former Finance Secretary Subhash Garg (Retd IAS:1983:RJ) and Adviser to the Govt of AP and former Chairman of Air India and former Chairman of Railway Board Ashwani Lohani as the Chairman of Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) in the rank of Cabinet Minister. 

ALSO READ:

Another feather in Lohani’s hat; gets Cabinet rank in AP (17.03.2020)

DG, CPWD: Further extension in re-employment tenure? (26.07.2019)

Singh becomes first CPWD DG on a re-employment basis (01.08.2018)






raj-cm-woos-retired-sc-officers-leveraging-cs-appointment-for-political-gains

Raj CM woos retired SC officers; leveraging CS appointment for political gains

By Rakesh Ranjan 17 Nov 2020

Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot has been unceasing in the quest for consolidating his power base since the revolt of Sachin Pilot shook him to the core. And such remains his continuing or perhaps escalating fear of Pilot and others that he has begun to clutch at every straw to neutralize his feeling of sinking or getting besieged by his political rivals in and out of the Congress Party.

Look at the way he has been entreating, or rather begging, for the support of creamy layers of scheduled caste retired bureaucrats in exchange for having appointed Niranjan Arya (IAS:1989:RJ) over the heads of 10 IAS officers senior to him to the coveted and much-aspired post of the state chief secretary.

In a letter responding to compliments of senior retired IAS SC officers like Mahendra Singh, Lalit Panwar, Lalit Mehra, Shriram Chauradia as well as some retired IPS SC officers Jaswant Sampatram, RP Singh, and others, he thanked them all for acknowledging that his appointment of Niranjan Arya as CS was a right step in the direction of implementing the dreams of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar.

Did Dr. Ambedkar really dream of, much less called for, appointing an SC officer over the head of 10 of his seniors to the top job in state bureaucracy? Well, even the most spurious stuff is passed on these days in the name of Babasaheb.

While creamy layers among the SC play the same game that they accuse others of playing against them, senior officers are disturbed over Gehlot's unconcealed attempt at seeking the support of retired SC officers for making the tenure of Niranjan Arya a success.

One wonders how could retired SC officers make Arya succeed unless they are allowed to interfere in the administration. Will Gehlot and Arya allow it?

Maybe the CM was just being polite in responding to retired SC officers' combined letter. Or Maybe he is engaging them to reach out to the SC community to consolidate his power base in the face of a clear and present threat to his job. Whether it may work or not, but he is surely seen setting a bad precedent in governance.

(By Rakesh Ranjan)

ALSO READ:

Arya's appointment as Chief Secretary help Gehlot spite his rivals?

aiims-rajkot-sinha-posted-as-deputy-director-administration

AIIMS, Rajkot: Sinha posted as Deputy Director Administration

By IndianMandarins 16 Nov 2020

Shramdeep Sinha (IRS IT:2004) was on 10.11.2020 laterally posted in AIIMS, Rajkot as Deputy Director (Administration) till completion of his tenure of deputation i.e. upto 20.03.2022. Prior to this, he was DDA, AIIMS (Mangalagiri).


arya-s-appointment-as-chief-secretary-help-gehlot-spite-his-rivals-

Arya's appointment as Chief Secretary help Gehlot spite his rivals?

By Rakesh Ranajn 12 Nov 2020

The pink city turned pink in the last few days as the All-India Backward and Minority Communities Employees Federation, known more by its acronym BAMCEF, went overboard in its excitement to congratulate CM Ashok Gehlot and his administration for having appointed Niranjan Arya (IAS:1989:RJ) as the new Chief Secretary of the state, superseding 10 officers in the process.

Overnight, hoardings and banners were plastered all over Jaipur congratulating and complimenting Arya as if he were a political personality whose victory like appointment deserved to be celebrated in public spaces.

While this may show that Arya's selection as CS, like all other selections of officers for crucial posts all over the country, may have stemmed from the politics in the state, it is pointed out that Arya's 'most meritorious services' as the state's finance secretary earlier in not releasing funds for Sachin Pilot headed PWD and Panchayati Raj Institutions had made a deep impact on Gehlot. And, therefore, when Gehlot was driven by the Central government to pick and choose a new CS instead of extending the tenure of the previous CS, his choice zoomed in on Arya.

In state politics, Gehlot has been known for his partiality towards the Arya family. When Niranjan's wife Sangeeta Arya contested the last Vidhan Sabha elections on a Congress ticket and lost her deposit, the CM made her a member of the Rajasthan Public Service Commission (RPSC). No one could do a damn then.

Arya's appointment as CS has also enabled Gehlot to spite his old political rival CP Joshi in the state politics, who is currently the assembly speaker. Joshi's close relative and seniormost IAS officer Usha Sharma, wife of CP's brother in law and retired IAS officer BN Sharma, was elbowed out along with 09 other senior officers to signal everyone that Gehlot's desires rule the roost.

Consequently, there are rumblings in the ruling Congress party. Already, some leaders have taken the matter to the high command which may end up doing nothing because the core of its politics pivots around appeasement.

(By Rakesh Ranjan)

intelligence-mp-cm-grip-on-adm-seen-waning

Intelligence: MP CM grip on adm seen waning

By M K Shukla 10 Nov 2020

New Delhi (10.11.2020): Analysis of Open-source intelligence (OSINT) reports indicates that Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan's grip on administration may be waning with his rising age and diminishing vitality - a natural process that every politician, in particular, tend to reject, perpetually charmed as they are with power and the prestige that goes with it.

This assessment may be spreading because it is generally agreed that one of the critical abilities of a CM in the country's cloak-and-dagger world of politicking in every government department is their ability to surveil and monitor their administration to ensure performance and avoid public embarrassment.

It is here that the CM is seen as clueless, even though he may be politically as deft and nimble as he has always been. 

Without going into a detailed analysis, one has to look into the latest Supreme Court case where the state government's legal department was called 'incorrigible' and 'incompetent' - a rare event.

Dismissing a Special Leave Petition of the state government in THE STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH & ANR. Petitioner(s) VERSUS CHAITRAM MAYWADE Respondent(s) (FOR ADMISSION and I.R. and IA No.67822/2020-CONDONATION OF DELAY IN FILING and IA No.67821/2020-EXEMPTION FROM FILING O.T. and IA No.67819/2020-PERMISSION TO FILE ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTS/FACTS/ANNEXURES), an SC bench of Justices Sanjay Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy also fined the state government with Rs 35,000 to be recovered from officers who sat on the files related to the case, remarking that the penalty would keep rising with each successive case filed belatedly by the state government.

The court, which rarely uses harsh expressions, was so disturbed by the state government's legal department's delay of 588 days in filing the SLP that it also asked the Chief Secretary to revamp the department which is headed by Chouhan's close political associate Narottam Mishra, who also holds Home and other important portfolios.

While the state CS may take his time to axe officials responsible for the extreme abdication of responsibility and revamp the legal department, but it may not be able to whitewash the blot on the face of the MP government and its popular CM affectionately called 'Mama' by the younger generation.

Look at the Court's observations: "The State of Madhya Pradesh continues to do the same thing again and again and the conduct seems to be incorrigible! The Special Leave Petition has been filed after a delay of 588 days...the law department took almost about 17 months’ time to decide whether the petition had to be filed or not in the apex court. What greater certificate of incompetence would there be for the Legal Department.”

Further, the Court pointed out that "We have also expressed our concern that these kinds of cases are only “certificate cases” to obtain a certificate of dismissal from the Supreme Court to put a quietus to the issue. The object is to save the skin of officers who may be in default. We have also recorded the irony of the situation where no action is taken against the officers who sit on these files and do nothing."

(By M K Shukla)

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