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Dilli Ka Babu: Niti CEO puts the pedal to the metal


Published on: October 19, 2019 | Updated on: October 19, 2019

After criticism from Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant over the slow progress on overhauling of railway stations, a stung railway ministry has swung into action, which is probably what the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) wants anyway.

In a letter to railway board chairman V.K. Yadav, Mr Kant panned the prolonged delay in a station redevelopment project that has lingered "for several years". He suggested that an empowered group of secretaries and railway officials be created to help execute the project in "a time-bound manner". The station project entails leasing out railway properties. According to sources, Mr Yadav has ordered formation of the committee that includes, besides Mr Kant and Mr Yadav, secretaries of the departments of economic affairs, housing and urban affairs and the railway board financial commissioner. The censure has finally made the lumbering railway bureaucracy rather anxious since the Niti Aayog’s red flag is pretty much a stand-in for a message from the PMO that the rail babus need to get their collective act together, as they are being closely watched.

Jitters before the merger

The Centre’s decision to bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories has created uncertainty and confusion among the state’s IAS, IPS and IFS officers about their future. As of now, officers serving in the J&K cadre will continue undisturbed. But officers of the All India Services who will serve in the state will be recruited into the AGMUT cadre since J&K will become a Union territory after October 31.

Those in the know say that babus are unsure whether they will get posted to other parts of the country or only new recruits will be eligible for postings outside the state. Not surprisingly, senior babus are less keen on the possibility of being posted outside the state they have served in for many years. The other issue perturbing babus in J&K is an old one — shortage of officers. Apparently, the state has only 70 IAS officers against the sanctioned strength of 137. The babus are hoping that the government will send more AGMUT cadre officers to J&K to make up for the deficit. Hopefully, the situation will become clearer once the AGMUT cadre merger happens this month-end.

Also this will probably put an end to the ritualistic capital shift every year, once and for all.