Border Security Force Personnel (BSF) stand guard in a motor launch. (PTI)
More than a year after the change in the status of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, there is an acute shortage of IAS, IPS and other all-India service officers in the Union Territories. The situation is dire enough for the ministry of home affairs to write to all cadre-controlling authorities to prepare a list of IAS, IPS and other officers who can be immediately sent on deputation to J&K and Ladakh.
And the ministry is trying to cast its net far and wide. According to sources, a missive from the MHA has been sent to the Railway Board chairman, Comptroller General of Accounts, Comptroller Auditor General of India, secretaries of the ministries of defence, external affairs, corporate affairs and I&B, chairpersons of the Central Board of Direct Taxes and the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, and the departments of commerce, telecom and posts!
As of now, sources say, two officers have shown willingness to serve in J&K on deputation. Both are Kashmiri-born officers, one an IAS officer from Assam-Meghalaya cadre and the other an IRS officer. Not very encouraging, it seems.
After all, J&K has a stipulated cadre strength of 137 IAS officers, out of whom only 58 are serving in the cadre, including nine who are on Central deputation. Similarly, the cadre strength of IPS officers is 147, but only 66 are currently serving in the cadre.
CIC puts a lid on information
Among the first things the Central Information Commission (CIC) has done after the appointment of Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha as Chief Information Commissioner is to allow the Central Secretariat to withhold records of the resignation of former home secretary Anil Goswami. Sinha, a former IFS officer and high commissioner to the UK, was sworn in by President Ram Nath after Bimal Julka retired from the post in August.
The panel has reportedly based its judgment on a Delhi high court order according to which file notings and deliberations of the Group of Officers or the authority cannot be disclosed. The CIC’s order came in response to an RTI application filed by IPS officer Anurag Thakur who had sought to know from the Cabinet Secretariat the details of action taken on a complaint against Goswami, including communication exchanged between various authorities and file notings. Not getting a satisfactory response, Thakur appealed before the CIC. Goswami was forced to resign in February 2015 for allegedly trying to stall the arrest of a former Union minister in a case by the CBI.
Manipur introduces good governance award
Manipur chief minister N. Biren Singh has introduced an award for good governance as an incentive for babus to do innovative and extraordinary work at the grassroots level. The initiative will reward government officials whose performance is of "a very high order" and whose work has benefited a large number of citizens and stakeholders.
Sources say that the award will be presented every year to an individual officer or a team including administrative secretaries, deputy commissioners, heads of departments and to any other official or department. A panel comprising of the chief minister, chief secretary Rajesh Kumar and other senior officials will select the winners who stand to win a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh (individual category) and Rs 2 lakh (group category). To become eligible, officials will have to successfully complete a challenging task or project that results in significant benefits to the public or in the reduction of time and costs, including implementation of Central or state government schemes.
The awards will be presented on Statehood Day, Republic Day or Independence Day every year.
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