Dilip Cherian | Jump in UPSC vacancies due to new management cadre in Railways

After a decade of witnessing declining civil service examination (CSE) vacancies, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has notified more than 1,000 vacancies in the CSE this year.

Some observers link this jump in UPSC vacancies to jobs added in the newly created Indian Railway Management Service (IRMS) through the UPSC exam. Instead of 861 CSE vacancies, the recent recruitment circular issued by UPSC notifies hiring on 1,011 posts. With IRMS now a part of the group A central civil service cadre, nearly 150 personnel will be recruited to the service. The government recently created a new and separate IRMS cadre in the wake of the metro expansion, connectivity plan and bullet train projects.

According to the minister of state, department of administrative reforms and public grievances, Jitendra Singh, there were 1,472 vacancies in the IAS and 864 vacancies in the IPS at the start of the year. Every year, some 150-200 vacancies for IAS rank and close to 250 vacancies for IPS are undertaken, we are told. But there is an asymmetry in terms of recruitment of shortlisted candidates joining the service. That, and the overall decrease in the total number of vacancies, is something the government will need to address. The slight increase in numbers due to the addition of new jobs in the railways is clearly not enough. But it’s a start.

Gujarat transfers have an eye on impending Assembly polls

The Gujarat government has transferred 20 IPS officers, including the additional director general of police (ADGP) R.B. Brahmbhatt. The 1995-batch Gujarat cadre officer has been named the new ADGP of state CID (crime and railways), relieving DGP Ashish Bhatia of the additional charge of CID.

R.T. Susara, an IPS officer from the 2011 batch, has been appointed as the deputy commissioner of police for Zone 1 in Surat while Usha Rada, an IPS officer from the 2013 batch, has been appointed as DCP, Zone-3, Surat city.

Ajit Rajian, the superintendent of police for Anand, has been appointed as the DCP for cyber crime in Ahmedabad. He will be replaced by Praveen Kumar, a 2016 batch officer who is currently serving as DCP, Zone-1, Rajkot.

To many observers, this jerky movement, so close to the Assembly elections, reeks of awkwardness after a long-in-place Gujarat government. Whether it is triggered by new worries or whether it was long in the works is unclear. But with this major reshuffle coming barely a couple of months before the elections, the Bhupendrabhai Patel government is clearly moving to close gaps and fortify the administration before facing the electorate.

TN forest dept held back by unresolved old issues

Meanwhile, away from a nation and media celebrating the reintroduction of cheetahs, in Tamil Nadu, the state environment and forest department is struggling with internal issues which threaten to subsume the many successes of the recent past.

Sources have informed DKB that the problem in the state forest department is not a dearth of officials or talent, rather it is administrative delays. While the department has won accolades for the declaration of the Agasthyamalai as an elephant reserve, the lack of attention to professional training, research and upgrade of posts is beginning to affect its otherwise laudable conservation efforts.

Among the issues is the non-payment of salaries to temporary staff involved in anti-poaching activities and delays in filling vacant positions in the upper echelons of the department. Though forest department secretary Supriya Sahu claims that these issues are being addressed, no one has a convincing response to the delays. While temp staff have not been paid for months, and some have even been asked to leave, even biologists who have been working at the department for more than two decades have not been promoted. Neither has the department recruited permanent biologists on a fixed pay scale.

Some officials say that the department has always been treated as less significant when compared to other departments led by IAS and UPS officers. Apparently, IFS officers of the 1990 batch are still trying to get their cadre upgraded. Clearly, the issues haunting the department require top-level attention from the DMK government.

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