A change of guard in Uttar Pradesh has always been followed by mass transfers, primarily to install the chosen officials to key posts and important government departments. The incoming usually dispensation likes to bring its favourite bureaucrats for significant posts, including those of chief secretary, director-general of police (DGP), principal secretaries and secretaries in departments, directorates, etc.
In chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s first reshuffle, 20 senior IAS officers, including principal secretary (information) Navneet Sehgal were transferred. Mr Sehgal, who wielded considerable influence in the Akhilesh Yadav government, has been put on the waiting list. IAS officer Mritunjay Kumar Narayan has been made secretary of CM Yogi.
It is widely felt that the CM will be receiving a lot of help from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in running the state. And more so in the area of babu placement.
It is said that the PMO has identified about 50 upright and hardworking officers for the Yogi government. Some UP-cadre officers are likely to be sent back to Lucknow to be posted at key positions. Among the early changes would of course be the appointment of a new chief secretary, DGP and principal secretary home. Watch this space for updates.
Bihar’s babu crisis
Facing an alarming number of vacant IAS slots, the Bihar government now hopes to fill these vacancies by promoting state administration officers. Sources say that 47 Bihar Administrative Service (BAS) officers are likely to be promoted as IAS officers and bring relief to their overburdened IAS brethren in the state.
A list of 67 eligible officers has been finalised and will be sent to the Union Public Service Commission for approval by April end.
Bihar has a sanctioned strength of 342 IAS officers and the lack of sufficient number of officers has forced the state government to assign the charge of more than one department to several IAS officers. For example, home department principal secretary Amir Subhani is holding additional charge as secretary, minority welfare department, and principal secretary, prohibition, excise and registration department.
Out of the total sanctioned strength of 342 IAS officers, the state can post 238 directly recruited IAS officers and the remaining 104 posts have to be filled up through promotions. But only 251 IAS officers are serving currently. Further, 42 IAS officers have been given Central assignments and five others are on inter-state deputation. How long will Bihar be served by an understaffed bureaucracy is anybody’s guess?
An abrupt exit
The surprising ouster of Kerala vigilance director Jacob Thomas has created a piquant situation for chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who had until now shown great reluctance to remove the IPS officer despite pressure from senior IAS officers and Opposition parties in the state. But with the Kerala high court also criticising Mr Thomas and his style of functioning, Mr Vijayan had little choice but to ask the man to go on leave.
It was apparent that Mr Thomas’ pursuit of cases against top bureaucrats of the state, including finance secretary K.M. Abraham, additional chief secretary and Kerala IAS association president Tom Jose and industries secretary Paul Antony too did not go down well with the powers that be. The power struggle between the vigilance director and the top brass of the bureaucracy had split the bureaucracy.
But with Mr Thomas gone, Mr Vijayan is facing questions from the Opposition who claim the Left government has gone weak on corruption. For now, DGP Loknath Behera is in charge of the vigilance directorate.