Gujarat is the go-to state for the Modi sarkar when it needs more trusted hands at the Centre. In the days of Narendra Modi, babus from the state have a disproportionate presence in the capital. Following Mr Modi’s long stint in Gujarat as chief minister, many of his favoured babus slowly followed him as he ascended to the PM’s kursi.
The trend continues even in Mr Modi’s second term. According to sources, Gujarat cadre Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer Niranjan Kumar Singh has been appointed as secretary, oil industry development board at the joint secretary level for a two-year period.
He replaces Diwakar Nath Mishra, who vacated the post following his appointment as joint secretary, department of commerce this year. Mr Singh, a 1987-batch officer, has served both at the Centre and the state in various capacities, including as joint secretary in the mines ministry.
The oil industry development board was established on January 13, 1975 under the Oil Industry (Development) Act 1974 to provide financial assistance for the development of the oil industry. It functions under the administrative control of the ministry of petroleum and natural gas.
DoPT wields the ‘danda’
The Modi sarkar has been weeding out “deadwood” in the bureaucracy at a fair pace. The stated aim is to dismiss officers who are facing allegations of corruption or inefficiency. In recent months, tax officers have faced a crackdown. In September, 15 senior officials were compulsorily retired on corruption and other charges. Until June this year, the government has compulsorily retired 49 high-ranking tax officials, including 12 from the central board of direct taxes (CBDT).
Now, sources say, the Modi sarkar is spreading the net wider. The department of personnel and training (DoPT) has asked over 40 ministries to immediately send details of non-performing and corrupt officers for similar ejection from the civil service.
Apparently, the department had sent a similar communication to the ministries and departments six months ago. Not surprisingly, the ministries were dragging their feet on supplying the information sought by the DoPT. The latest directive, however, makes it clear that any delay in giving the information will not be taken kindly.
Will the DoPT “danda” work this time? Given the prevailing mood, few expect the government to soften its stance on dealing with corruption in the civil services.
Babus’ posting in limbo
For the past several months, at least 18 young IAS officers of the 2016 and 2017 batches are awaiting field postings as sub-collectors in Telangana. Strangely, the state government is unable to explain the delay in announcing their postings. Even the Telangana IAS officers’ association has not succeeded in eliciting a response from the government.
According to sources, eight IAS officers completed their training in October last year and reported to the general administration department (GAD) for posting. The government posted them as special officers in eight districts and continue to work in the same post. As do the 10 IAS officers of the 2017 batch. Meanwhile, their batchmates in other states have become sub-collectors even as these 18 officers are still awaiting orders to get a field posting. No one knows the reason for the inordinate delay or how long the current situation will continue.