A few months ago, highly publicised resignations by three IAS officers created consternation in government circles. Kannan Gopinathan, an AGMUT cadre officer and Sasikanth Senthil, a Karnataka cadre officer, resigned from service alleging the shrinking space for dissent in the country. They had cited the clampdown in Jammu and Kashmir as the reason for their decision to quit.
Now, in protest against the Citizen Amendment Act (CAA), senior IPS officer Abdur Rahman has announced that he has decided to quit the service, alleging that the act is “communal and unconstitutional”. Mr Rahman is special inspector general of police posted at the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission.
The 1997-batch officer said he had decided not to continue in service as an act of civil disobedience, since the act is against “India’s religious pluralism and spirit of tolerance”. He had reportedly sought voluntary retirement in August, but the previous Devendra Fadnavis government had refused to promote him to IGP rank.
The string of resignations by senior officials on account of actions of the Nardendra Modi sarkar has apparently made the government revisit the conditions in which an officer can quit the civil service. The DoPT is reportedly looking into it. But the government will do well to listen to the voices of dissent arising from within its own ranks.
Deadlocked career paths
Indian Economic Service (IES) officers have long felt ignored, overshadowed by the mighty IAS officers. At the recent annual general body meeting of the Indian Economic Service Association (IESA), the officers asked their cadre-controlling authority, Atanu Chakravarty, secretary, department of economic affairs (DEA) to end the deadlock in their career progression. They have sought time-bound promotion, housing projects and an exclusive training academy for the service.
According to sources, during the meeting attended by over 100 IES officers, the association emphasised the critical role of the service in providing economic inputs and professional insights in policymaking. The officials claimed that no other service (hint: think IAS!) can provide the economic inputs and therefore have an edge over the other services when it comes to all key economic and social ministries.
The chief economic adviser to the government, Dr K. Subramanian, was the chief guest at the annual general meeting. It is hoped that Mr Subramanian and Mr Chakravarty will take up the demand of the service to the government.
IPS shortage temporary?
With the states not sparing IPS officers for Central deputation leading to a crippling shortage of officers at the Centre, the government has decided to reduce the number of posts reserved for deputationists by 50 per cent.
According to sources, the ministry of home affairs (MHA) has informed all states that it plans to reduce the Central Deputation Reserve (CDR) quota of IPS officers from the current 1,075 officers to 500 officers. At present only 428 IPS officers are on Central deputation.
The decision to reduce the quota has come at a time when the Narendra Modi sarkar is considering making Central deputation compulsory for IAS officers. But, sources say the move has not been welcomed by the IPS officers, who feel it will impact the “all India” nature of the service. It would change the very nature of the police service, they fear. Many feel that the current “shortage” is temporary and the government should, instead, take “short-term” measures to address it. With the recruitment of officers increasing every year, the situation will be rectified soon without changing the nature of the police service.