Describing the proposed amendments to IAS (Cadre) rules as draconian and intended to promote unilateralism, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren on Saturday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ”bury” those proposals.
The Jharkhand government had received a proposal from the Centre seeking certain amendments in the IAS (Cadre) Rules, 1954 and the state already communicated its disagreement on it, Soren said in a strongly-worded letter to Modi.
”In the meantime, we have received another draft of the proposed amendments in the cadre rules of All India Services which, prima facie, appear to be more draconian than the previous proposal. ”I feel constrained to write this letter to express my strong reservations and apprehensions about these proposed amendments and strongly urge you to bury it at this stage only,” the letter read.
He said that the proposed amendments seem to be contrary to the spirit of cooperative federalism and an attempt to control officers of a state where the political party in power is different from the one at the Centre.
”Undoubtedly, this move is likely to further strain the already stressed Centre-State relations,” the chief minister of Jharkhand, ruled by a JMM-led coalition, said in the letter to the PM.
This will demotivate an officer and create a fear psychosis in the person’s mind that will affect performance and efficiency, Soren said.
”It will certainly cause permanent and irreparable damage to the functioning of bureaucracy in India,” he said.
The Union government has proposed an amendment to IAS (Cadre) rules, which would enable it to post IAS officers on central deputation, bypassing reservations of state governments. In the letter, Soren claimed that the proposed move has immense potential to be misused for harassment of officers and vendetta politics against the state government.
He said it is not clear as to what has necessitated this move to bring about these amendments that will force any officer of All India Services working in a state to come on deputation to the Government of India without the consent of the officer concerned and no objection certificate (NOC) of the state government.
”If the objective is to meet the shortage of officers serving in the affairs of the Government of India then, I must say, it is not a desirable move,” he wrote in the letter.
Soren said a state government gets the services of only three categories of officers – IAS, IPS and Indian Forest Service (IFS) – whereas the Centre gets a huge pool of officers every year from more than 30 odd other All India Services. Citing an acute shortage of officers in Jharkhand, he said currently only 140 IAS officers (65 per cent) and 95 IPS officers (64 per cent) are working in the state as against the sanctioned strength of 215 and 149 respectively.
The situation is no better in case of Indian Forest Service officers, Soren said without elaborating. Many officers are holding more than one charge and administrative work is suffering due to this acute shortage of officers, the letter said.
”Further, forced removal of officers from this stressed pool will make it extremely difficult for the State Government to discharge its duties as are expected to be performed by any popularly elected government,” it read.
Soren said implementation of schemes of the central and state governments will be affected due to absence of an adequate number of officers, if the proposals are effected.
”(An officer) will also not be able to give a candid opinion in matters which entail taking sides in sensitive matters of Centre-State disputes which are in plenty in a mineral-rich state like Jharkhand,” he said. The Centre should introspect and find out the reasons for the perceptible decline, over a couple of the last few years, in the number of officers opting to go on central deputation, the chief minister said.