NEW DELHI: Unlike the erstwhle UPA Government, Narendra Modi Government is in no mood to keep the IAS lobby in good humour, which has held sway in the corridors of power for decades.
After losing out the position of Central Vigilance Commissioner -- earmarked especially for them -- to former IRS officer Kosaraju Veeraiah Chowdary, the IAS lobby has now suffered another blow.
They have been forced to make way for a non-cadre officer for the post of Principal Secretary of West Bengal. All this while, this was a position held only by the IAS officers.
After changing its approach of appointing only IAS officers to the post of Principal Secretary to the Chief Ministers, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has now refused to entertain a petition by the IAS Association against the appointment of a retired Central Secretariat Service (CSS) officer, Gautam Sanyal, as Principal Secretary to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The IAS Association, which had held a series of official and unofficial meetings over the past two months to discuss the matter of Sanyal being appointed Principal Secretary to Mamata, had made a representation to the DoPT questioning the move. It said the appointment of non-cadre officers to key posts was a “blatant violation” of the IAS (cadre) Rules, 1954.
It, further, said that it would reduce the efficiency of the administration. “The IAS officers are specifically trained to deal with jobs requiring specific background, experience and understanding,” said the representation.
But those arguments could not change the DoPT’s decision. The approval for the appointment of Sanyal from the Centre has made him the first CSS officer to get the coveted position. Till now, the post of Principal Secretary was considered a “cadre” post, meant only for senior IAS officers.
Following the setback, no wonder the collective ego of the IAS lobby was quite hurt. “The posting of officers from different backgrounds against en-cadred posts is not only contrary to the statutory rules, but also reduces efficiency in administration,” an IAS officer, who had attended the executive body meeting of the IAS Association, told Express.
But it seems that the Centre is not in a mood to give importance to such talks. “Efficiency is the only language this government understands. If a state government feels that an efficient, but non-IAS officer is needed for a particular post, it has every right to suggest his name,” a DoPT officer, belonging to the CSS cadre, said.
In fact, Mamata had handpicked Sanyal, whom she had met in Delhi during her stint as Union Railway Minister. Soon, Sanyal moved to Kolkata and became her Secretary.
According to the CSS officer, the IAS lobby “played every possible trick” to stop Sanyal from becoming the Principal Secretary.