New Delhi, Dec. 14: The Rajya Sabha today passed the North Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Amendment Bill to create separate civil services cadres for Manipur and Tripura by splitting the existing joint cadre of the two states. The Lok Sabha passed the bill on September 30, 2012.
“At present, there is a joint cadre for all-India services for the states of Manipur and Tripura. The demand for bifurcation of joint Manipur-Tripura cadre was initially raised by the then chief minister of Tripura (Manik Sarkar) in 2004. The issue was discussed in several review meetings,” minister of state for home Mullappally Ramachandran said.
He said a meeting of the cadre controlling authorities of all-India services — namely, the department of personnel and training for IAS, the ministry of home affairs for IPS and the ministry of environment and forests for Indian Forest Service — which was convened on January 12, 2009 recommended to split the joint Manipur-Tripura all-India services cadre into two independent state cadres.
The cabinet approved the proposal on September 16, 2011. The North Eastern Areas (Reorganization) Amendment Bill, 2011 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 7, 2011. It was then referred to the department-related parliamentary standing committee on home affairs for examination and report by March 31, 2012. The committee adopted the bill without any changes.
Ramachandran said the amendment would address the demand for individual cadre of all India services in Manipur and Tripura and was intended to result in better cadre management and expected to provide better governance.
Congress’s Mani Shankar Aiyar and BJP MP Gyan Prakash Pilania criticised the Centre for taking so long to pass the amendment in “which there was hardly anything to be considered”.
“Delay defeats justice, delay defeats delivery, delay defeats the objective,” said Pilania, adding that the northeastern states needed special consideration and the bifurcation would help in bringing a more peaceful, pointed and effective administration
Aiyar said it was distressing that a simple matter of bifurcating two cadres has taken nearly nine years. He said there was an apprehension among the cadres that as a result of having to work in relatively small states, their promotion prospects might be adversely affected “which is really the reason why you have delayed this so long”. “This appears to me to be not only wrong morality, but also wrong mathematics,” the former Indian Foreign Service officer added.
He also thought it was “awkward” that the two states separated by another state (Assam) had a common cadre. Aiyar felt the Northeast receives virtually no attention in the House. He said the thin attendance in the House demonstrated this.
Justifying bifurcation, he said there was an acute shortage of foodgrain in Manipur and a simple solution to this basic human need would have been found without waiting for some minister from Delhi to go to a remote village in Manipur if there was a dedicated Manipur cadre of IAS officers, police officers and others. “Also, because of the ethnic complexity and tribal complexity of Manipur, we need people who understand Senapati or Ukhrul or Tamenglong, at least, as well as they understand the Imphal valley.”
He said, “India has a state like Manipur which is so small that the ministry of home affairs all these years has thought that it shouldn’t have a cadre of its own. After the armed forces, this is the state that provides the largest number of sportspersons and wins the largest number of medals in national sports, Olympics. And yet, the state doesn’t deserve a cadre of its own!
“The Commonwealth Games was saved by one single officer who happened to be my secretary in the DoNER ministry. He went as the secretary of the organising committee and saved the Games, or at least, saved the tattered honours of those Games. He was the ex-chief secretary of Manipur. So, I am deeply convinced that the people who are working in Manipur are very dedicated officers,” he added.
Aiyar congratulated the home minister for “completing what he thinks was a very complicated exercise, over a nine-year period, to constitute separate cadres for two states divided by a third state”.