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Mamata's higher civil service plan hits hurdle

Calcutta: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee's plan to create a "higher" state civil service from the top category of West Bengal Civil Service (WBCS) officers has run into legal hurdle.

The state law department has pointed out that the plan in its present form will be considered bad in law because it can invite the charge of undermining equality of opportunity in matters of public employment.

Officials could not recall a previous instance where a scheme already announced by the chief minister had failed to secure the law department's nod.

In June last year, the chief minister had announced the plan to create a new cadre of civil servants - West Bengal Higher Civil Service - from WBCS executive officers to address the shortage of IAS officers in Bengal.

This would have helped state civil servants who have had to wait for 20-22 years to get promoted to the IAS category though they attain the eligibility after eight years.

"The state government had proposed to pick five officers each from the ranks of assistant secretary, deputy secretary and joint secretary and promote them to the higher officer cadre every year. The law department feels it will be bad in law and those left out can term it a breach of their rights," said an official.

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