Smriti's babus in quit or shift

Four senior human resource development ministry officials have chosen to move out of the ministry in the first year of the Narendra Modi government - double the number that had quit in the entire five-year tenure of UPA II.

By Basant Kumar Mohanty
  • Published 2.04.15
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New Delhi, April 1: Four senior human resource development ministry officials have chosen to move out of the ministry in the first year of the Narendra Modi government - double the number that had quit in the entire five-year tenure of UPA II.

Radha Chauhan, a 1988 batch Uttar Pradesh cadre officer posted as joint secretary in the HRD ministry since 2011, is the latest to join the list. She moved to the Unique Identification Authority of India as deputy director-general today.

Before her, two joint secretaries opted for premature repatriation to their parent cadre and one joint secretary moved to the urban development ministry.

This is in addition to a series of resignations by heads of educational institutions, as well as the exit of director-level officials in the ministry.

"Premature repatriation or lateral shift among senior officials was not that frequent in the HRD ministry. The rate is quite high recently," a former official of the ministry said, asking not to be named.

In the full five-year term of UPA II, only two senior HRD officials chose to quit.

Sources said the rate of attrition is higher in the HRD ministry than in other departments in this government.

Minister Smriti Irani, asked about the trend, said the officials have left of their own choice. "They wanted to move out. What can be done?" Irani told The Telegraph .

For repatriation or transfer, the officer concerned places a request that has to be approved by the minister. The file then goes to the department of personnel and training (DoPT) for a final decision.

All four officials - like the heads of institutions who have resigned - have cited personal reasons for their decision to move out.

Approached by this paper, Chauhan declined to comment on her decision. Two of the three other officials who have quit, Veena Ish and Praveen Prakash, did not answer telephone calls from this paper.

Sources said additional secretary Amarjeet Sinha, who was handling statistics and technical education, too had wanted to move out after a tiff with Irani over selection of IIT directors. However, before he made a formal request, he was stripped of the charge of technical education.

In UPA II, higher education secretary Vibha Puri Das had moved to the tribal affairs ministry in 2012. The other official was Manoj Singh, the commissioner of Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti, who returned to the Uttar Pradesh cadre in August 2011.