Mamata Banerjee on Thursday wrote another letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a plea to drop the move to amend the IAS (Cadre) Rules, 1954, after the Union government inserted another provision in the law that would allow New Delhi to post any officer on central deputation immediately bypassing reservations from states.
“The moot point of the further revised draft amendment proposal is that an officer, whom the Central Government may choose to take out of a State to any part of the country without taking his/her consent and without the agreement of the state government under whom he/she is serving may now stand released from his/her current assignment forthwith.
The power proposed to be usurped by the Central Government by resorting to over-centralisation of powers is going to destroy the morale and freedom of the All-India Service officers...,” the chief minister wrote.
According to senior Nabanna officials, Mamata was “upset” with the way the Centre had been trying to bulldoze states’ voices in terms of releasing IAS officers for central deputation.
The chief minister had written a letter earlier to Modi urging him to withdraw the proposed amendment.
“Provided further that whatever the state government concerned does not give effect to the decision of the Central Government within the specific time, the officer(s) shall stand relieved from the cadre from the date as may be specified by the Central Government,” the new insertion to the proposed amendment states.
A source at Nabanna said the new insertion came as a shock to Mamata as it would allow neither the state nor the officer concerned to move court in case of any disagreement on central deputation.
The source also said Mamata felt once the proposed amendment came into effect, it would go against the state administration as the officers would always be under pressure and would be less committed to the state.
“The chief minister always believes that the officers should not be kept under any pressure to ensure that the officers can concentrate on their work,” said a bureaucrat.
Mamata explained the issue in detail in her letter. “It will hang on the head of each officer of the All India Services like a Damocles’ sword. It will create fear psychosis which is bound to impact their performance, effectiveness and accountability to the State Government,” the letter reads.
The letter said the amendment could be misused by the party in power at the Centre for immediate gains.
“Let us not forget that the proposed amendments are very much prone to be misused by the party in power at the Centre. We at the helm of governance of the country should not get misled by immediate gains which may sound tempting but have the potential of causing damage for all times to come,” Mamata wrote.
A senior bureaucrat said that the newly inserted provision had made the proposed amendment more lethal as the Centre would be able to post any officer in Delhi overnight bypassing any kind of disagreement with the states.
“The chief minister has reasons to be worried as all the officers would listen to instructions of Delhi first rather than the state government once the amendment is passed,” said a senior official.