Mamata writes to Modi on IAS deputation rules
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has expressed her reservations to the proposed changes in rules for deputation of IAS officers from state governments.
“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,” Mamata write on Thursday, underlining that over-centralisation of powers was going to destroy the morale and freedom of the services.
“It is completely going to render them and the state governments at the mercy of the central governments since the all-India service serves as the backbone of a state’s administrative machinery,” Mamata said in her missive.
Acting on a decision of the Personnel Ministry, the Centre has proposed tht state governments make available a fixed number of IAS officers for deputation at the Centre. The decision follows the Centre’s missive to all state chief secretaries to release more IAS officers to Delhi, citing a shortage of officers at the level of deputy secretary, director and joint secretary.
The Bengal government had last year got involved in a public spat with the personnel ministry over the latter’s unilateral summons issued to then chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay.
Mamata had in her previous two terms complained of shortage of IAS officers in the state.
“…the proposed changes are very much prone to be misused by the party ruling at the Centre. We at the helm of governance in 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… This will essentially nullify India’s constitutional scheme in letter and spirit,” the Bengal chief minister wrote.
In what would appear to be a veiled threat aimed at the Centre, Mamata has urged the Prime Minister not to push state governments towards a “greater movement” to protect the spirit of India.
The Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre has often been accused of taking a vindictive stance towards political opponents, as well nettling state governments and depriving them from the state’s share of central revenues.
Three states with non-BJP governments, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, had their tableaux for the Republic Day parade rejected by the Home ministry. Elsewhere in Punjab, chief minister Charanjit Channi’s family members have been subjected to a probe by central agencies as the state gears up for polls. With both its oldest allies, the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Shiv Sena walking out in Punjab and Haryana, the BJP’s electoral prospects have dimmed.
The LDF government in Kerala has also decided to oppose the proposed changes in IAS rules. Recently, Kerala had supported the Tamil Nadu government’s stand on the draft Indian Ports Bill, which both the governments feel undermines states' control over ports and harbours.