Mamata tells PM proposed changes in IAS cadre rules 'draconian' & non-federal

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Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has shot off another letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly objecting to the proposed amendments in the IAS cadre rules which have gone in for a further revision. She said the Centre was taking the matter to “non-federal extremes” and found the proposal more “draconian” than the former.

It goes against the “foundation of our federal policy and the basic structure of Constitutional scheme”, she wrote in her second letter to the PM in a matter of eight days.

The revised government proposal gives the Centre power to transfer IAS and IPS officers without taking approval from the states.

According to Banerjee, the Centre has further “accentuated its stand” by revising the earlier draft and making it more stringent. The Centre was taking this issue to “non-federal extremes”, adding that she found the revised amendment proposal more “draconian” than the former.

The TMC chief argued that its “very grain is against the foundations of our great federal polity”.

Moreover, it will be a like a “Damocles’ sword” hanging over the officers and create a “fear psychosis” among them, said the TMC supremo adding that this will impact their “performance, effectiveness and accountability to the state government”.

These changes will create an adverse effect that will become “endemic, permanent and irreversible”. she said. And, she pointed out that the proposed amendments can be “misused” by the party in power at the Centre.

“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 quite apart from such usurpation being unconstitutional on the face of it,” wrote the CM of Bengal.

Also read: Mamata meets PM, wants BSF’s territorial jurisdiction withdrawn

On the 75th year of our republic, it does not bode well for us to weaken this steel frame so immeasurably, indeed to reduce it to putty, she added eloquently. On January 13, Banerjee wrote to PM Modi requesting him not to go ahead with the proposal since it would hamper the functioning of states and make it impossible to assess and plan its administration.

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah too echoed Banerjee’s views and said he has also vehemently opposed the proposed changes. These changes will be “another nail” in the coffin of the country’s federal structure, tweeted the NC leader.

Further, he tweeted that how would a CM Modi react if PM Modi summarily removed his DG or CS?. And added that J&K had lost all its powers of appointment in 2019 and now the rest of India’s states will also be in the same boat.

What is the amendment proposed by the Centre?

In its amendment, the Centre has proposed to include a provision in Rule 6 of IAS (Cadre) Rules, 1954, which said that any IAS officer could be posted on central deputation with the concurrence of the state government concerned.

Keeping this part of the rule intact, it will insert an addition: “Provided that each state government shall make available for deputation to the central government, such number of eligible officers of various levels to the extent of the central deputation reserve prescribed under regulations referred to in Rule 4 (1), adjusted proportionately by the number of officers available with the state government concerned vis-a-vis the total authorised strength of the State Cadre at a given point of time.”

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