West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee recently shot off two letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly objecting to the “draconian” amendments proposed to the Indian Administrative Service (cadre) Rules, 1954. On Friday (January 22), Karnataka Opposition leader Siddaramaiah wrote to CM Basavaraj Bommai urging him to oppose this “evil” amendment by the Centre to reduce the powers of the state.
Stating that the proposed amendment is against federalism, Siddaramaiah demanded Bommai to convene an emergency meeting with Opposition parties to discuss this matter and convey the state’s disapproval. The BJP government in the Centre needs to be told to act in step with the ideals of the founding fathers of the Constitution, he added.
Siddaramaiah said that according to the new amendment, the Centre can summon IAS/IPS officers or send them back to their states at will. Currently, the state had to give the nod for these officials to be sent on Central deputation but with this move the Centre was blatantly trying to “throw away” this power of the states.
Also, he pointed out that if the Centre has authority over officers, it can wield its authority over the administration as well. And questioned that if state governments do not possess power over their officers, how can work get done? The Centre is attempting to introduce this “evil amendment” to exert control over state governments, added the former Karnataka CM.
The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) wrote to the States on January 12 that the Union government proposes to amend Rule 6 (deputation of cadre officers) of the Indian Administrative Service (Cadre) Rules 1954.
A new clause is proposed to be added to the rules, which states that “in specific situations where services of cadre officer(s) are required by the central government in the public interest, the central government may seek the services of such officer(s) for posting under the central government…and the state government…”
The letter comes after the DoPT has communicated to the states that they “are not sponsoring an adequate number of officers for Central deputation”. And that Centre is facing a shortage of All India Services (AIS) officers and they are unable to meet the requirement of Union Ministries.
Karnataka has 267 IAS officers and 18 are on central deputation, according to the Department of Personnel & Administrative Reforms (DPAR). A media report in a daily newspaper stated that in states like Kerala, which has 125 cadre, 20 have been posted to the Centre, while in Tamil Nadu, out of 322, 20 officers have been sent on deputation to the Centre.
However, there is mounting resentment among states, especially run by Opposition parties about the way the Centre is trying to infringe on the rights of the states. At first, the DoPT had dispatched three letters on December 20 and 27 and January 6 seeking comments from the states but after six states opposed the move and the rest did not respond, it further revised the proposal.
The states have been given time till January 25 to respond.