Bypassing CM, new TN Governor seeks info on welfare schemes from officials

RN Ravi’s move seen to undermine gubernatorial propriety, but State Chief Secretary plays down controversy

RN Ravi
Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi

“Is Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi overstepping his powers?” This is the question being raised following the letter by the State Chief Secretary circulated among the secretaries of various State departments.

The letter dated October 18, signed by Chief Secretary V Iraianbu, has ‘requested’ the secretaries “to be prepared to apprise the Hon’ble Governor” about their respective departments’ work on ongoing welfare schemes of both the State and the Union governments.

Call for PowerPoint presentations

“The PowerPoint presentation may also be prepared for the above said purpose. The PowerPoint prepared is to be discussed before the presentation. The date and time will be intimated soon,” said the letter that is now viral on social media.

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Technically, the Governor is entitled to ask for details from any of the departments only through the Chief Minister of the State. While his predecessor Banwarilal Purohit had hit the roads to inspect the schemes, Ravi is asking the officials to meet him.

But is the Governor within his rights to do so?

According to D Ravikumar, Lok Sabha MP from Villupuram, the Governor’s latest action is nothing short of interfering in the State government’s rights and governance. In a video statement released on his social media handles, Ravikumar has said that according to Section 167 of the Constitution, the Governor has the powers to seek details about welfare schemes implemented in a State, through its Chief Minister.

Disha committee guidelines

“In every State the Union government is implementing 41 schemes. In order to monitor the works of those schemes, the Disha committee has been formed at the State and district level. At the State level, the committee is headed by the respective Chief Minister and members from the various parties. At the district level, it is headed by the MP from the respective district and the MLAs and the officials. While the State level committee should meet twice a year, the district level committee should meet once in three months,” said Ravikumar.

Following the commotion, on October 26, Iraianbu sent out a statement explaining the rationale behind his letter. His official letter, which was circulated among the secretaries, has become “a topic of unnecessary discussion”, he alleged.

“In order to expound about the various welfare schemes to the newly appointed Governor, I have sent an official letter to all the officials. Advising the officials to be ready with information on the schemes and operations is a normal one. Converting it into a political controversy is not right. Those who realise the administrative process of the government understood that this is the usual process,” he stated.

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