By ARUN PRATAP SINGH
DEHRADUN, 26 Feb: Uttarakhand being a small state has IAS cadre strength of just 120 and IPS cadre strength of 73. Time and again, every time when some senior IAS officers are selected for Central deputation, the state, does face paucity of experienced IAS officers to handle charge of crucial departments. Principal Secretary RK Sudhanshu (1997 batch) has been given appointment at the level of Joint Secretary as Chief Executive Officer with Ministry of Electronics and Information of the Government of India, while Secretary Finance Amit Negi (1999 batch) has been given appointment as Joint Secretary Expenditure, under Finance Ministry of Government of India. With Additional Chief Secretary Anand Vardhan (1992 batch) also expected to leave the state to go on Central deputation, Uttarakhand is expected to face a similar situation yet again!
When the state was formed, for many years IAS officers who had gained enough administrative experience in their original allotted cadre of Uttar Pradesh had served and given a good administrative direction to the state. For past some years, especially since past one decade, it is being observed that many senior officers who had gone on Central deputation did not return to the state at all. Some retired from Central Services as Secretaries like M Ramchandran or are still serving with Govt of India like Anup Wadhawan (1985 batch), who is incidentally the senior most Civil servant of Uttarakhand Cadre and is presently posted as Commerce Secretary, while some even chose to take premature retirement like NN Prasad while his wife Anjali Prasad too went to the Centre and never returned. Some recent cases are Rakesh Kumar and Bhupinder Kaur Aulakh who took premature retirement. In addition, some senior officers are being underutilised. They include Om Prakash who was moved out from the post of Chief Secretary and shifted as Chief Commissioner of Revenue. He is also due to retire in May this year. Anup Wadhawan, is not expected to return while it is not clear how long will the present Chief Secretary SS Sandhu remain in the state. In case of a change, one more senior officer will have to take over as Chief Secretary leaving even lesser number of experienced officers to take charge of important portfolios. Finance, Home, Planning and Revenue are such departments that require huge administrative experience within the related departments. With Amit Singh Negi, having spent some years as Secretary Finance and having just begun to have useful knowledge in Finance, going to the Centre, hardly anyone is left in Uttarakhand with enough experience in Finance. Anyone joining will have to go through grooming or the grind of gaining experience. Several other bureaucrats of Uttarakhand may go on Central deputation. Majority of them being of level of Secretary or Secretary Incharge (Those officers who according to rules are not actually promoted to the rank of Secretary in a state government but are given charge of department as a Secretary). The government has twenty odd secretaries in charge. In case of some more officers going to the Centre on deputation, the state has to face difficulties in running the administration. Sources claim that some of those trying for a Central deputation include officers like Nitesh Jha of 2002 batch, Shailesh Bagoli, Sachin Kurve of 2003 batch. A little relief is expected by way of some of the officers currently on deputation returning to the state. Some even before the completion of their tenure at the Centre. In the past, some officers from other state cadres also served in senior positions in Uttarakhand, including Sanjeev Chopra of West Bengal Cadre and Alok Kumar. However, under Modi Government, interstate deputation has become rare. The bureaucrats already on Central deputation and expected to return soon include D Senthil Pandiyan (2002 batch), Ashish Joshi (2006 batch), Jyoti Yadav (2009 batch), and Mangesh Ghildiyal (2012 batch). There are also officers on State Deputation (Sridhar Babu Addanki-2008 Batch-Andhra Pradesh) and Raghav Langhar (2009 BatchJammu-Kashmir). Along with this, many young bureaucrats V Shanmugam (2007 batch, Neeraj Khairwal (2007 batch), Savin Bansal (2009 batch) are on Study Leave. As per the current policy of the Central Government, any officer of any cadre to be selected at the level of Additional Secretary or Secretary in the Government of India should have at least 3 or 5 years of Central deputation. The bureaucrats who feel that they can have strong qualification to join the Central Government service in future are leaving no stone unturned to go on Central deputation. Usually, those posted as Additional Secretaries or Secretaries with the Centre don’t return to parent cadre unless they are lured to hold charge as Chief Secretary.