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  Opinion   Columnists  02 Nov 2023  Dilip Cherian | Central posting of Gujarat IPS officers sets off huge Delhi buzz

Dilip Cherian | Central posting of Gujarat IPS officers sets off huge Delhi buzz

Love them, hate them ignore them at national peril, is the babu guarantee and Dilip’s belief. Share significant babu escapades
Published : Nov 3, 2023, 12:17 am IST
Updated : Nov 3, 2023, 12:17 am IST

13 IPS officers from various states were initially shortlisted for Central deputation

The MHA has already approached other states to relieve six IPS officers. (AA Representational Image)
 The MHA has already approached other states to relieve six IPS officers. (AA Representational Image)

The recent request by the ministry of home affairs (MHA) for the Central deputation of seven high-ranking IPS officers from the Gujarat cadre has stirred more than the usual buzz and anticipation, particularly among those officers who feature prominently in the list.

The IPS officers on the list include V. Chandrashekar, IGP of Surat range, Achal Tyagi of Mehsana, Praveen Meena, SP of Anand, Amit Vasava, SP of Ahmedabad, Ajit Rajian, DCP of Ahmedabad cyber cell, Sunil Joshi, SP of ATS and Shweta Shrimali, SP of Ahmedabad Central Jail. It’s noteworthy that this would be Mr Chandrashekar’s second stint in Central deputation, having previously served as DIG with the CBI.

Also notably, the husband-wife duo of Sunil Joshi and Shweta Shrimali has opted for Central deputation with the National Investigation Agency (NIA). Mr Joshi’s request to steer clear of the CBI reportedly led to his assignment with the NIA. The home ministry, meanwhile, has expressed a preference for CBI deputation for the remaining five IPS officers. 

According to sources, in total, 13 IPS officers from various states were initially shortlisted for Central deputation. The MHA has already approached other states to relieve six IPS officers and a similar request for the seven Gujarat cadre officers is expected soon. 

Sources say that this move is taking place in the context of more than 10 Gujarat cadre IPS officers who are already serving in various key positions in Central agencies. Gujarat never had it so good until the advent of the Modi Sarkar!

Meanwhile, though DKB is scrupulously avoiding being casteist, our deep throats are murmuring about a certain Central agency that has a promotion list that’s skewing some balance and disconcerting some. But on that, maybe more later?

Will Pandian’s transition to politics alter governance in Odisha?

A significant development in Odisha is likely to impact the state’s political dynamics in the months ahead. V.K. Pandian, who has been serving as the private secretary to chief minister Naveen Patnaik since 2011, took voluntary retirement, opening the door to a more direct and influential role in the state’s administration.

A 2000-batch IAS officer, hailing from Tamil Nadu, Mr Pandian’s decision to apply for the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) was promptly approved within just three days. His swift transition raised eyebrows and garnered significant attention.

What makes Mr Pandian’s exit from the IAS particularly noteworthy is his immediate appointment to key positions in the Odisha government. Within a mere 24 hours of relinquishing his prestigious civil service career, he was designated as the chairman of “5T”, a ground-breaking governance reform initiative, and “Nabin Odisha”, a recently launched rural development scheme. Importantly, these roles are vested with the authority and rank of a Cabinet minister, placing Mr Pandian at the heart of Odisha’s political landscape. 

Beyond his redoubtable professional qualifications, Mr Pandian’s personal connections also play a pivotal role in this transition. His Odia wife is a significant asset as he embarks on this political journey. His proven reliability and dedication over the years while serving as chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s private secretary further add to his credentials.

Mr Pandian’s move is not just a shift in his career, it is a major turning point in Odisha’s political narrative. With a dedicated babu now assuming a prominent political role, it will be worth watching how Odisha’s governance is affected and what new strategies, reforms and initiatives will unfold.

A rare climbdown by Modi govt

It’s indeed a rare climbdown for the Modi Sarkar. Barely a week after issuing a circular deputing joint secretary, directors and deputy directors as district “rath prabharis” to highlight the government’s achievements, the Centre has backed down after facing a severe backlash from, among others, babus themselves! Even more surprising is that the Election Commission has issued a notice saying that such activities cannot be held in constituencies where the model code of conduct is in force until December 5.

After facing criticism from Opposition parties and several retired senior bureaucrats, I&B Secretary Apurva Chandra, too, echoed the poll panel’s words, adding that using the term “rath prabharis” for senior government officers is improper and these officials would now be addressed as nodal officers. While the campaign will continue, the negativity it has created in the bureaucracy and among the public may have surprised the government itself.

For most of its tenure, it has cultivated a pliant babu culture, with few daring to question their political masters, especially on issues like propriety and ethics of governance. This strong resistance from the babus, then, is a rare occurrence indeed, but one that bodes well for the future of civil services and democracy.

Tags: naveen patnaik, dilip cherian, v.k. pandian