Karnataka

There is no time to settle down in State’s bureaucracy

The current wave of reshuffle has left many top officers perplexed

The current wave of reshuffle in the bureaucracy by the BJP government in Karnataka appears to have left many top officers in the State unsettled. Though realignment of officers is not uncommon when a new government takes over, many feel that what is disconcerting in the present situation is the apparent haphazardness with which it is being done.

Three dispensations

Over the last two years, the change of guard at the State — from Siddaramaiah-led Congress to H.D. Kumaraswamy-led Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress coalition to now B.S. Yediyurappa-led BJP government — bureaucracy has seen reshuffle in big numbers. But what has perplexed the officers is the way in which transfers are effected, and in many cases cancelled almost immediately in the present government.

There is no time to settle down in State’s bureaucracy

For example, over the last month, at least four big transfers were cancelled. M. Maheshwar Rao was posted to Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board in place of Tushar Girinath as chairman, but the posting was cancelled in no time. Similarly, Land Record, Survey and Settlement Commissioner Munish Moudgil was transferred to the Administrative Training Institute, Mysuru, but his transfer was cancelled in a couple of days. Similarly, Additional Commissioner of Police, Bengaluru, Umesh Kumar was transferred and his post downgraded, but he was brought back to the original post within a few days.

Incidentally, IAS officer Rohini Sindhuri’s transfer from the post of Secretary, Karnataka Building and Other Construction Workers Board, over her alleged refusal to divert ₹3,000 crore out of about ₹8,000 crore meant for workers’ welfare to flood relief, has also raised hackles in the system.

“Obviously, morale will be down when transfers keep happening. Many transfers happen because of loyalty to a leader. In the last two years, all the three parties have been in power and transfers have taken placed based on loyalty,” a senior IAS officer told The Hindu.

Disconnect with IAS

According to sources, unlike the previous Chief Ministers who were directly clued in about IAS and IPS officers, Mr. Yediyurappa is distant from them. “He appears to be relying on a set of advisers. Though some transfer cancellations have happened sporadically even in the past, there are one too many now,” said an officer. While the family and close circles of Mr. Yediyurappa have been accused of handling the transfers, his younger son B.Y. Vijayendra had to give a clarification that he was not involved in any transfers.

A senior IPS officer said this was a larger issue. “There is no stability of tenure. Though a supervisory officer is assured of a one-year tenure, many officers have been transferred even before the completion of tenure. In fact, while the Supreme Court direction has laid down two-year tenure for supervisory officers, the Karnataka Police Act was amended to give one-year tenure. Even that is not happening,” he said.

A government source justified the current reshuffle as “natural and necessary when a new government is formed and every previous government has done it”.

However, while sources in the bureaucracy blamed the advisers for mishandling transfers, sources in the government confessed that the advisers’ advice is also not always being considered, resulting in confusion.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 1:47:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/there-is-no-time-to-settle-down-in-states-bureaucracy/article29544977.ece

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