Wrong remedy: On IAS, IPS deputation rule changes

That the wrong remedy could exacerbate an ailment and not cure it is a well understood adage. This holds true for the Union government’s (Department of Personnel & Training – DoPT) proposals to amend Rule 6 related to deputation of cadre officers of the IAS (Cadre) Rules 1954. Reports have shown that the deputation from States to the Union government has been uneven. Some States have not nominated officers for deputation adequately to work with the Union government; in this, West Bengal (11 out of the 280 officers are on central deputation), Rajasthan (13 out of 247) and Telangana (7 out of an authorised strength of 208) stand out. This has led to vacancies across Union government ministries. Numbers accessed by The Hindu show that actual deputation as a percentage of the mandated reserves fell from 69% (2014) to 30% (2021), suggesting that there is merit in the DoPT’s identification of shortages in deputation being an issue. But does this necessitate the rule changes proposed by

Himalayan questions: On environment and Uttarakhand polls

In the run-up to the February 14 Uttarakhand Assembly elections, temples and development are among the issues raised by politicians. Former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat’s attempt to bring the four shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri as well as other temples under one board ended with the 2019 Act being withdrawn in November 2021, after continued opposition from priests. The new Chief Minister, Pushkar Singh Dhami, who in July 2021 replaced Tirath Singh Rawat, who had replaced Mr. Trivendra Singh Rawat in March of the same year, carried out a review. Mr. Dhami said while the decision to constitute the board may have been taken with good intentions, it had been rolled back after discussion within the Government. Going into the elections, everyone from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to local leaders in the BJP have touted the redevelopment of Kedarnath as among the achievements of what they call the “double engine” government in the Centre and

Court and compensation: On ex gratia to kin of COVID-19 victims

It took much persuasion by the Supreme Court and all its assertiveness to get the Union government to agree last year to pay a token compensation of ₹50,000 to the families of each of those who were claimed by COVID-19. The time has now come for the Court to assert its authority once again to ensure that neither tardiness on the part of the States nor incorrect rejection of claims deprives genuine victims of their right to the ex gratia amount. In the latest hearing, the Court had to pull up a couple of States for not disbursing the amount fast enough and express concern about the high number of rejected claims. In the backdrop of reports that there has been significant under-reporting of deaths due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Bench had passed orders some months ago to the effect that no person’s family shall be denied the benefit on the ground that the death certificate did not specify the cause of death as due to COVID-19. Early experience since the outbreak showed that


Yemen’s tragedy

The Saudi-led coalition, in which the UAE was a part, started bombing Yemen in 2015, hoping to swiftly dislodge the Houthi rebels from Sana’a and reinstate the government of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi in the capital. Almost seven years later, the Iran-backed Houthis, who were holed up in northern Yemen and began counter-attacks with missiles and drones into Saudi Arabia, have expanded the war all the way to the Gulf coast of the UAE. Monday’s drone attacks on Abu Dhabi by the Houthis, in which two Indians and a Pakistani were killed, were a message to the Emiratis on what they are capable of. It may not be a coincidence that the attacks were carried out at a time when the UAE-backed forces have been making slow gains in Yemen’s conflict against the Houthis. But the UAE’s involvement in Yemen has had many turns. It quit the Saudi-led coalition in 2020 as the war had hit a stalemate. Since then, the Emiratis have provided tactical support to the Southern Transitional Council, a separatist


All in the fray: On new contenders in Goa polls

Seven of the 13 governments formed in Goa since 1963 have been by coalitions. In 2017, it was more a usurpation of power than the making of a defensible coalition. The BJP, which had won only 13 of the 40 Assembly seats, cobbled up a coalition with the two main regional parties, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and the Goa Forward Party (GFP), and two Independents to form the government under Manohar Parrikar, outsmarting the Congress that had emerged as the single largest party with 17 seats. As the State saunters to the next Assembly election, the Congress is left with only two MLAs. Most of the others have crossed over to the BJP, which discarded its original partners, the MGP and the GFP, along the way. This time, the MGP has tied up with the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC), and the Vijai Sardesai-led GFP is in alliance with the Congress. The MGP at present has one and the GFP two MLAs in the Assembly. The 2022 Assembly election has been spiced up with the

Technology tangle: On 5G services and flight disruptions

Inflation conundrum

Bad start: on Australian Open build-up

Friend in need: On India-Sri Lanka ties

Unconquered: On India’s Test series loss to South Africa

A welcome probe: On PM security breach and propaganda

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