The state chief secretary (CS) Mr H K Dwivedi‘s decision to monitor the progress of government projects and schemes in different departments has created a widespread flutter among many bureaucrats like additional chief secretaries (ACS), principal secretaries (PS) and secretaries.
Top bureaucrats in several government departments felt that the initiative taken by the CS is demoralizing to the senior IAS officers holding the post of ACS and PS.
On 4 September, the state secretariat Nabanna decided that Mr Dwibedi would hold meetings with ACSs or PSs attached with respective departments to monitor the status of various projects and schemes funded by the state government.
He will sit on these meetings on pre-scheduled dates every month. For instance, he will meet the officials of the education department on first Monday every month to take stocks of schemes like students’ credit cards, mid-day meals, scholarships, distributions of tabs etc.
Requesting anonymity some bureaucrats said, “This is demoralizing for us because Nabanna virtually does not want to depend on ACSs, PSs or secretaries of concerned departments. The move indicates a tone of no-confidence on ministers of respective departments. What’s the necessity of
holding meetings with senior officers separately at Nabanna when there are ministers who could monitor the progress of schemes and projects in concerned departments regularly?”
“Hardly, a couple of months ago the state government had taken decisions in connection with replying of parliamentary questions. This was also a step expressing ‘no trust’ on bureaucrats,” an ACS felt pleading anonymity.
On 16 July, Mr Dwibedi had issued a directive to the ACSs, PSs and secretaries of all departments saying, “It has been observed that the replies to the Parliamentary Questions are not always processed in time.”
Expressing deep concern on the issue the state chief secretary Mr Dwivedi had directed ACSs, PSs and secretaries to submit replies to Parliamentary questions timely.
Interestingly, Mr Dwibedi had also informed these bureaucrats the ‘replies’ would be approved by the ‘competent authority’ before submitting them to the parliament.
Senior officials at the state secretariat Nabanna felt that the ‘competent authority’ is no other than the chief minister Miss Mamata Banerjee.
“Replies for parliamentary questions to be submitted to the chief secretary first and he will send them to the chief minister for approval. This move seems for the first time and from now the chief minister will vet all ‘replies’ sent by the respective department,” an official said requesting anonymity.