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It’s draconian: Mamata to PM on IAS cadre rules

“I find the revised amendment more draconian than the former, and indeed its very grain is against the foundations of our great federal polity and the basic structure of India’s Constitutional scheme”.

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

In her second letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi this week, chief minister Mamata Banerjee today yet again objected at the Centre’s revised draft amendment to the IAS (Cadre) Rules, 1954 apprehending that it would “destroy the morale and freedom of the IAS officers”, create a “fear psychosis” which will impact their performance.

She said that the proposal is against the foundations of “our great federal polity” and the “basic structure of India’s Constitutional scheme” and urged Modi for its roll-back. “I humbly urge you to kindly reconsider this move by the Central government and not to go ahead with the proposed amendments and request you not to push us to the point of greater movements on this issue to protect the soul of this great democracy that India is and has been,”Banerjee wrote to Modi in a two-page letter.

Earlier, in a letter dated 13 January,Banerjee had expressed strong reservation against this move. However, instead of withdrawing it, the Centre had instead proposed another revised draft. Currently, out of 378 IAS posts, there are 285 officers of which seven are in central deputation and two on study leave.According to Banerjee the revised draft proposal has taken the matter to “further non-federal extremes”.

“I find the revised amendment more draconian than the former, and indeed its very grain is against the foundations of our great federal polity and the basic structure of India’s Constitutional scheme”. The revised proposal states that an officer, who is selected by the Central government for posting in any part of the country, without his/her consent and without agreement of the state government, will now stand released from his/her current assignment. Banerjee apprehended that the over-centralisation of powers is going to destroy the morale and freedom of the IAS officers as well as render them and all the state governments at the mercy of the Cente since the IAS serve as the backbone of a state’s administrative machinery.

The amendment will hang on the head of each officer like “a Damocles’ sword” and “create fear psychosis which is bound to impact their performance, effectiveness and accountability to the state government” Banerjee reiterated her request to roll back the proposed draft amendment and said that it would otherwise have far-reaching consequences for India.

Further, Banerjee also warned that the proposed amendments are prone to be misused by the party in power at the Centre and leave the states at the mercy of the Central government. She said that no government would like to implement this change that will reduce the “steel frame of India to an entity functioning in perpetual fear, pressure or intimidation, causing instability and uncertainty in administration and development process”.