Dr Shiv Karan Singh Kahlon, son of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) veteran and former Punjab Vidhan Sabha speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon, is once again in the race to become Punjab cadre Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer through the nomination route, it is learnt.
This year again, Dr Kahlon is one of the five candidates the Parkash Singh Badal administration has shortlisted to fill up the sole post of the IAS through the nomination route.
Apart from the Punjab Civil Service (PCS) officers who can become the IAS officers, another channel of joining the IAS is through nomination of non-state civil services officers.
This year too, Punjab has one seat vacant under this category.
It is since 2011 that the 1974-born Dr Kahlon, posted as district health officer at Amritsar, has been angling to become an IAS officer through this route under which no written test is held.
Dr Kahlon was originally appointed in Haryana during the Om Prakash Chautala government in October 2000 as medical officer and was “absorbed” in Punjab by the then Parkash Singh Badal government in January 2001. Now, for the fourth consecutive time, he is in the race to become IAS officer.
Government sources say the screening committee headed by chief secretary Sarvesh Kaushal has prepared a panel of five officials, including ML Sharma, economic adviser to the Punjab government, and Harinder Sidhu, additional registrar, cooperative department. The state government had received over 20 names.
Sources say the state government has sent this panel of five candidates to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). One member of the UPSC, the Punjab chief secretary and one senior IAS officer of Punjab cadre will interview the shortlisted candidates and the process has to be completed within this year.
Last year, apart from Dr Kahlon, another political heavyweight, then additional director general of school education Parampal Kaur, daughter-in-law of minister Sikander Singh Maluka, was also in the race, which she lost at the screening level.
In view of the tug-of-war between Kahlon and Maluka, the government had prepared a specific criterion to ensure that merit was not compromised. While in 2013, then cooperative bank MD Kamaldeep Singh Sangha — considered efficient — joined IAS through nomination, the two other serving officers who joined the IAS through this route are irrigation secretary KS Pannu and food and civil supplies secretary DS Grewal.