Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat is likely to undertake a major bureaucratic reshuffle soon to speed up the “slow paced governance”, a charge he has been facing since assuming charge nearly two months ago.
According to sources, the groundwork for the reshuffle has already been carried out by chief secretary S Ramaswamy and the additional chief secretary to the CM, Om Prakash.
“On Monday, the two officials held discussions at the secretariat,” said an official, who did not wish to be identified. According to the official, a reshuffle was long overdue as all the top bureaucrats working under the CM are those who are considered close to his predecessor Harish Rawat. The incumbent CM is said to be unhappy with the “bureaucratic sloth” impeding governance. CM also made his displeasure known on Monday when he reprimanded state officials for coming to a meeting unprepared and also warned of stern action, including suspension.
The meeting had been called to discuss the issue of distribution of assets between Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Rawat, who chaired the meeting, asked Ramaswamy to ensure that all officials come prepared in the next meeting to be held over the issue after a fortnight. He also asked the officials concerned to divide all matters related to distribution of assets into categories like -- matters pending in courts, those which have been disposed of, disputed issues and those pending before the Centre, and make a strong case in favour of the state. Categorisation of the pending matters will help in their early resolution, he said. The chief minister said he will himself review the progress made in this regard after a fortnight and the officials coming unprepared may face action, including suspension.
Meanwhile, cabinet minister and spokesperson for the Rawat government Madan Kaushik did not rule out the possibility of a major bureaucratic reshuffle. “It is already happening at the lower level and will also happen (at the higher level),” he said when reached for comments.
Kaushik claimed that delivery of services had already started speeding up under the new CM and would gather further speed after the bureaucratic reshuffle.
In fact, as part of his move to rein in the bureaucracy, the CM has made it mandatory for all secretariat officials to mark their attendance through the biometric system. “In that connection, orders have already been issued,” Anand Bardhan, principal secretary, secretariat administration said.
“Officials at all levels will mark their attendance through the biometric system,” he said when HT referred to reports that all top officials including chief secretary S Ramaswamy would also mark their attendance through the biometric system.
Bardhan said there were well laid out procedures under which action would be taken against officials who don’t reach their offices in time. Secretariat sources said that it would now be mandatory for officials to reach their offices at 9:30am. “Besides, they would also have to adhere to the rules whereby officials have been given only half-an-hour’s time for lunch,” an official, who did not wish to be named, said.