Now that the first session of the legislature has ended, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan is expected to get to the next job at hand — to set the state administration in order. A reshuffle in the bureaucracy is on the cards as Chavan would like to appoint officers of his choice in key positions and fill vacancies in posts such as revenue secretary, chief executive officer of Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority and managing director of City and Industrial Development Corporation.
Sources said Chavan would like a complete overhaul of the administration that is under cloud following the Adarsh housing scam. "The state administration was regarded as one of the best in India in terms of efficiency and discipline. The reputation is damaged completely by what has happened in past few years,” said a source close to Chavan.
The state is lagging behind in terms of development, the administration is mired in corruption and bureaucrats are not taking politicians seriously, the source added. “The way some bureaucrats helped Adarsh promoters get clearances in exchange of flats has tarnished the administration's image. As such, Chavan is particular that the babus with dubious reputation should be kept away from key posts,” said the source.
Chavan is in Delhi for the All India Congress Committee’s plenary session. He is likely to return on Tuesday after which the cabinet might be reshuffled. Chavan is likely to review the performance of key bureaucrats including chief secretary, JP Dange and Mumbai municipal commissioner, Swadheen Kshatriya. “He has started getting information on the officers that are to be given key posts and those who can be retained,” said the source.
The source said Chavan is also likely to get senior IAS officers like Rajiv Agarwal back from the central deputation to handle important state assignments. However, some senior officials doubt whether a a massive bureaucratic reshuffle will work. A senior official, on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media said, “A lot depends on the kind of people Chavan picks for the key jobs. Chavan will have to choose from the same set of bureaucrats. It will be important to retain the officers who are doing a good job and get a few fresh faces to show change in the face of the administration,” he said.
Chavan’s success also depends on the cooperation by his alliance partner, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). There is doubt whether the NCP will agree to a complete reshuffle in the administration. Some NCP ministers are in charge of key departments such as finance.