A new proposal mooted by the BJP government plans to keep middle-order officers, who have served in the previous Congress-NCP government for more than five years, out of the ministerial establishment.
The proposal will affect at least 70% of personal assistants (PA), personal secretaries (PS) and officers on special duty (OSD), who have been at the helm of affairs for five or more years.
While it was claimed the Devendra Fadnavis government would not retain any of the PA and PS that had worked with the earlier state government, it found it difficult to make it a blanket rule. The top-level of the bureaucracy is of the opinion that without experienced middle-level officers, it will be difficult to effectively administer the state. Based on the suggestion, the new government has decided to go for those officers that have spent less than five years in their present jobs.
The proposal moved by the general administration department (GAD) now awaits the chief minister’s nod. It states that PA and PS, who are generally borrowed from other departments, cannot be those who have served in the ministerial establishment for more than five years. The department believes that it is the right time to clean up the breed of arrogant officers, who had risen taller than even some of the ministers.
“We have examples of PA, PS and OSD who got some of the ministers in trouble by their interference and high handedness. Jayant Patil, Laxman Dhobale,Vijaykumar Gavit and Shivajirao Moghe have experienced this. Ministers in the new government are relatively new and in such a scenario, the dominance of the ‘established’ officers may prove to be troublesome for the ministers. The new proposal is yet to get the nod from the CM, but he is in favour of it,” said an officer from the GAD on condition of anonymity.
However, a source from the CM’s office added that there was the possibility of discontent among the BJP ministers as they want some officers to continue in their positions. “Eknath Khadse and Vinod Tawde have continued with their officers, who have worked with them through their time in the assembly and council. Similarly, others too have submitted a list of officers that they want to work with.”
In such cases, only the CM will have the discretionary power to bend the rules for particular officers, he added. He also said that Fadnavis is expected to take a tough stand on the issue as it is on the same lines as the policy adopted by the Modi government at the Centre.