The Parkash Singh Badal regime has shortlisted a panel comprising a son and a daughter-in-law of two powerful ruling Akali Dal leaders to fill two vacant slots in Punjab cadre of the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) through what is known the ‘nomination route.’
Dr Shiv Karan Singh Kahlon, son of former Punjab assembly speaker and veteran Akali leader Nirmal Singh Kahlon, and Parampal Kaur, daughter-in-law of rural development and panchayats minister Sikandar Singh Maluka, are among the 10 officials selected by the screening committee, government sources told Hindustan Times.
The state government has sent the names of these short-listed candidates to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and interviews will be held on December 3.
It is learnt the interview board will comprise one UPSC member, besides the Punjab chief secretary and one senior IAS officer of Punjab cadre.
The interview panel is dominated by state- cadre IAS officers, who are perceived to be prone to political pressures, and the selection under this nomination route is decided on the basis of annual confidential reports, performance in the interview and feedback the UPSC gets from state IAS officers.
Hence, inclusion of Kahlon, currently posted as district health officer at Amritsar and Parampal, who is district development and panchayat officer in the ministry of her father-in-law Maluka, has raised eyebrows in the political and administrative circles.
Other shortlisted officers are ML Sharma, economic advisor to Punjab government; Harinder Sidhu, managing director Housefed; Daljeet Kaur, additional director technical education; Arshdeep Singh, executive engineer, PWD; Simarjot Kaur, joint director food supplies; Dr Puneet Girdhar, assistant professor in government dental college Amritsar; Harish Nayar, additional labour commissioner; Prabhjit Singh, joint director IT department.
Apart from the Punjab Civil Service (PCS) officers, who can become IAS officers, another channel of joining the IAS is through nomination of non-state civil services officers.
While Dr Kahlon has been angling to become an IAS officer through this easy route since 2011, cabinet minister Maluka’s daughter-in-law was also in the race in 2013 which she lost at the screening level due to lack of sufficient experience and low pay scale.