Mamata Banerjee announces new incentives for Bengal civil services
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced new incentives for the state civil service officers including creation of more districts to accommodate more officers.
KOLKATA: The West Bengal government is in the process of creating more districts in the state out of the existing 22 to accommodate more officers of the West Bengal Civil Service (WBCS) cadre, chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced on Thursday.
“We can have as many as 45 or 46 districts someday. We will need more district magistrates (DM), sub-divisional officers (SDO) and block development officers (BDO),” she said while addressing the annual general meeting of the WBCS Executive Officers’ Association at the Town Hall in Kolkata.
“New officers and those who are in service will be needed in the new districts. A committee has been formed for this purpose. We will also increase the size of the WBCS cadre by 200,” she said.
WBCS officers serving as DMs, SDOs and BDOs will draw the same special allowance given to Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers serving in these posts, Banerjee announced amid loud applause from the audience.
The chief minister said she was keen to see promising WBCS officers in posts that are traditionally reserved for the IAS cadre.
“Bureaucrats are the face of our government. WBCS officers belong to this soil,” said Banerjee and lamented the death of four WBCS officers during the Covid pandemic.
“I am looking for promising people. More WBCS officers can become district magistrates from now on. They can become departmental secretaries as well. There is a shortage of IAS officers in our state. We have talked to the Centre about this,” Banerjee said.
Banerjee announced that senior WBCS officers who have reached the maximum pay scale but have some years left in service will get a monthly allowance of ₹10,000 till they retire.
“To avoid stagnation in salary at the top level, we will also add four additional pay scales,” she said.
“I hope the finance secretary will not be angry with me,” the chief minster quipped while claiming that the state is facing financial constraints because the Centre has not cleared funds under several heads such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act or MGNREGA.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) reacted sharply, saying that instead of paying state government employees the salary recommended by the Centre’s Seventh Pay Commission, Banerjee is busy forming a bureaucratic system to serve her political goals.
Bengal BJP chief spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said: “Banerjee’s dependence on bureaucracy will ruin the internal chemistry of the administrative system. The chief minister should first implement the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission, fill up thousands of vacancies in schools, colleges and universities and stop accommodating retired bureaucrats in plum posts with tax payer’s money.”
State government employees and teachers’ associations are demanding implementation of the pay commission’s recommendations from 2019.