Rawat clears CMO of the other Rawat’s shadow
A little over a month after he took charge, Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has begun consolidating “his grip over the bureaucracy” in an apparent bid to speed up governance. One of the first moves in this regard was a major revamp of the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) where almost all the senior officials have been divested of their charge.
In an order issued Wednesday, four of the five key officials manning the CMO were removed and directed to look after their respective departments. They are principal secretary to the CM Anand Bardhan, in-charge secretaries Shailesh Bagauli and Arvind Hyanki and additional secretary Vimmy Sachdeva. Besides, nine other personnel of Class-3 and Class-4 ranks have also been reverted to their departments, sources said.
Rawat is likely to replace them with officials and staff of his choice, sources said adding he “ is not comfortable” with officials who were close to his predecessor (Harish Rawat). The overhaul comes weeks after 1987-batch IAS officer Om Prakash took over as the additional chief secretary (ACS) to the CM. Om Prakash had been Rawat’s secretary when he was the state agriculture minister in the last BJP government.
Sources said the CM’s decision to revamp his office could be a part of his move to consolidate his grip on the bureaucracy to speed up governance. Authorities, however, said not much should be read into the reshuffle in the CMO. “Officials the CM wants to retain in his office or doesn’t want to retain is absolutely his prerogative and discretion,” principal secretary, secretariat administration, Anand Bardhan told HT.
However, the reports about Rawat trying to “consolidate his grip on the bureaucracy” got credence because on a day the CM removed the top officials, he also directed the CMO staff to finish work within a given time. He also directed that biometric system of marking attendance be introduced in offices across the state.
Authorities were also directed to cut the red tape by quickly clearing files and proposals relating to various schemes, projects, and administrative matters awaiting clearance. “(In any case), files shouldn’t pass through more than four layers of processing before being cleared,” a note quoted the CM as directing officials. He also directed officials to fast-track the decision making process using online systems. They were also directed to introduce an electronically operated ‘tracking system’ for a speedy clearance of files. Rawat also directed secretariat officials to fix a particular day in a week to hear the grievances of people.