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Haryana shortlists minister’s daughter, deputy speaker’s brother for IAS post

16 candidates fulfilled all eligibility conditions, 5 were shortlisted; at least three with Outstanding ACRs of past five years rejected

india Updated: Nov 21, 2017 21:39 IST
Pawan Sharma
Pawan Sharma
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Haryana govt,ML Khattar govt,IAS spot
Given the criterion followed by the state government in preparing the panel, the selection procedure is perceived to be prone to political pulls and is akin to back-door entry to the elite IAS.(HT File )

The Manohar Lal Khattar government has shortlisted kin of two front-line Haryana BJP leaders to fill one Indian Administrative Service (IAS) seat from among non-state civil service officers.

Dr Asha Sharma, 42, daughter of education minister Ram Bilas Sharma, and Lajpat Rai, 56, brother of Santosh Yadav, deputy speaker Vidhan Sabha, are at first and second position on the panel of five candidates the state government has recommended to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), according to official documents that HT has accessed.

Criteria are highly subjective
  • Given the criterion followed by the state government in preparing the panel, the selection procedure is perceived to be prone to political pulls and is akin to back-door entry to the elite IAS.
  • Candidates having eight years service in a Class-1 post, equal to the rank of deputy collector, were shortlisted on the basis of their Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs) of the past five years, in what is a highly subjective selection process — and also the easiest — to become an IAS officer.

While Dr Sharma (MBBS) is a medical officer, Rai is a general manager in Haryana roadways. The other three candidates in the fray are Parveen Sethi (director, dental health services); Dr Rakesh Talwar (in-charge of health facilities at Haryana Raj Bhawan); and Vijender Singh (district town and country
planner).

In last year’s panel also, the state government had recommended Dr Sharma by placing her on top of other candidates on the list. But the UPSC had cancelled the process in the absence of not receiving “deficient
documents/information” from the state government by December 31. Given the criteria followed by the state government in preparing the panel, the selection procedure is perceived to be prone to political pulls and is akin to back-door entry to the elite IAS.

Candidates having eight years service in a Class-1 post, equal to the rank of deputy collector, were shortlisted on the basis of their Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs) of the past five years, in what is a highly subjective selection process — and also the easiest — to become an IAS officer.

Chief secy -led panel shortlisted Names

Khattar had set up chief secretary DS Dhesi-led screening committee comprising Trilok Chand Gupta, principal secretary, and Neerja Sekhar, secretary (personnel) to shortlist the names.

Of 205 IAS in Haryana, 62 come through promotion
  • Haryana’s IAS cadre strength is 205, of which 62 posts are filled by promotion of state civil service officers.
  • As per rules, nine out of 62 posts can be filled up from Non-SCS officers. At present, there are five Non-SCS officers — Samir Pal Srow, SS Phulia, NK Solanki, Rippudaman Singh Dhillon and Ashok Kumar Sharma — who became IAS via this route.

“The meeting of the screening committee was held on 13.10.2017 (October 13, 2017)...The committee decided to consider five preceding years’ annual confidential reports of the officers...and after considering the same the committee has recommended the names of following officers for consideration of the UPSC,” reads the October 16 file noting.

Top government sources say the names of the shortlisted candidates were sent to the UPSC about two weeks ago. The UPSC has to hold interviews within December. The interview board comprises one UPSC member, besides the Haryana chief secretary and one senior IAS officer of Haryana cadre.

“The selection depends on the feedback the state officers give to the UPSC,” a senior government functionary said. Hence, the inclusion of kin of the BJP leaders is being seen with suspicion. As per rules, the candidate(s) being shortlisted should be of “outstanding ability and merit”. The file noting of the screening panel says that there were 16 candidates who fulfilled “all the eligibility conditions.”

“I am unaware if my name figures on the panel the govt sent to the UPSC. My ACRs have no problem. Some people have a problem because I am daughter of Haryana’s education minister.”Dr Asha Sharma, daughter of education minister Ram Bilas Sharma

But, sources say at least three candidates who had five Outstanding ACRs in a row and impeccable administrative experience were rejected. On the contrary, Dr Sharma, daughter of the minister in past five years got two Good, as many Very Good and one Outstanding ACR.

Last year, her ACRs remained under the scrutiny of the government and the UPSC due to an adverse observation that reads: “…in respect of Dr Asha Sharma, it is submitted that there is an observation…this ACR (of 2014-15) does not seem valid as she remained on earned leave…and rest of the period of the report is less than three months, hence it cannot be written.”

Chief secretary DS Dhesi was unavailable for comments. Neither did he respond to text messages.

First Published: Nov 21, 2017 11:23 IST