October 18, 2020

IAS posting for IFS babu in polarized bureaucracy

The shifting of one of the most popular top IAS officers of Jammu & Kashmir Asgar Hassan Samoon and his replacement by an Indian Forest Service(IFS) officer is an insult to bureaucratic hierarchy and the transfer of  almost all other IAS and non IAS administrative secretary ranked officers of  Kashmiri background to insignificant positions in the latest round of transfers of the administrative secretaries sends out a message that top level bureaucracy in Kashmir is being polarised for last more than one year. Keeping in view the fact that no IFS officer is given the posting of administrative secretary in any state or union territory but instead the IFS officers within and outside the forest department are always put under the control of administrative secretary ranked IAS officers, the decision to post an IFS officer as Secretary Education is an attempt to change the system of bureaucratic hierarchy in Jammu & Kashmir in conflict with the system of bureaucratic hierarchy followed in rest of the country. The fact remains that in previous years senior IAS officers headed even premier investigative agency of erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir state then called State Vigilance Organisation (SVO) and now renamed as J&K Anti-Corruption Bureau (J&K ACB) . Never ever has any officer of the allied services like IFS and IPS held the position of administrative secretary of any government department in Jammu & Kashmir or anywhere else in the rest of the country. If at all the IFS officer assigned the position of administrative secretary school education has held any position in the central government’s Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD), the same does not qualify him for the position of administrative secretary of any government department in any state or union territory. Ironically one of the IAS officers junior to even incumbent chief secretary B V R Subrahmanyam and many other in-service Financial Commissioner and Principal Secretary ranked IAS officers is holding the position of advisor to Lt Governor and as such has become the controlling authority of his seniors. Though IAS officers should have opposed the decisions of appointments and transfers subverting their seniority but unfortunately even the Chief Secretary does not bother to resist such moves.

To restore the Institutional and administrative neutrality, the government has no other option but to reverse its decisions of transfers which have emboldened polarising voices of Jammu region to claim their control over the decisions of transfers and postings of top government functionaries. So the restoration of bureaucratic hierarchy and reversal of the decisions encouraging polarising voices are the two major challenges before the Jammu & Kashmir Government already facing allegations of discriminating Kashmiri locals against the non Kashmiri babus.

In the case of the transfer of Asgar Hassan Samoon the government has apparently succumbed to the polarising voices of Jammu region as is evident from their wild allegations on social media sites facebook and twitter against Samoon a top bureaucrat known for his integrity and professional neutrality. Polarising voices congratulating government on social media sites for transferring Asgar Hassan Samoon on the basis of their allegations against him over the issues concerning promotion of languages in Jammu & Kashmir drops indications that the government is taking decisions on transfers of top bureaucrats with the advice and consent of the polarising forces. To restore the Institutional and administrative neutrality, the government has no other option but to reverse its decisions of transfers which have emboldened polarising voices of Jammu region to claim their control over the decisions of transfers and postings of top government functionaries. So the restoration of bureaucratic hierarchy and reversal of the decisions encouraging polarising voices are the two major challenges before the Jammu & Kashmir Government already facing allegations of discriminating Kashmiri locals against the non Kashmiri babus.

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