JAMMU, Oct 3: Large scale transfers and postings of the senior officers in the police and civil administration without taking highest decision making body into confidence and in violation of Transfer Policy today generated heat in the State Cabinet with Ministers cutting across party lines unanimously voicing concern over the prevailing practice. After thorough deliberations, the Chief Minister issued directions for formulation of Cabinet Committee on the analogy of Government of India’s Cabinet Committee on Appointments to exclusively deal with the transfers.
EXCELSIOR in its edition dated September 30, 2017 had exclusively highlighted that the Government was eroding sanctity of the Cabinet by ordering frequent transfers of IAS, IPS and Senior Scale KAS officers without its approval.
It was also mentioned in the report that during the period between January 1, 2017 and September 29, 2017 (nine months), the Government ordered transfers and postings of only 24 IAS and 21 KAS officers with the approval of the State Cabinet while as 41 IAS and 305 KAS officers including Secretaries to Government and above, HoDs, Managing Directors of PSUs, Deputy Commissioners and SSPs were transferred without the approval of the Cabinet.
The revelations by EXCELSIOR led to debate in the bureaucratic as well as political circles in the State with everybody questioning the prevailing practice, which was only creating resentment among the bureaucrats. Even some Cabinet Ministers raised the issue with the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and suggested that the prevailing practice should be stopped so as to ensure strict compliance to the Transfer Policy and to bring utmost transparency in the transfers and postings.
“The issue generated heat in the Cabinet, which met at Civil Secretariat Srinagar this afternoon, with several Ministers raising the issue and demanding intervention of the Chief Minister to maintain sanctity of the Cabinet as well as to ensure strict compliance to the Transfer Policy”, sources said.
On this, Chief Secretary B B Vyas, who is also Cabinet Secretary, informed the Cabinet that he has already drafted a proposal on the directions of the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to bring an end to the prevailing practice, sources informed, adding the proposal was accordingly deliberated upon in the Cabinet.
Finally, the proposal was cleared and it was decided that a Cabinet Committee will be constituted shortly on the analogy of Cabinet Committee on Appointments in the Government of India to exclusively deal with the issue of transfers and postings of the senior civil and police officers, sources said while disclosing that Chief Minister will be the head of the Cabinet while as Deputy Chief Minister, Minister Incharge of the concerned department and Chief Secretary will be the members of the Committee.
The Cabinet Committee will meet periodically only to handle the issue of transfers and postings of those officers which fall under its domain as per the Transfer Policy framed by the Cabinet vide its Decision No.156/12/2010 dated July 27, 2010 and notified vide Government Order No.861-GAD dated July 28, 2010, sources further said, adding formal orders in this regard will be issued by the General Administration Department shortly.
Not only at the level of Government of India even in majority of the States of the country only a separate Cabinet Committee deals with the transfers and postings of senior bureaucrats but no serious thought was paid towards this necessity in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Generally maximum time of the routine Cabinet meeting gets consumed in reaching consensus on transfers and postings of the officers and due to this many a times other important agenda items are deferred for want of time”, sources said, adding “following constitution of separate Cabinet Committee the routine Cabinet would be able to devote maximum time on holding deliberations on important issues”.
It is pertinent to mention here that EXCELSIOR in its report dated September 30, 2017 had also suggested that either the Government should scrap the Transfer Policy or come up with a mechanism on transfers and postings of senior bureaucrats.