JAMMU, Feb 10: The Government of India today cleared the return of four senior IAS officers of Jammu and Kashmir cadre to the State from Central deputation. This followed the State Government decision to release an equal number of IAS officers for the Central deputation.
Governor NN Vohra’s Principal Secretary Pradip Kumar Tripathi is among the four IAS officers, who have been released for the Central deputation. The State Government has also agreed to clear the deputation of another senior IAS officer Shantmanu, presently posted as Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) but only after his successor is cleared by the Election Commission of India.
Official sources told the Excelsior that the Central Government has agreed to return four senior IAS officers from the deputation for their posting in Jammu and Kashmir. They included KB Aggarwal, Additional Secretary in Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Arun Kumar Mehta, Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change, Atal Dulloo, Joint Secretary in the Department of Rural Development and Umang Narula, Chairman and Managing Director, Indian Tourism Development Corporation.
While Umang Narula, who had earlier served as Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), J&K and held various other prestigious postings has been relieved, Krishan Ballabh (KB) Aggarwal has proceeded on leave and would join at Jammu and Kashmir after completion of leave period. Aggarwal is the senior most IAS officer in J&K after Chief Secretary BR Sharma.
Simultaneously, Jammu and Kashmir Government has agreed to release four senior IAS officers for Central deputation.
They included Pradip Kumar Tripathi, Principal Secretary to Governor NN Vohra, Shantmanu, Chief Electoral Officer, Jammu and Kashmir, Ashok Kumar Parmar, who is awaiting further orders in Resident Commissioner Office at New Delhi and Sundeep Kumar Nayak, who is also awaiting posting in the General Administration Department.
While the State Government has cleared Central deputation of Tripathi, it has agreed to clear deputation of three other IAS officers shortly, sources said, adding the State Government has presently decided not to release Rakesh Kumar Gupta, Principal Resident Commiss-ioner, New Delhi and Rohit Kansal, Commissioner/ Secretary Works, who also wanted to proceed on the Central deputation. The State Government was likely to consider releasing these two senior IAS officers for Central deputation only after two more IAS officers are returned by the Centre from the deputation.
Sources said the post of the Principal Secretary to Governor has fallen vacant after the State Government cleared deputation of Tripathi. The State Government now has to recommend panel of three senior IAS officers to Raj Bhawan for posting as the Principal Secretary. The process is likely to be completed soon to name the new Principal Secretary to the Governor, who also serves as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Shri Amarnath Ji Shrine Board.
Similarly, sources said the Government has to send a panel of three IAS officers to the Election Commission of India for choosing new Chief Electoral Officer of Jammu and Kashmir before Shantmanu is released for the Central deputation.
With by-election to two Lok Sabha constituencies (Anantnag and Srinagar) due in March-April and the Government also proposing to hold Panchayat elections anytime, if not delayed, the Central deputation of Shantmanu could even be delayed, sources said.
Jammu and Kashmir has 106 sanctioned vacancies of IAS officers. Of them, minimum 20 per cent and maximum 30 per cent can proceed on Central deputation at a given time, which means a minimum of 21 and a maximum of 31 IAS officers can be on Central deputation from Jammu and Kashmir.
Moreover out of 106, nearly 40 officers are conferred IAS, who generally don’t proceed on deputation.
After return of four officers, five IAS officers of Jammu and Kashmir cadre will remain on Central deputation, including Suresh Kumar, Additional Secretary, Union Ministry of Coal, Sudhanshu Panday, Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce, MK Dwivedi, Joint Secretary in Union Ministry of Commerce, Mandeep Kour, Department of Revenue, Government of India and Pandurang Kondbarao Pole, who is on inter-cadre deputation to Maharashtra.
However, after four more officers join the Central deputation, the number will again rise to nine.
Jammu and Kashmir is the least preferred State among the new comer IAS officers.
When contacted for comments, Union Minister for Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), responsible for clearing deputations of the IAS officers, said: “under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, there has been emphasis to ensure that no corruption takes place in any area and there is no lack of performance among the officers”.
Dr Singh said the IAS officers performing well will be given encouragement and protection.