Over half a dozen posts of Admn Secys among 9 key positions lying vacant

Ad hoc arrangement for six other deptts at Civil Sectt

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Apr 11: The PDP-BJP Coalition Government is facing crisis at the highest level in the bureaucracy as over half a dozen posts of Administrative Secretaries among nine key positions have been lying vacant while as there is an ad hoc arrangement for six other important departments in the Civil Secretariat during the past some months.
The prevailing situation, which is the outcome of inability of the Government to take timely decision, has left adverse impact on the functioning of these departments as Administrative Secretaries and Heads of the Departments are supposed to take final decision on all important aspects.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that the posts of Administrative Secretaries of ARI, Trainings and Office Supplies, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Culture, Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction and Cooperative Departments fell vacant on January 31, 2018 following superannuation of five IAS officers.
“Despite being aware of the fact that five IAS officers will attain superannuation on January 31, 2018 no step was taken in advance by the Government so as to immediately post new officers on these posts”, sources said, adding “even after their retirement no seriousness was shown by the Government as a result of which the posts of Administrative Secretaries of these departments are still lying vacant despite lapse of two and half months”.
The crisis at the highest level in the State’s bureaucracy deepened further on March 31, 2018 when two more IAS officers holding the posts of Administrative Secretaries of Social Welfare and Agriculture Production Departments attained superannuation. “Due to this the number of vacant posts of Administrative Secretaries has risen to seven”, sources added.
Shockingly, even two weeks after the retirement of two more IAS officers the Government has not taken steps to fill up the vacant posts of Administrative Secretaries as a result of which functioning of the seven departments is suffering badly, they further said.
Not only of seven Administrative Secretaries, the posts of Commissioner Commercial Taxes and Excise Commissioner have also been lying vacant because of the inability of the Government to take timely decision and post new officers, sources said.
The post of Excise Commissioner fell vacant after serving IAS officer Mohammad Javed Khan was removed from the position for facing departmental enquiry in the much publicized Rajouri Development Authority scam while as the post of Commissioner Commercial Taxes fell vacant following transfer of IAS officer in the recent past.
“Moreover, the Government is managing the affairs of six key departments through ad hoc arrangements due to dearth of eligible officers for the posts of Administrative Secretaries”, sources said while disclosing that Finance Secretary Navin Choudhary is holding the additional charge of the post of Chairman of Bureau of Public Enterprises during the past quite long time.
Similarly, Transport Commissioner Saugat Biswas is holding the additional charge of the posts of Administrative Secretary of Information Technology Department and Chief Executive Officer Jammu and Kashmir Energy Development Agency.
Likewise, M Raju, Administrative Secretary of PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control Department is holding the additional charge of Administrative Secretary Transport Department. Khurshid Ahmad Shah, Administrative Secretary General Administration Department is holding the additional charge of post of Director General, J&K Institute of Management and Public Administration.
Hilal Ahmad Parray, Administrative Secretary Youth Services and Sports Department is holding the additional charge of the post of Administrative Secretary Technical Education Department while as Sarmad Hafeez, Managing Director J&K Tourism Development Corporation is holding the additional charge of the post of Administrative Secretary Tourism Department during the past quite long time.
As per the rules, IAS officers of up to 2005 batch are currently eligible for the posts of Administrative Secretaries. However, at present the Government doesn’t have All India Service officers who fulfill this eligibility thereby leading to the peculiar situation.
Stating that deficit in the IAS and KAS cadre has led to the prevailing crisis, sources said, “before 2006 regular recruitment of IAS officers in respect of J&K cadre was very less and the same picked up momentum only after 2009. Moreover, during the period between 1996 and 2006, only few IAS officers made it to the J&K cadre”.
“During 1996, 1998 and 2000, no IAS officer was allotted J&K cadre which is one of the contributing factors to the dearth of eligible officers for the posts of Administrative Secretaries at present”, they added.
Similarly, there was no batch of Jammu and Kashmir Administrative Services (KAS) during the period between 1984 and 1999, which is why there is a crisis of inducted KAS officers as well. “Had there been no deficit at this level, officers would have been available for manning the posts of Administrative Secretaries at present”, sources said.
In the recent past efforts were made to evolve a consensus on posting IAS officers of 2007, 2008 and 2009 batch as Secretaries of departments in major relaxation of rules as this was the only remedy available with the Government to overcome the prevailing crisis. However, the process was stopped abruptly for unknown reasons, sources said.