New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government’s orders promoting and empanelling 25 Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers of the 1996 batch, and two Indian Police Service (IPS) officers of the 1994 batch, to the rank of additional secretary, while posting one 1990-batch IPS officer to an equivalent designation has created a gap of six years between parallel ranks in both services.
Meanwhile, a 1995-batch Indian Cost Accounts Service (ICAS) officer and an Indian Forest Service (IFoS) officer of the 2000 batch have also been promoted as additional secretaries.
Serving bureaucrats ThePrint spoke to said that the “unprecedented” 12-13 May orders show that the government “clearly prefers the IAS cadre more”.
“This has never happened in the history of civil services where no tradition or hierarchical order has been followed. The government has done whatever it wanted. There is no respect for seniority, this is shaking the steel frames of the Indian Civil Service,” a senior IPS officer serving in the Union Home Ministry said on condition of anonymity.
“This is the highest gap between two cadres, while holding parallel ranks — additional secretary and additional director general (DG). The pay grades are the same, but the positions vary. For an IPS officer of additional DG rank, empanelment is needed to be posted as additional secretary in any ministry,” he continued.
“Currently, there is only one (IPS) officer of the 1989 batch, an ADG (additional director general of police), posted as additional secretary. In IPS cadre, the 1990-91 batches have been promoted as additional DG, while the government has promoted 1996-batch IAS officers as additional secretary. There is absolutely no parity in terms of postings and promotions between these two, and the government clearly prefers the IAS cadre more. This looks unprecedented,” the officer further said.
The orders mention two unusual decisions made by the appointment committee. The committee has promoted two IPS officers — Shyam Bhagat Negi, a 1990-batch officer of Himachal Pradesh cadre, as additional secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat, and Vijay Bhatia, a 1995-batch officer of the Uttar Pradesh cadre, as joint secretary (personnel) in the Union Ministry of External Affairs.
Interestingly, Negi being a 1990-batch IPS officer, has been appointed to the same position as over two dozen IAS officers of the 1996 batch, while Bhatia, who is a batch senior to the latter, has been appointed to a junior rank.
No parity in promotions
While IAS and IPS associations are tightlipped over the issue, sources told ThePrint that there are simmering tensions among the services.
“The government clearly abandoned the rules and traditions related to hierarchy. The IPS cadre suffers most. In last week’s orders, several officers from junior batches of other disciplines including revenue service, defence account service, postal service, telecom service and forest service have been promoted to the rank of additional secretary,” another senior IPS officer who did not wish to be named told ThePrint.
There are more such exceptions. The government has promoted two officers of the Indian Postal Service (IPoS) — Manisha Sinha (1992 batch) to the post of additional secretary in the finance ministry’s Department of Economic Affairs, and Trishaljit Sethi (1990 batch) as chief vigilance officer in the power ministry’s National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd. — in the rank and pay of additional secretary to the Government of India.
Roop Avtar Kaur, a 2000-batch IFoS of the J&K cadre has been promoted as additional secretary, Central Information Commission, Department of Personnel & Training, for a combined tenure of seven years.
Vandana Kumar, an Indian Defence Accounts Service officer of the 1992 batch, has been promoted as additional secretary, Union Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, while Pravir Pandey, an Indian Audit and Accounts Service officer of 1992, has also been posted as additional secretary and financial advisor in the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change.
(Edited by Gitanjali Das)