Kerala’s Pinarayi Vijayan and Tamil Nadu’s MK Stalin on Sunday joined the growing list of Chief Ministers who have emphatically opposed the central government’s proposed changes to the assignment rules of Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers.
The amendments to the IAS Cadre Rules proposed by the centre “strike at the very root” of the nation’s federal polity and state autonomy, Mr Stalin said in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Mr Vijayan also sent a similar letter, urging the government to drop the move, saying it will create “fear psychosis” among civil service officials to implement the state government policies.
In a proposal that has faced vehement disapproval from many opposition-ruled states, the union government has given itself power to appoint and transfer IAS and Indian Police Service (IPS) officers, overruling state governments.
Calling the plan “draconian”, several Chief Ministers including West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee, Rajasthan’s Ashok Gehlot, Chhattisgarh’s Bhupesh Baghel and Jharkhand’s Hemant Soren have written to PM Modi to scrap it.
The central government has defended its proposal, saying states are not sparing enough IAS officers for it. affecting the functioning of the central government.
In a letter referencing Independence icon Saradar Vallabhbhai Patel frequently cited by PM Modi, Mr Stalin said, “The proposed amendments would cause irreparable damage to the spirit of cooperative federalism that exists between the union and the states and lead to concentration of powers in the union government.”
If implemented, the All-India Service officers would be spending their career under perpetual fear of being penalised by the Union Government at any time, he said, adding this would “certainly demoralise and destabilise the steel frame of bureaucracy in India”.
“I would also like to highlight the fact that many of the state governments are also woefully short of officers at specific seniorities, primarily due to the wrong cadre management policies followed by the union government,” Mr Stalin said.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the present deputation rules are already heavily loaded in favour of the union government.
“The proposed amendments in the Deputation Rules of All India Services will definitely induce a fear psychosis and an attitude of hesitancy among All India Service Officers to implement policies of a state government, which are formed by party/parties politically opposed by the ruling party at the Centre”, he said in his letter.