The NDA purge continues: UPA babus put on 'vigilance clearance'
The clean up task is led by the MHA and will expand to other ministries where a number of UPA appointees, retired bureaucrats and Congress leaders of various hues enjoy ministerial rank perks.
The ministry of home affairs (MHA), department of personnel and training (DoPT) and some other ministries are working in tandem on a clean up and crackdown exercise.
The clean up task is led by the MHA and will expand to other ministries where a number of UPA appointees, retired bureaucrats and Congress leaders of various hues enjoy ministerial rank perks. A virtual sacking of entire leadership of National Disaster Management Authority is an indicator of things to follow in other ministries, say for instance NCW, ICCR, ICHR, ICSSR, Minority Commission, SC-ST Commission and others.
“The role of National Disaster Management Authority itself was a disaster during last year’s natural calamity in Badrinath and Kedarnath region. It had no justification to be there, at least in its present avatar”, an official said. The NDMA is headed by the Prime Minister and its vice chairman has Cabinet minister rank and all members have minister of state rank.
The most recent appointee as NDMA member was K Salim Ali a 1978 batch IPS officer who was special CBI director and investigated Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case. Ali’s appointment came only two days before model code of conduct came into force, putting a full stop on all such appointments for the previous UPA regime. Ali’s profile on NDMA website reads, “he further worked as Additional Director CBI and latter Special Director CBI from Sep 2011 to Nov 2013. During this tenure he has supervised substantial number of cases of national and international importance to logical conclusion leading to conviction in many.” Incidentally, Saleem Ali and Kerala governor Sheila Dikshit are the two last appointees of the UPA2.
A senior government functionary said such positions with ministerial rank privileges are given to two kinds of people – first to the leaders of the serving regime and second to the retired bureaucrats for their loyalty. Then there are whole lot of committees and boards attached with various ministries. Most ministries ranging from I&B, External affairs, HRD, culture, WCD, railways, shipping, highways, communication, labour, environment, social sector ministries all have such committees where “experts” are taken on board.
The purging exercise will take months before it is completed and reconstituted with BJP loyalists or sympathisers.
Other than asking for resignations to clear these posts, the DoPT has asked for fresh vigilance clearance for 22 mid-rank officers — 14 IAS, 3 IPS and five from other central services — so that they could be screened for further postings. These officers had earlier been as Personal Secretary or Officer on Special Duty to various ministers in the UPA government. The directive dated 10 June becomes important in view of PMO’s other move which prevented the reappointment of some these same officials to offices of some senior NDA ministers, including home minister Rajnath Singh.
It is normal practice that the personal staff of the ministers — who are usually drawn from IAS, IPS and other central services — are put on “compulsory wait” during the “winding up” period. However, some senior officials say that seeking fresh vigilance clearance is not normal. All these officials are in any case on central deputation and already have vigilance clearance for further placement — till given charge of a post that specifically requires fresh clearance.
Another official who earlier held post of PS of a senior minister played it down saying “not much should be read into it, the DoPT may ask for vigilance clearance at any issue. I assume these officials would have wanted further stay in union ministries or departments and as such that would require a change in profile, necessitating clearance at all level”. Yet another official said “such moves on part of the DoPT is to give a message that the regime is keeping a watch, either routine or out of turn. There is nothing to suggest that that something could be wrong there but it surely puts an official on wait and watch list.”
The names of officials list in DoPT circular include Vivek Dewangan PS to former Food processing industry minister, Gopal Krsihna Dwivedi PS to Commerce minister, Uday Singh Kumawat PS to agriculture minister, Hitesh Singh Makwana PS to shipping minister, Anil Kumar Singh PS to Youth affairs and sports minister, Dilip Kumar PS to external affairs minister, Diwakar nath Mishra PS to Defence minister. Nilkanth S Avhad, PS to agriculture and food processing minister, Puneet Kansal PS to mines, Aul A Patne PS to social justice and empowerment minister, Devesh Deval OSD to minority affairs minister, Rakhi Gupta PS to drinking water and sanitation, Vishal Ganagn PS to micro and medium enterprises, Debanj Chakrabarti PS to urban development, Vikramjit Singh, OSD to youth affairs and sports minister, Sukhram Meena PS to rural development, Manish Tripathi, Vineeta Srivastava, OSD to Steel Minister , Unmesh Sharad Wagh, PS to Coal minister, Abhinav Kumar PS to human resource development minister, Rajesh Kumar OSD to culture minister.
Name of Vineeta Srivastava — who HRD Smriti Irani wanted to appoint as her PS — also figures in this list. Srivastava was OSD to Beni Prasad Verma. Irani was told about the PMO’s reservations. Home Minister Rajnath Singh may also not get his preferred choice Alok Singh a a 1995 batch IPS officer, who worked with external affairs minister Salman Khurshid in the previous UPA government.
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