GUWAHATI: Undue promotions or elevations of bureaucrats – mainly premature ones without vacancies – have a negative ripple effect in circles concerned at Dispur. Many an eyebrow is raised as it is done by a hush-hush coterie of bureaucrats in a department that is held by none other than the Chief Minister. The situation arising out of such undue promotions has come to such a pass that the Accountant General (AG) had to intervene and raise objections, at least on one occasion.
A few days back Dispur elevated around ten senior ACS officers to the rank of commissioners from secretaries, prematurely. All these ACS officers, according to rules, will be eligible for such a promotion by 2020. Circles concerned grope in the dark as to why there are such promotions in almost indecent haste. As if to cap it all, they were promoted even when vacancies are available. Dispur effected such an elevation violating the guideline issued by the Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India, issued on November 12, 2018. The guideline makes it crystal clear that there cannot be any promotion without vacancies. But then, their promotion is not supposed to get AG’s sanctity. In such irregular promotions the AG generally deny the bureaucrats concerned salary benefits at the enhanced scales on a par with their elevated ranks.
What makes Dispur effect such undue promotions in such an indecent haste? According to those who rack their brains at Dispur say that two of the ten senior ACS officers are going to retire very soon. The move, according to them, was taken to give them retirement benefits of the rank of commissioner.
This is not the first time the present government at Dispur effected such undue promotions. In April 2017 around eight senior IAS officers were promoted to the rank of principal secretaries from commissioners, prematurely and without vacancies. All those IAS officers were to be eligible for that promotion by January 2019. That, according to sources at Dispur, was done to keep one of the IAS officers at an important post. However, they had to face the AG hurdle that refused to pay them salaries at the enhanced scales. With the AG not letting the case off the hook, Dispur had to regularize their posts long after one year and eight months i.e. on December 28, 2018.
However, the government (department) which is very generous in undue promotions seems to be very niggardly when it comes to genuine promotions. The genuine promotions of a number of 1995 batch of ACS officers have been held up even after the approval of their files by the Chief Secretary.
This is not all. Circles concerned feel that something has gone seriously awry at Dispur. There has been resentment after the recent transfer and promotion of deputy commissioners. They say some ACS officers have been promoted as DCs denying officers who are more efficient. So much so that one of the ministers is offended at the transfer of the deputy commissioner of his home district.
Talking to The Sentinel, the Cabinet minister said: “Transfer of DCs is the prerogative of the government. However, at least for the sake of courtesy, the department could have kept me informed of the transfer of the DC of my home district.”
Also read: Draft OM on promotion of SC/ST candidates