It says something about the high confidence of the Modi sarkar in its returning to power. Sources reveal that the Niti Aayog held interviews to select incumbents for five positions of adviser (JS level) and senior adviser (AS level) to look after sectors like Economics, Transport, Energy, Human Resources, etc.
These posts were advertised in June last year and the government received 300 applications, out of which only 13 candidates were finally shortlisted by the screening committee comprising of Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, special secretary Yaduvendra Mathur, and joint secretary Alok Kumar.
Surprisingly, the screening committee was constituted only in the second week of April 2019, or almost eight months after the posts were advertised.
Out of 13 shortlisted candidates, four have reportedly expressed unwillingness for the coveted positions, leaving only nine candidates in the fray. Some of these candidates are still awaiting cadre clearance, integrity certificates and APRs. Also, one school of thought has pointed out that for five senior (JS and AS level) positions, the nine shortlisted candidates are too few to pick from. But clearly, this view is not shared by some at the helm!
Cadre allocation nixed
In what may be embarrassing for the Modi sarkar, the Delhi high court has quashed the cadre allocation of IAS and IPS officers of the 2018 batch. It has dubbed the new cadre allocation policy as unfair and illegal. Sources say that the court has directed the Centre to undertake fresh cadre allocation of the successful candidates allocated to the IAS and IPS according to their merit and by taking into consideration the preferences given by the candidates.
The petitioners’ grievance was that the Centre had not allocated the cadres to them according to the stated policy or merit-cum-preference. The high court’s decision now requires the government to go back and do the cadre allocation all over again. Sources say that the court provided relief to the petitioners since they approached it at the earliest before they were slated to commence their on-site training, which is cadre-specific.
The business of government does not stop even during the intense heat and dust of a general election. Even as the netas are battling it out at the hustings, babus in Central ministries are busy chalking out 100-day agendas for the new government to be presented to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
The human resource development (HRD) ministry is even more ambitious. Sources say that the ministry is preparing a five-year plan to bring “transformational change” in the education system.
Reportedly, the plan has inputs from experts like former revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and principal scientific adviser professor K. VijayRaghavan, among others.
Last month, a brainstorming session was held at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie, during which 10 expert groups presented and discussed their draft plans for higher education.