Maintaining that state governments have the prerogative to transfer IAS officers who are posted there, Union Minister Jitendra Singh today said the Centre keeps in touch with the states to ensure that bureaucrats do not face any kind of intimidation which would kill their initiative to work and take decisions.
"As far as question of transfers of IAS officers made by the state governments from time to time is concerned, guidelines of DoPT (Centre's Department of Personnel and Training) say that their tenure should be two years (at one place). But in a federal set up, state government has its prerogative. However, under Centre's guidelines, it is their moral responsibility that there should not be frequent transfers," Singh said here.
The Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region (Independent Charge) and Prime Minister Office, Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Space, was interacting with regional Editors from north and north-eastern States during a two-day conference organised by Press Information Bureau which began here today.
Singh was asked that the state governments were often frequently transferring IAS officers even when they had not completed two year tenure at one place.
The Minister said under the present system, "we cannot take action against concerned Chief Minister."
At the same time, he added, "We have revised guidelines, because we do not want that any IAS officer or any Civil servant has to face any kind of intimidation which lowers his initiative and he stops taking decisions."
"We have revised guideline and said if any state government suspends any IAS officer for any charge, DoPT has to be informed within 24 hours. If concerned state government decides to prosecute the IAS officer for any reason, then within one month's time we should be told as well as the basis for the same".
He, however, pointed out that despite these latest guidelines, "what happened in a particular state, an IAS officer was suspended and put in jail, this is a one month old matter. They did not intimate us. Then we took up this issue on a war footing with the concerned state.."
"DoPT is very clear about the guidelines, we do not wish to cause any kind of undesirable intimidation to any IAS officer which would kill his initiative," he said.
He, however, also said that putting a blanket sealing asking states not to transfer bureaucrats before two years was not possible.
"But we cannot put a blanket sealing on states, who have their prerogative within the ambit of the law," he said.
When asked if a bureaucrat knows that he is not going to be transferred before two years, will it led to increase in corruption, Singh clarified, "we are not compromising on corruption, we are making very strict laws on corruption. In fact, we are coming out with laws related to foreign bribery. Even stricter punishment has been mooted for bribe givers also and not just those who accept bribe."
"But our only concern is that any officer, who is performing, he should not be intimidated. I am not saying that transfers are not made for genuine reasons, our concern with state governments remains that these should be done in good faith and we keep in touch with state governments to ensure there is no unnecessary intimidation..," he said.
Singh said the Narendra Modi government has taken up a number of youth centric initiatives especially for North Eastern states like providing venture funds for 'Start Ups' in the region, sports university in Manipur and Brahmaputra study center in Guwahati University.
"These initiatives will help to tap up potential in the region and will help in bringing misguided youth into the mainstream," he said.
Replying to a question, Singh, however, said that there were some problems which had arisen regarding land acquisition in Manipur for setting up a Sports University.
"We have been pursuing the matter with the Chief Minister there, but we have not moved one step forward. The land which was made available, a part of that is under dispute, so we are asking for separate land," he said.
Singh also said his ministry has initiated a number of development projects in the North East region which include train connectivity in the region.
He added that very soon entire North East except Sikkim will have train routes.
He said his ministry will fund entire Indian section of proposed rail route from Agartala to Bangladesh.
Regarding reforms being made in the area of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension, the Minister said that a number of forms concerning requirements of common people have been simplified, most of them have been made one page, remaining are also being made people friendly.
Singh also said that efforts are being made to popularise use of space technology in various sectors like housing, construction of roads and lying of railway tracks and construction of airports.
He said that universities have been requested to setup space technology departments to popularise the subject among the youth.