Business Standard

Bihar govt asks ministers' secys not to interfere in working of depts

The directive comes days after the Education Department debarred the then private secretary (private) of Education Minister Chandra Shekhar from entering the department's office

Illustration: Binay Sinha

Illustration: Binay Sinha

Press Trust of India Patna

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The Bihar government has advised private secretaries of state ministers, other than those picked up from the administrative services, not to meddle in the functioning of the departments concerned.
In a missive on Friday, Bihar Chief Secretary Amir Subhani asked all the additional chief secretaries of the departments to ensure that such private secretaries refrain from correspondence or oral communication with department officials and confine themselves to "non-government" functions of the minister.
"In the absence of any clear-cut guidelines pertaining to the work allocation/distribution among private secretaries (administrative services) and private secretaries (private) of ministers, it is becoming difficult to define their roles in the day to day functioning.
"Therefore, after a detailed deliberation, it has been decided that private secretaries (administrative services) will do all inter-departmental communications on behalf of the concerned minister/ department on the direction of the minister since the PS (administrative service), a government employee, will also be held responsible for handling departmental files pertaining to the department on the direction of the minister concerned," the letter read.
Explaining the duties of the private secretary (private), it said, "Since he/she is a private person, he/she will be responsible for a minister's tours and outdoor political programmes. He/she will also look into non-department appointments of the minister. He/she must refrain from correspondence or oral communication with department officials and confine themselves to 'non-government' functions of the minister. He/she will not engage in any sort of written communication with the departmental officials."

The directive comes days after the Education Department debarred the then private secretary (private) of Education Minister Chandra Shekhar from entering the department's office.
The PS (private) had on July 5 written a letter to Additional Chief Secretary K K Pathak, stating, "The minister has expressed his displeasure over the recent developments in which it has been noticed that lots of negative news related to the department are coming in the media. Even official letters or departmental communications are leaked to the media before they reach the minister's cell. This is against the rules about public servants' functioning; the department must identify such officials and take appropriate disciplinary action. A lot of negative press have angered the minister and now wants 'Robinhoods' and 'actors' among officers to be punished."

Taking strong objection to PS's letter, the department, in its reply, said, "You (the PS) are requested to learn about the process before sending letters to government officials. You had already been told in the past that you are not entitled to communicate directly with the government officials. By writing such 'useless letters' (written without applying mind), you are wasting the time of government officials. It appears that you have no work to do in the minister's cell.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Aug 26 2023 | 3:42 PM IST

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