Cong MP Bajwa questions Punjab govt's move to set up civil services board

Chandigarh, Jun 21 (PTI) Congress Rajya Sabha MP Partap Singh Bajwa on Sunday questioned the Punjab government’s move to set up a board to ensure a fixed term at a post to IAS officers, saying it will make them “less answerable and accountable” to legislators. The state government decided to set up the board to provide a fixed two-year tenure to an IAS officer at a posting. Any decision to cut short the term will be examined by the board.

In a letter to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Bajwa said the June 2 order of the state government has sent a “disturbing and negative signal to already demoralised elected representatives'.

Referring to the last month's face-off between two state ministers and the chief secretary during a meeting, Bajwa said the timing of the move is “ominous”.

“Just when your cabinet ministers have been recently humiliated by the chief secretary, you have now set up an all-powerful civil services board headed by the chief secretary, with a few bureaucrats as its members, to ensure that the bureaucracy becomes much less answerable and accountable to elected representatives,” Bajwa said.

Bajwa claimed that several ministers and MLAs had many a time complained against the “overbearing, unresponsive and intemperate” behaviour of many officers because of “undue importance and support” they enjoy from the CM.

“This move of assuring them of a fixed tenure of postings and other immunities under the umbrella of the civil services board has tilted the scale decisively against the elected representatives,” Bajwa said.

“The bureaucracy in the state has staged a coup through your June 2 orders to render the ministers and MLAs helpless in raking up neglected issues of public importance and timely planning and execution of development works,” he alleged.

Bajwa further claimed that a healthy working relationship between ministers, MPs, MLAs and civil servants is critical for good governance, which has been “compromised” in Punjab at the moment.

Bajwa urged the CM to look into the prevailing state of affairs and take necessary steps to “restore the sagging morale of the political class” in Punjab. PTI CHS VSD RDK RDK