Congress MP Partap Bajwa writes to Punjab CM over setting up of Civil Services Board

Chandigarh [India], June 21 (ANI): Congress Rajya Sabha MP Partap Singh Bajwa on Sunday wrote to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh regarding the government's order of setting up a Civil Services Board in the state and questioned the timing of the move.

"I want to bring to your notice that recent press reports regarding your June 2 order setting up a Civil Services Board in Punjab has further ruffled the hurt feelings of many Congress Ministers, MPs and MLAs," read the letter by Bajwa to Punjab CM.

"The timing of your move is ominous. Just when your Cabinet Ministers have been recently humiliated by the Chief Secretary while finalising the Excise policy of the department under your charge, 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 bureaucracy becomes much less answerable and accountable to the elected representative of the people. This has sent a disturbing and negative signal to already demoralised elected representatives," it said.

Bajwa stated that the move of assuring officers of "fixed tenure of postings and other immunities" under the umbrella of the Civil Services Board has tilted the scale decisively against the elected representatives of the people.

"While the Ministers and MLAs have repeatedly complained to you a number of times against the overbearing, unresponsive and intemperate behaviour of many officers because of undue importance and support they enjoy from you, this move of assuring them of fixed tenure of postings and other immunities under the umbrella of the Civil Services Board has tilted the scale decisively against the elected representatives of the people," read the letter.

The Congress leader pointed out that many States, including Punjab, had not set up the Civil Services Board despite a group of ex-bureaucrats led by former Cabinet Secretary Shri TSR Subramanian having approached the Supreme Court of India with the demands of bureaucracy.

"Many State Government had opposed their demands. Even successive Punjab governments had decided not to set up this Civil Services Board for many years till now. But now, the bureaucracy in the State has staged a coup through your June 2 orders to render the Ministers & MLAs helpless in raking up neglected issues of public importance and timely planning and execution of development works," the letter said.

Bajwa stated 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.

"While the principles governing the roles and responsibilities of Ministers and civil servants are well defined on paper, in the actual working of this relationship this division of responsibility have been allowed to become blurred," read the letter.

"Ministers /MPs/MLAs are responsible to the people through Vidhan Sabha or through elections. The civil servants, while discharging their prescribed duties as per Constitution and the laws, have to be accountable to them. Implementing the policies of the duly elected government is a core function of bureaucracy. A proper framework is required in which responsibility and accountability of officers to the elected representatives is not diluted," it said

The Congress leader requested the Chief Minister to look into the prevailing state of affairs seriously, and take necessary steps to "restore the sagging morale of the political class" in Punjab. (ANI)