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Days after Haryana sought extension for IAS officers, BJP MP to Centre: ‘discourage trend’

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A BJP MP from Haryana Friday said that the Centre should not “give much encouragement” to requests from the states for extension in service of IAS officers, as has also been sought by his own party-led government in Haryana. Raising the issue in Lok Sabha, Brijendra Singh, a former IAS officer, also said that the states often cite shortage of officers while seeking extension “but probably it’s not true”.

Brijendra Singh said the Haryana government recently conveyed to the Centre that there will be shortage of administrative officers in the state as a total of 11 senior IAS officers are due to retire. “The Haryana government had also sent a proposal for extension to three officers but the central government did not give an approval for the same,” he added.

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The BJP MP, who represents Hisar, further said that generally, the state governments “are of the opinion that there is a shortage of the officers, “but probably it’s not true”.

“I would like to give the example of Haryana only. Ideally, two per cent officers of the total cadre strength should be in apex scale and eight per cent in super time scale. Currently, Haryana’s cadre strength is 170. There are 16 officers in the apex scale and more than 30 in above super time scale. So, there is no shortage in any rank there,” said Brijendra Singh.

“I would request the (Central) government that the extension of services (of the IAS officers) should not be given much encouragement. Be it at the Centre or in the states, a minimum number of cases for extension of the services of the officers at the lowest level should be considered. The upcoming officers stand discouraged (because of extensions) and feel there work is not as important as of their seniors.”

The remarks by Brijendra Singh, who is the son of former Union minister Chaudhary Birender Singh, is in sharp contrast with that of the party government in Haryana led by Manohar Lal Khattar.

The Haryana government in July this year had sought a two-year extension in service to three senior IAS officers — PK Das, Devender Singh and Rajeev Arora. With the Centre not granting the request, two of them — Devender Singh and Rajeev Arora — superannuated on July 31. Das is scheduled to retire on August 31.

In separate communications sent to Centre in July, the Haryana government had explained the issue of possible “shortage of officers” in the wake of retirement of several IAS officers over next two years. This year, four IAS officers have already retired. By July 31, 2024, at least 23 more will retire. The state government says this will lead to a shortage of IAS officers at the Additional Chief Secretary and Principal Secretary rank and the its functioning will suffer.

The request for extension to three senior IAS officers had caused heartburn among those bureaucrats who were eyeing the important assignments held by the trio. There was a feeling in the bureaucracy that the extension in service will affect the promotions of others. There were also voices for adoption of a uniform policy to seek extension in service if there was an actual shortage of IAS officers.

On its part, the state government had also sought repatriation of three IAS officers who are currently on the central deputation. They are Vivek Joshi, Abhilaksh Likhi and Sukriti Likhi.

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