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‘Overburdened Gayatri’s portfolio to hamper admn performance’
Jaipur: Out of all the officials posted in Secretariat, it is Gayatri Rathore - Principal Secretary GAD, who is extremely overburdened with work as she is carrying out responsibilities of two major departments.
In fact, such has been her work that her ‘portfolio’ details need a space of ten lines to be filled in. Take a look: Principal Secretary to Government GAD, Cabinet, State Motor Garage and Civil Aviation and Ex-Officio Chief of Protocol and Director General Civil Aviation; Principal Secretary Tourism and Chairperson, RTDC.
Those who know how the government functions, understand that GAD in itself is a huge department that deals with the allotment of government bungalows, purchase of vehicles and their allotment, VIP visits, upkeep of government properties situated out of state, management of Delhi’s Rajasthan House and Circuit Houses across the state, VIP Protocol and upkeep of state plane and helicopter along with cabinet meetings and their agenda and issuing cabinet orders.
The Secretary, who handles the department has to work 24/7 since it is a full-time post.
In the past, this responsibility has been carried out by officials of ACS rank or Senior Principal Secretaries. An army of approximately 100 personnel works under these officials and therefore, handing the reins of the department to a 1997 batch IAS, who has been appointed as Principal Secretary merely eight months back, according to administrative experts, is a risky undertaking.
It is for the first time that the reins of GAD, which h as always been directly under Chief Secretary, has been handed over to such a junior officer.
But an even more serious and surprising issue is that along with GAD, Gayatri has been given the responsibility of another important department i.e. Tourism.
Everyone knows that in a state like Rajasthan, Tourism is a flagship department and in the past, senior IAS have been its Chiefs. Not only state or across the nation, but the working of this department is spread across foreign countries as well.
The current dispensation has given GAD more importance than previous governments. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has allotted a budget of Rs 500 crore to the department for 2021-22, which means that to promote Tourism, there is a need to work on war- footing since, under Covid, the work of Tourism Department has been stalled completely.
But now that the situation is normalising, so the department and RTDC will have to work with a double pace.
Administrative experts believe that handing over so many responsibilities to Rathore and thinking that she will cope with the pressure, is not right since she has been overburdened, which is not the right approach.
It is true that the DOP has a dearth of senior IAS officers, but in spite of that, it is also important to hand over the reins of GAD and Tourism departments to two separate and full-time senior officials.