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Raj govt appoints ‘tested and interviewed’ officials as SA to ministers!

Jaipur: Special Assistants to ministers had off late become a major ‘challenge’ in the bureaucratic structures owing to their proximity to ministers. Due to their ability to reach the minister any time and affect the decision making process, they had become an extra-constitutional power centre. This had marred the performance of previous governments which were riddled with bureaucratic tussles and thus, this time around, by taking a clue and lesson from the style and functioning of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s givernance at the centre, the Rajasthan Chief Minister has undertaken a first of its kind step to bring such officers as Special Assistants to ministers whose work is transparent and whose integrity, is unquestionable.

DoP’s order appointing Special Assistants to ministers has surprised everyone. SAs have been appointed at a total of sixteen ministers but no minister has been given a SA of their desire or choice and the appointed SAs are new and unknown to the ministers. Under the supervision of CM Bhajan Lal Sharma, a new formula has been adopted in appointing SA to ministers. On the pattern of Delhi, the appointments here have been done on the basis of merit and selection has been done after interview. In the first list issued on February 2 appointments were done for 7 ministers and on Friday, SAs were appointed to 16 ministers only after complete interview of candidates. At the insistence of the Chief Minister, the interview of the 16 SAs were done by Chief Secretary Sudhansh Pant and Principal Secretary DoP Hemant Gera at Secretariat and all these officials were called to Jaipur.

According to sources, every candidate was asked the details of their tenure during the interview like where all have they served, under which Collector have they served and which important responsibility have they executed. Apart from interview, the DoP also conducted a detailed ‘homework’ on these officers. Interestingly, apart from one or two officers, all these RAS have been given a posting in Jaipur for the first time or have served here for a short term.

Om Prakash-V, Rakesh Kumar, Sanjay Kumar, Shailesh Surana, Kaluram Khod, Rajendra Kumar Danga, Rohit Kumar and Chandan Dubey have been given posting as SA to ministers for the first time. In their entire service, Suraj Singh Negi has served in Jaipur for merely four days, Rajpal Singh for five months, Rajendra Agrawal for seven months and Murari lal Sharma for twenty months. Notably, apart from 3 RAS, none of them are natives of Jaipur.

Several of these officers have been posted in their home districts or divisions. For example Shailesh Surana, Rohit Kumar, Rajendra Danga, Rajpal Singh and Sanjay Kumar have been shifted out of their home districts after a long time. These include RAS from 2006 batch and new RAS of 2015 batch too. 1998 batch RAS - Jai Narayan Meena - who has been appointed as SA to Madan Dilawar is the seniormost among these officials. Chandan Dubey of Jaipur has returned to Jaipur again after 2008 when he served as tehsildar here.

Word is that during the interview, a few RAS were not accepting coming to Jaipur but CS Sudhansh Pant clearly told them that they are from state service and thus the state government can appoint them anywhere. CS also said that none of the officer will get recommendations done or mount pressure to get their transfer done. CS also made it clear that every official will have to work with utmost honesty and transparency for 16-17 hours. Administrative experts believe that now good governance will be witnessed in its truest sense at the ministerial level. Bhajanlal government’s this new approach has actually surprised the state bureaucracy and political circles because it has never been done before!

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