Rashmi Rekha Das

Resentment brewed in power corridor as loyalty gets preferences over talent when it comes to promotion or extension of services of bureaucrats serving in Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Foreign Service (IFS). 

It is being alleged that junior bureaucrats are being given priorities leaving senior batch officers in lurch. 

Take the case of 1988-batch IFS officer Debidutta Biswal. The state government has recently appointed Debidutta Biswal as the new Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) and Head of Forest Force (HoFF). 

Biswal has been appointed as PCCF and HoFF following retirement of incumbent PCCF Sisir Kumar Ratho.  Though 1987-batch IFS officers Rajiv Kumar and Sushil Kumar Popli were in the race and eligible for PCCF  in terms of seniority and experience, Biswal was appointed as the PCCF.

Similarly, the Centre has approved the extension of services of Odisha Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra for another six months. His tenure will end on February 28, 2023. This is the second time Mohapatra has got an extension. 

Following extension of Mahapatra’s tenure, IAS officers who were in the race of Chief Secretary have felt disappointed on losing plum postings.

According to sources, Mahapatra’s name was finalised for Chairman of Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission. Changing the decision, the Centre extended the service of Mahapatra by six months up to February 28, 2023 relaxing Rule 16(1) of the AIS(DCRB) Rules, 1958, by invoking Rule 3 of AIS(CS-RM) Rules, 1960.

Mohapatra, a 1986-batch IAS officer of Odisha cadre, was appointed as the Chief Secretary of the State in December 2020 replacing Asit Tripathy. 

Same has happened in Indian Police Service also.  The state government appointed 1987-batch IPS officer Sunil Kumar Bansal as director general of police (DGP). Bansal had gone on Central deputation in 1994. Many IPS officers were left behind despite being talented.

If this trend continues, it will discourage skilled bureaucrats, for sure.

Former Chief Secretary Sahadev Sahu said, “If senior bureaucrats are left out, they will not feel encouraged to work. They will not give their best. There is a line of command in every work. This command has got polluted.”

Former PCCF Suresh Chandra Mohanty said, “Senior most officials should be given priority.  They will be disappointment among them no doubt. But they have to reconcile.”

Senior journalist Sandip Sahu said, “Loyalty is the main reason behind such discrepancies. Obviously, the state government would favour them who will abide by its decisions.”

Reported by OTV's Harihar Chand