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Pradeep Singh

The Odisha government recently informed that it will organise a training programme for the newly recruited OAS, ORS, OTAS and other State government officials on how to behave with the people's representatives. 

The Parliamentary Affairs Department issued directions to all concerned government officials to include Book Circular No 47 in the agenda of the training programme.

The newly recruited State government officials will be trained on the need to be respectful to MPs and MLAs as they hold key positions as elected people's representatives in a democratic set up like India.

As per reports, the decision has been taken after a string of allegations related to the government officials not cooperating and improperly behaving with MPs and MLAs came to the fore. 

In a democratic set up, the relationship between the public servants and the MPs/MLAs, who occupy significant places as people’s representatives, plays a vital role in building a healthy and congenial atmosphere of mutual understanding, said the Parliamentary Affairs Department.

"They (MPs & MLAs) have important functions to perform under the Constitution for which they may occasionally find it necessary to obtain information from or address suggestions to the Department of Government and such other functions at different levels of administration or seek interviews with the officers in connection with their legislative or other public duties, otherwise than through the formal business in the Parliament and State Legislative Assembly," said the Department in an official letter.

"We welcome the initiative of the Odisha government. People's representatives are well aware of the local problems and therefore, IAS, IPS or OAS should work together and in tandem with them,” said BJD leader, Parsuram Dhada.

As per the letter, every official shall act in a courteous manner and shall not adopt dilatory tactics in her/his dealings with the Members. It should be part of the duty of every official to provide adequate assistance to the Members to enable them fulfill their obligations to the people. The officials should rise and receive her/him courteously and give a polite send-off. 

The officials will also be trained to attend promptly to communications and letters received from MPs and MLAs. Among others, they also need to ensure accommodations of the Members during the latter' tour both outside and inside the State.

Sahadev Sahoo, former State chief secretary, said, "A circular is already there and an officer can't stop a people's representative from entering an office. Things go awry when a dispute or fight erupts."

Speaking on the government's initiative, Odisha BJP vice-president Bhrugu Baxipatra said, "We have been raising the issue since long that the public servants are not behaving the way they should with MPs and MLAs. Finally, the State government has admitted it."

"We work for the people and the politicians who work for themselves may be getting ignored by the bureaucrats," said Congress MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati.

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