In a controversial development, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani has punished a host of senior bureaucrats in her ministry after one of them reportedly approached the Prime Minister’s Office against her transfer policy.
The I&B ministry led by Irani transferred the Indian Information Service (IIS) Association president Anindya Sengupta after he reportedly wrote to the PMO seeking review of the transfer policy. Sengupta also claimed that the transfer policy was affecting the “morale” of the cadre. In his letter to the PMO, Sengupta had alleged that the “large-scale” transfers were happening due to the ministry’s refusal to adhere to the laid down policies and guidelines, reported PTI.
Sengupta, who was working as the Director of Doordarshan News, New Delhi, has been transferred as the Director at the Publication Division, New Delhi. According to his letter to the PMO, he alleged that the ministry had issued a number of transfer orders, affecting one-fourth (around 140 officers out of less than 500 Group A officers) of the IIS cadre, in the past two months.
According to another report, National Films Development Corporation managing director Nina Lath Gupta, too has been removed from her post after she expressed her dissent. She had been in her role since 2006.
What Sengupta sought to highlight was that the current transfer policy amounted to the wastage of public funds since “the media units in Delhi are crippled due to shortage of manpower while on the other hand senior officers are unable to deliver professionally due to lack of infrastructure.”
A report by Business Standard sad that Sengupta claimed that even the head of the service, Principal Director General Frank Noronha, wasn’t consulted either on the question of mass transfers or allocation of portfolios, which in any organisation is the prerogative of the head of the department.
The letetr added, “This has seriously undermined the existing chain of command in the organization. It is difficult to understand how organizational alignment and coherence could be maintained under such circumstances.”
Irani has not yet commented on the subject. This comes amidst raging controversy over the ongoing tussle between the elected government of Delhi and the civil servants. Ironically, the central government, where Irani holds two key cabinet posts, had thrown its weight behind the aggrieved members of the bureaucracy against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.