Andhra, Bihar bureaucrats may get plum Central postings on TDP, JDU's poll wins

Currently, only a handful of the more than 70 secretary-level posts in the central government are held by bureaucrats from Bihar and Andhra Pradesh.
Currently, only a handful of the more than 70 secretary-level posts in the central government are held by bureaucrats from Bihar and Andhra Pradesh.

Summary

  • There are several trusted IAS officers who have closely worked with Nitish Kumar, and the Bihar chief minister may like to accommodate them in the central government

New Delhi: A change in the echelons of India’s top bureaucracy is anticipated in the coming days with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Janata Dal United (JDU) becoming key to government formation at the Centre, according to two senior bureaucrats who have served in the central government earlier.

“It is expected that bureaucrats from Andhra Pradesh and Bihar cadres may receive significant and influential postings as the new alliance government comes into power," one of them said, requesting not to be named.

“There are several trusted IAS officers who have closely worked with Nitish Kumar, and the Bihar CM may like to accommodate them in the central government," the official, who retired in 2023, said, adding that similarly, experienced officers from the Andhra Pradesh cadre may also get the opportunity to serve in the Centre, aligning the policy framework with the alliance's common minimum programme.

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“When a government changes, it often affects the bureaucracy. Leaders of the ruling party tend to bring along their trusted officers, those who have worked closely with them for an extended period and understand their working style," said Dinesh Tyagi, a retired IAS officer who last served as managing director of CSC E-Governance India.

For example, when the BJP-led government was formed at the Centre in 2014, Gujarat cadre IAS officer A.K. Sharma and Indian Forest Service officer Bharat Lal, who had worked closely with prime minister Narendra Modi when he was chief minister of Gujarat, were appointed as joint secretaries in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

The current IAS spread

Currently, only a handful of the more than 70 secretary-level posts in the central government are held by bureaucrats from Bihar and Andhra Pradesh. Secretaries from the Bihar cadre are Sunil Barthwal (commerce), Amrit Lal Meena (coal), and Sanjay Kumar (school education). 

Secretaries from the Andhra Pradesh cadre are Aramane Giridhar (defence) and Sumita Dawra (labour).

Most high-ranking bureaucrats heading different central departments hail from the service cadres of Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Assam-Meghalaya, Gujarat, among others.

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As per the website of department of personnel and training (DoPT), the agriculture and food secretaries, crucial departments for driving the central government's agenda, are Odisha cadre IAS officers Manoj Ahuja and Sanjeev Chopra. So is P.K. Mishra, principal secretary to the prime minister.

The IAS officers holding the secretary posts of corporate affairs, power, and road transport represent the Madhya Pradesh cadre, while the secretaries of finance, telecom, MeitY (ministry of electronics and information technology) and shipping are from Tamil Nadu.

How to be a secretary in the Centre

To work in the central government, an IAS officer applies for deputation to the DoPT, which controls placement of bureaucrats from different cadres.

The selection process includes vigilance clearance and other formalities. Initially, the appointment is made on a deputation basis for three years, which can be extended for up to seven years.

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In the final verdict for the Lok Sabha 2024 election, the BJP emerged victorious in 240 out of 543 seats, while the Congress secured 99 seats.

Among the key allies of the BJP, the TDP secured 16 seats, and the JDU won 12 of the 16 seats it contested. The BJP’s third key ally, the Chirag Paswan-led LJP-(Ram Vilas), won all five seats it contested.

 

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