Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
JAMMU: The 1989-batch Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer of the Jammu and Kashmir cadre, Bishwajit Kumar Singh, who has returned from the 8-year-long Central deputation, has been appointed as the Administrative Secretary of the Department of School Education last week. Even as his posting has triggered a debate in the bureaucratic circles, inter-cadre appointments of IFS officers in J&K has a slew of precedence.Principal Secretary School Education, Dr Asgar Hassan Samoon, a 1993-batch IAS officer of the J&K cadre, was expected in the bureaucratic circles to be replaced by a senior IAS officer in the wake of some recent controversies. However, few had anticipated his transfer as the first Administrative Secretary of the newly created ‘Skill Development Department’ as also his replacement by an IFS officer.At a time when B.K. Singh was expected to be appointed as Director Social Forestry, against the vacancy created by the retirement of the 1986-batch IFS officer B. Sidhartha Kumar on 31 August 2020, his inter-cadre transfer has surprised officers in both IAS as well as IFS.Highly placed bureaucratic sources have revealed to STATE TIMES that Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam has picked Singh for School Education for a particular purpose.For a long time during his Central deputation, Singh has served as Commissioner Navodaya Vidayalay Sangathan (NVS) in the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development and thus acquired extensive exposure to the new National Education Police as well as a large number of the novel schemes being introduced for the first time.The NVS, an autonomous organization under the Ministry of HRD, administers over 600 Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs) in different States and Union Territories. JNVs are fully residential and co-educational schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), New Delhi, with classes from VI to XII standard. These institutions are specifically tasked with finding talented children in rural areas of India and providing them with education equivalent to the best residential school system, without regard to their families’ socio-economic conditions. In May 2020, Singh was also assigned the additional charge of the Chairman, National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS).Four years senior to Dr Samoon, Singh has held the rank of the Joint Secretary in the Government of India. His 1989 counterpart in IAS of J&K, Umang Narula, is currently Chief Secretary as well as Advisor to Lieutenant Governor in the UT of Ladakh. Another 1989-batch IAS officer of J&K cadre, Atal Dulloo, is currently Financial Commissioner Health and Medical Education.In the Department of Forest, charge of the Director Social Forestry has been assigned to Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) Dr Mohit Gera.In the past, former PCCF and a senior IFS officer, Vinod Ranjan, has served a stint as Commissioner-Secretary Animal Husbandry. One of his distant predecessors and ex-PCCF, Mohammad Irshad Khan, has also served on an IAS cadre post as Secretary to Government. Even in the pre-1990 period, then CCF J&K, Sofi had served as Commissioner-Secretary against an IAS cadre vacancy.During the PDP-BJP Government, IFS officer Javed Ahmad Panzoo served a term as Managing Director J&K State Cable Car Corporation and another brief term as Secretary Administrative Reforms and Inspections (ARI) and Training.According to official sources, inter-cadre appointments have been rare in J&K as the IAS-dominated bureaucracy has had reservations with regard to posting of non-IAS and non-KAS officers as Administrative Secretaries. However, these have been happening in several States and UTs across the country.“Since few of our J&K cadre IAS officers on the Central deputation are inclined to return to the UT, it is well possible that the Government can recall and requisition some officers from other cadres and other States/UTs”, said a senior bureaucratic source. He pointed out that the Ministry of Home Affairs in ment…coordination with the UT government had lately given an option of permanent absorption in J&K to all the IAS officers of J&K posted in different States/UTs or working on deputation like Dr Ragav Langer IAS-2009 (Uttarakhand cadre) and Dr Syed Sehrish Asgar IAS-2013 (Punjab cadre).
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