Gujarat cadre officers call the shots in Modi government
As many as four of the 18 serving IAS officers from the Gujarat cadre are in the PMO whereas four others man the Finance Ministry and two occupy decisive positions in the Ministry of Home
A new RTI reply has revealed how the IAS officers of the Gujarat cadre have been holding the sway in Narendra Modi’s government since he became the Prime Minister in 2014.
According to an RTI reply, as many as four of the 18 serving IAS officers from the Gujarat cadre are in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) whereas four others occupy key positions in the Finance Ministry and two occupy decisive positions in the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The RTI further revealed that the 18 of the 492 IAS officers serving the the Central government collectively form a share of 3.65 per cent.
Senior IAS officers from other states, meanwhile, have expressed concern over the influence wielded by the officers of Gujarat cadre.
A Rajasthan cadre officer, for instance, told a news website The Print that the trend to appoint likable officers has been taken to “another level” under the Modi government.
“There is already this perception that all the power in the government is centralised in the PMO, and that is packed with Gujarat cadre officers. Even in other important ministries, you appoint them. Then what does it do to the morale of the services in general?” the news website quoted the officer as asking.
It has been reported that Additional Secretary General Arvind Kumar Sharma of 1988 batch is the senior most official in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). While Rajiv Topno is the private secretary to PM, Rajender Kumar of 2004 batch is the director in PMO. SR Bhavsar of the 2009-batch is OSD (officer on special duty) to the PM.
PK Misra, a 1972-batch officer who was Modi’s principal secretary during his time as Gujarat CM, is serving a second term as Modi’s additional principal secretary since 2014.
Besides, Modi’s close aide from Gujarat days, Hasmukh Adhia, is serving as the top official in the finance ministry.
Two key positions in the Union Home Ministry are also being handled by officers of the Gujarat cadre. While V Thiruppugazh is serving on a joint secretary rank, 2003-batch official PK Solanki is the director, census operations.