Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Can an IAS officer’s note create rift between PM and Sonia?

NO SENIOR bureaucrat in Delhi would like to be associated with this headline: “Babu hand in Sonia-PM rift”. But Arvind Mayaram, a 1978 batch Rajasthan cadre IAS has hogged the limelight for his reported objections to a hike in minimum wages paid under the flagship NREG Scheme after interpreting Pranab Mukherjee’s Budget speech. That’s not all. A note by Mayaram, additional secretary in rural development ministry, formed the basis of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s rejection to Sonia Gandhi-led NAC’s recommendations that minimum wages for NREGA workers be enhanced, according to a report in Hindustan Times. But the rural development ministry finally hiked the wages and sent out a press release last week giving details about the hike of minimum wages for NREGA workers in different states. The Hindustan Times report further said Mayaram to be close to 10 Janpath.
Over a year ago, CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat obtained the minutes of a meeting called on July 10, 2009 to discuss the policy of revising the wage rates where Mayaram reportedly interpreted what finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said about the hike of NREGS wages during the General Budget. It was probably the first such instance of a senior politician obtaining the details of an internal meeting of officers by filing an RTI application.
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Action and Appointments
a) The Supreme Court has allowed the Kerala government to go ahead with the trial in the palmolein oil scam involving chief vigilance commissioner and 1973 batch Kerala cadre retired IAS, PJ Thomas. CVC Thomas will now have to face trial in the case. Former Kerala CM K Karunakaran and seven officials including Thomas were chargesheeted in 2000. Thomas was then the Kerala food secretary. The then chief secretary of the state, additional secretary and Kerala state civil supplies corporation’s MD GG Thomas were also named as accused in the FIR.
b) Govind Mohan, a 1989 batch Sikkim cadre IAS, has been appointed as the joint secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat for a period of six months. He has been a director and then a joint secretary in department of economic affairs under finance ministry.
c) New vice-chairman of DDA, GS Patnaik, a 1980 batch IAS officer of Union Territory cadre, has spelt out the reforms that he would be undertaking soon. Creating land record would be one of his priorities. Patnaik would further like to make changes in the field of design innovation of DDA flats. 

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