Monday, August 22, 2011

Government fields Maharashtra IAS Umesh Sarangi to deal with Anna Hazare

An Anna supporter
FOR the last few days, Umesh Chandra Sarangi, a 1977 batch Maharashtra cadre IAS and state’s additional chief secretary (home) has been engaged in back-channel talks with anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare’s key aides to end the current stalemate over Hazare’s fast over Jan Lokpal draft bill. Sarangi, a former principal secretary to Maharashtra’s ex-chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, has been personally known to Hazare for over 10 years. It’s believed that Sarangi was called to Delhi mainly to minimize the trust deficit between government and Team Anna.
Sarangi is however not the first bureaucrat to hold unofficial talks with civil society members with an intension to defuse a serious crisis involving civil society. Only three months ago, then CBDT chairman and 1973 batch Indian Revenue Service officer Sudhir Chandra was fielded by the government to persuade Baba Ramdev for not going ahead with the proposed fast. But the strategy did not work.
Hailing from Orissa, 59 year-old Sarangi has reportedly handed over a new version of the Lokpal draft bill, but Hazare’s team-mates did not find that impressive as it was almost the same with that of the government’s version of Lokpal.
Sarangi is one of the few bureaucrats who worked in Maharashtra’s agriculture and co-operatives department for many years right from mid-1990s, and that’s where Sarangi dealt with Hazare issues. The government is now banking on Sarangi’s earlier experiences of dealing with Hazare.

Action and Appointments
a) The Centre has approved the extension of inter-cadre deputation of Narendra Bahadur
Singh Rajput, a 1999 batch Orissa cadre IAS from Orissa to Madhya Pradesh cadre for a period of two years.
b) The government has extended Central deputation tenure of Ajit Kumar, a 1980 batch Bihar cadre IAS and joint secretary in the ministry of food processing industries for a period of three months beyond September 17.

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