Monday, October 17, 2011

Senior IAS attend CAG-hosted closed door brainstorming conclave in Shimla

Famous toy train from Kalka to Shimla
AT LEAST 10 government of India secretaries including those who come under Prime Minister’s Office and finance ministry landed up in Indian hill town Shimla last weekend. The reason? Comptroller and Auditor General of India Vinod Rai, a 1972 batch IAS officer, hosted an official closed-door brainstorming conclave to find out modalities to encompass more aspects of government under its scrutiny.
Despite Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh aired his voice that CAG Rai overstepped his brief by entering into the policy space, Rai has now managed to rally around a large number of senior babus to drive home his point: A need to strengthen the CAG’s role rather than limiting itself to mere auditing.
Those bureaucrats who attended the CAG-hosted Shimla conclave included expenditure secretary Sumit Bose (1976 batch IAS), DoPT secretary Alka Sirohi (1974 batch IAS), rural development secretary BK Sinha (1975 batch IAS), power secretary Uma Shankar (1976 batch IAS) among others. There is no one from PMO directly, but DoPT secretary Alka Sirohi technically falls under the PMO. Secretaries from some other departments like Panchayati Rai, environment and forests and heavy industries were also present. Also, about a dozen secretaries representing various states reportedly attended the close-door conclave.
Rural development minister Jairam Ramesh and Rai’s batch-mate and CVC Pradeep Kumar also attended the Shimla conclave. Rai and Kumar, both of 1972 batch, are close friends and are in regular touch.
Reportedly it was decided in the conclave that government’s social sector expenditure which amounted Rs 1,60,000 crore this year alone need to be scrutinized thoroughly.
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Action and Appointments
a) The CBI in a case related to alleged illegal mining and irregularities in allotment of mining leases to Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC), questioned 1988 batch Andhra Pradesh cadre IAS officer Y Srilakshmi on Saturday. The investigating agency has raided her house too. Srilakshmi, currently commissioner (health), was earlier secretary of Andhra Pradesh Industries Department.

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