Thursday, January 31, 2013

How a DoPT mistake makes an IAS officer 10 years junior to his batch-mates

ALAS! West Bengal cadre IAS officer Hem Kumar Pande, currently working as additional secretary in the ministry of environment and forests, has become 10 years junior to his batch-mates! Just hold your breath. In a DoPT order duely…
signed by a joint secretary level officer and posted in its official website, Pande was mistakenly shown as a 1992 batch IAS even though he is in fact a 1982 batch IAS. Such mistakes are, however, very rare in appointment orders which are approved by Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) headed by Prime Minister himself.
In fact, January 28, 2013 order (see the order above) was regarding the appointment of 1990 batch IAS Ravi Shankar Prasad as joint secretary in the ministry of environment and forests who will replace Pande. Prasad’s appointment, according to the order, is for a period of five years “vice Shri Hem Kumar Pande, IAS (WB: 92) on his appointment as Addl Secretary in the same Ministry”. But the fact is, Pande, who joined environment and forests ministry in May 2008 as a joint secretary is a 1982 batch IAS. Ideally, the mistake should have been spotted then and there, as no 1992 batch IAS is eligible for appointment as an additional secretary to Union government.
The copies of the order (with the mistake in it) were sent among others to principal secretary to PM Pulok Chatterji, environment secretary V Rajagopalan and joint secretary in the cabinet secretariat Nivedita Shukla Verma.
For the record, Pande was a post graduate in Botany before joining as an IAS, and is also an MBA from an Australian university. During the NDA regime, he was a director and joint secretary in the department of mines.

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