HAS a section young IAS officers of 2014 batch posted as assistant secretaries to the government of India taken life too easy? After as many as 37 of them were found missing in a session with NITI Aayog Member and economist Bibek Debroy last week — something prominently highlighted in national newspapers and for which absentees were show-caused — the DoPT did not want to take any more chance to ensure they attend a session addressed by NITI Vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya. In what could be described as quite an unusual office memorandum dated September 12, the DoPT asked the assistant secretaries posted in various Central government ministries and departments that “they have to attend the aforesaid function without fail”, making the two words—“without fail” in bold letters. Not just that, they were asked to be present in the function “on time”, again highlighting…the words “on time” in bold letters to draw their attention. In fact, the cabinet secretariat too swung into action as it postponed a pre-scheduled meeting fixed at 6.30 pm on Thursday between 2014 officers attached to the ministries of commerce, DIPP, MSME and labour and cabinet secretary PK Sinha, so as to facilitate the young officers participate in NITI Vice-chairman’s session. The session with Panagariya was held yesterday on a theme -- “Indian economy — wherefrom and whereto”. It’s however not yet known whether there was a full attendance to the session or not.
In fact, the session with Debroy, in which many officers were absent, was held on September 9 so as to assist the officers, all belonging to 2014 batch IAS, to get insights into socio-economic and developmental challenges facing the nation, and strategic policy framework thereof.
The officers have begun their 3-month-period as assistant secretaries with effect from August 1, 2016. While appointing the officers as assistant secretary, DoPT in an office memorandum dated June 5, 2016 said that they should not even go for leave during this three-month period.“Officers are advised not to avail any leave considering the short period of appointment”, the OM said.