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Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC – 21 January 2022

Contents:

  1. Drop the IAS cadre rules amendments
  2. Yemen’s tragedy

Drop the IAS Cadre Rules Amendments

Context:

The Central Government has proposed four amendments to Rule 6(1) of the IAS (Cadre) Rules, 1954 dealing with deputation, and has sought the views of State governments before January 25, 2022.

Relevance:

GS Paper – 2: Role of Civil Services in a Democracy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. All India Services – Role of Sardar Patel
  2. Healthy Conventions followed earlier
  3. Flouting conventions for political considerations
  4. What are the proposed amendments?
  5. Long-term damage
  6. Emphasis on cooperative federalism
  7. Way Forward

All India Services – Role of Sardar Patel

  • It was Sardar Patel who had championed the creation of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the Indian Police Service (IPS) as “All India Services” (AIS).
    • The members would be recruited and appointed by the Centre and allotted to various States, and who could serve both under the State and the Centre.
  • He considered the AIS essential to knit the administrative framework of a vast and diverse country into an integrated whole and to provide a connecting link between implementation at the field level and policymaking at the top.
  • Speaking to the Constituent Assembly on October 10, 1949, Patel said,
    • “The Union will go, you will not have a united India if you have not a good All India Service, which has the independence to speak out its mind, which has a sense of security….”

Healthy Conventions followed earlier:

  • AIS officers are made available for central deputation through a consultative process involving the Centre, the States and the officers concerned.
  • No officer was sent on central deputation against his/her own will.
  • The procedure followed: Every year, the States would prepare an “offer list” of officers who had opted for central deputation without arbitrarily withholding any names.
    • The Centre would choose officers only from among those “on offer” from the States.
    • The States would relieve the officers picked up by the Centre at the earliest.

Flouting conventions for political considerations:

  • Unfortunately, both the Centre and the States have at times flouted these healthy conventions for political considerations.
  • Unilateral move by the Centre:
    • In July 2001, the Centre unilaterally “placed at its disposal” the services of three IPS officers of Tamil Nadu cadre.
    • In December 2020, the Centre did the same in respect of three IPS officers of West Bengal cadre.
    • In May 2021, the Centre unilaterally issued orders for the central deputation of the Chief Secretary of West Bengal just before his last day in service.
    • In all these cases, the States concerned refused to relieve the officers.
  • Uncooperative States:
    • Some States used to vindictively withhold the names of some of the officers who had opted for central deputation or delay their relief after they were picked up by the Centre.
      • Example: Senior IPS officer who was not allowed to join the Central Bureau of Investigation despite earlier clearance and was suspended by the Government of Tamil Nadu in May 2014 when she relieved herself from the State pursuant to the Centre’s direction.

What are the proposed amendments?

  • The existing Rule 6(1): It states that a cadre officer may be deputed to the Central Government (or to another State or a PSU) only with the concurrence of the State Government concerned.
    • In case of any disagreement, the matter shall be decided by the Central Government.
  • Two of the four proposed amendments are disconcerting. They are:
  1. The new provision makes it mandatory for the State government to provide a certain fixed number of IAS officers for central deputation every year.
    • The proposed amendment more or less compels a State government to offer IAS officers for central deputation even when these officers themselves may not wish to go on central deputation.
    • Issues that centre should address:
      • Poor working conditions in junior-level posts,
      • an opaque and arbitrary system of Empanelment for senior-level posts, and
      • lack of security of tenure at all levels
      • All these are the real reasons for the shortage of IAS officers
    • With the Government of India itself enthusiastically promoting lateral entry to posts in the Centre and providing an increased share of central deputation posts to the central services, there is no need to push unwilling IAS officers on central deputation.
  2. The other is a proviso that requires the State government to release such officers whose services may be sought by the Central Government in specific situations.
    • State’s objections: State governments have a justified apprehension that this proviso may be misused for political considerations based on Based past experiences.
      • What if the Centre unilaterally places at its disposal the services of the Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister and other key officers of a State ruled by a rival party or deputes them to other States?

Long-term damage:

  • Infringement of rights: States are right in perceiving the proposed amendments as a serious infringement of their rights to deploy IAS officers as they deem best, especially when the cutting edge of policy implementation is mostly at the State level.
  • Effects on IAS offices: The contemplated changes have grave implications for the independence, security and morale of IAS officers.
    • If States begin to doubt the loyalty of IAS officers, they are likely to reduce the number of IAS cadre posts and also their annual intake of IAS officers.
    • They may prefer officers of the State Civil Services to handle as many posts as possible.
    • In course of time, the IAS will lose its sheen, and the best and the brightest candidates will no longer opt for the IAS as a career.
  • Short-sighted decisions can do long-term damage to the polity.

Emphasis on cooperative federalism:

  • In the words of jurist Nani Palkhivala, “A national consensus should clearly remind the Centre that it has not inherited the Viceroy’s mantle of paramountcy…
    • The Centre would have no moral authority to govern unless it displays a sense of constitutional morality, particularly a sense of justice and fairness towards the States”.
  • In S.R. Bommai vs Union of India (1994), the Supreme Court held that “States have an independent constitutional existence and they have as important a role to play in the political, social, educational and cultural life of the people as the Union. States are neither satellites nor agents of the Centre”.

Way Forward:

  • We hope that the Centre will heed Sardar Patel’s sage advice and drop the proposed amendments.
  • In a federal setup, it is inevitable that differences and disputes would arise between the Centre and the States.
  • But all such quarrels should be resolved in the spirit of cooperative federalism and keeping the larger national interest in mind.

-Source: The Hindu

Yemen’s tragedy

Context:

Recent drone attacks on Abu Dhabi by the Houthis killed two Indians and a Pakistani.

Relevance:

GS Paper – 2: Effect of Policies & Politics of Countries on India’s Interests, India and its Neighbourhood

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Background
  2. Role of UAE in Yemen
  3. What are the consequences of recent attacks?
  4. Way Forward

Background:

  • A military coalition led by Saudi Arabia intervened in Yemen in March 2015, to dislodge the Houthi rebels from Sana’a and reinstate the government of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi in the capital.
  • Almost seven years later, the Iran-backed Houthis, began counter-attacks with missiles and drones into Saudi Arabia, have expanded the war all the way to the Gulf coast of the UAE.

Role of UAE in Yemen:

  • Recent drone attack on Abu Dhabi by the Houthis, were a message to the UAE  on what they are capable of.
  • It may not be a coincidence that the attacks were carried out at a time when the UAE-backed forces have been making slow gains in Yemen’s conflict against the Houthis.
  • UAE quit the Saudi-led coalition in 2020 as the war had hit a stalemate.
  • Since then, the Emiratis have provided tactical support to the Southern Transitional Council, a separatist body in southern Yemen that drove the Saudi-backed forces loyal to President Hadi out of Aden.
  • The dynamics changed again when the Houthis began pushing into territories outside their stronghold, especially Marib; if they take Marib, they would be a step ahead to push into the south.
  • Faced with the prospects of further Houthi territorial gains, UAE-backed forces such as Giants Brigades (a militia from the south) have joined hands with the government. Then came the Abu Dhabi attacks.

What are the consequences of the recent attack?

  • These could escalate the conflict.
  • The immediate response from the Saudi-led coalition has been to carry out a massive air strike on the partly destroyed Sana’a. The UAE has also vowed retaliation.
  • It could trigger the opposite reaction against Houthi from Abu Dhabi, which now has powerful proxies in the south.
  • Three-way crisis in Yemen:
    • The violence could be a tragic for millions of people in Yemen. UNICEF has called Yemen “a living hell”.
    • Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Arab world, is facing a three-way crisis —
      • thousands have been killed in the conflict,
      • many abandoned or suffering by the collapse of the government and social services; and
      • mass hunger.

Way forward:

  • The first step to address this tragedy is to end the fighting.
  • Unfortunately, the parties in the conflict and their regional backers are keen on escalating the conflict further rather than finding a solution.
  • From the lessons learnt from the past- there can be no military solution to Yemen’s problems.
  • There is a need for talks between the rebels, separatists and the government, but also between their backers — Iran, the UAE and Saudi Arabia to bring down tensions.
  • If these regional powers agree to rein in their proxies and work towards rebuilding Yemen, that would also help them restore stability and security in the Arabian peninsula.

-Source: The Hindu

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