New Delhi (The Hawk): In the most daring modus operandi as sitting Prime Minister, stoic Narendra Modi in the true spirit of Nobel Laureate RabindraNath Tagore's "Chitto Jethaa Bhoy Shoonno, Uchcho Jethaa Sheer, Gyan jetha mukto, jetha grih-er prachir Apan prangan tole dibashorbari, bosudha-re rakhe nai khondo khudra kori
(Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments By narrow domestic walls) is running his PMO in South Block in Raisina Hill with non-IAS officers thereby creating Guiness Book Of World Records or Limca Book of Records as never before him any PM dared made any non-IAS Officer handle works in the PMO on the pretext that their knowledges were not all round unlike the IAS officers who as a result at a point became Super PM etc and called shots in the country thereby dooming it in many sectors, the blame/accusations/faults of which obviously were thrust on the ministers who obviously remained nincompoop sans any knowledge of the mish-mash projects even though they belonged to departmennts concerning his Ministries. Modi assiduously has put an end to it. He has appointed specislist officers in specialist fields so that there is 'slip' of any kind in the projects PMO handles.
Ample proof of it is Modi's recent key appointments to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) of as many as 11 non-IAS officers as joint secretaries in the third reshuffle of civil servants amid the Covid-19 lockdown.
According to an order issued by the appointments committee of the Cabinet, S. Gopalakrishnan has been appointed as additional secretary to the PMO. Gopalakrishnan, an electrical engineering graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) and a postgraduate from the Indian Institute of Management Bengaluru (IIM-B), earlier served as additional secretary in the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
C. Sridhar has been appointed as joint secretary in the PMO. Sridhar currently serves as director in the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA), the IAS training ground. Meera Mohanty, a technocrat, has been appointed as director in the PMO.
The appointments committee has also picked Arun Singhal, food specialist, as chief executive officer for the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), India's apex food standards watchdog, in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The cabinet appointments committee, which is headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and also includes Home Minister Amit Shah, appointed Rajendra Kumar, labor specialist, as director general of the Employees' State Insurance Corporation (under the Ministry of Labour & Employment). He has now been appointed as additional secretary in the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology.
Similarly, Subir Mallick, who is currently serving as additional financial adviser and joint secretary in the Ministry of Defence (finance section), has been appointed as additional secretary and financial adviser for the Department of Agricultural Research and Education.
The government has now retained him in the Ministry of Defence (finance), and upgraded his post to the rank of additional secretary.
In all, the reshuffle has resulted in the appointment of 16 joint secretaries — 11 of whom are from services other than the IAS.
Surendra Prasad Yadav, an Indian Forest Service (IFoS) officer of the 1996 batch from the West Bengal cadre, has been appointed joint secretary in the Department of Defence Production.
Manish Tiwari, an officer of the Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS), 1995 batch, has been appointed as joint secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Ateesh Kumar Singh, another officer of the IRTS, has been appointed as joint secretary in the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME).
Himabindu Mudumbai, a 1999-batch officer of the Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IAAS), has been appointed to the Department of Revenue as joint secretary.
Interestingly, Modi government, to end sheer monopoly of IAS, has increasingly sought to empanel non-IAS officers at senior positions in the government obviously for best functioning according to exactness of the briefs in toto without efforting in spoiling them and bring bad names to the Government.
"It is a matter of great joy for us that other services, including ours is being increasingly recognised by the government," said a railway service officer in reaction to the latest reshuffle. "All of us get selected into the government through the same exam…It was about time that the hierarchy of the IAS was broken."
Since last year, the Indian railway services has been the biggest beneficiary of the Modi government's bid to break the stranglehold of the IAS that is all is relevant but not omnipotent, omniscient.