The Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) has condemned the state government for extension of service period of state chief secretary Rajesh Kumar by yet another six months, saying it would demoralise the deserving.
Addressing the media in Imphal on Friday, MPCC spokesperson Bhupendra Ningombam said that over extending of service period of the chief secretary by another six months is gross violation of office memorandum issued by the Ministry of personnel, public, grievances and pensions, department of personnel and training, Government of India.
Bhupendra said the state government had resolved in the cabinet meeting on April 3, 2017 not to allow continuity of any retired government officials' services. Hence, the MPCC demands the state government to reconsider the move of the state as it will demoralise many competent government officials, he stated.
He said at present Manipur has two additional chief secretaries who joined in the same year as Rajesh Kumar of 1988, (IAS) cadre of Manipur.
“Is there no other competent officer for the post of chief secretary?'' Bhupendra asked and added that the re-extension of Rajesh Kumar’s term has demoralized the aspiring candidates who deserve to hold the post.
Manipur has competent and deserving officials but extending the period of present chief secretary again and again is unfortunate, he said.
Bhupendra mentioned that there are IAS officers such as additional chief secretary MH Khan, P Vaiphei, NEC secretary K Moses Chalai etc who can be the chief secretary of Manipur. They are all 1988 batch. Letkhogin Haokip, is also 1988 batch. There are many competent IAS officers who can succeed Rajesh Kumar, the Congress leader said.
The state government should reconsider and revoke this order as it will demotivate many officials. Moreover, this kind of decision directly or indirectly promotes corruption in the state, he said and added that over extension of service period after retirement of the chief secretary is just like providing financial and signatory authority to withdraw the funds of the state.
“While extension of tenure of the highest post of the state government will misgovern the administrative system, the state will become the corruption capital of India if such kind of gross violation of service rules continues for a longer period”, Bhupendra said.
In December 1, 2022 the DOPT released its office memorandum and it is available in the website which states that, as per the para-3 of the memorandum, no government servant can be granted extension of service beyond the age of retirement i.e., 60 years, provided that if the said officer deal with budget or full-time member of a committee. This too – the extension exceeds three months or if he or she is an expert in the scientific field, they can be extended till 62 years in the interest of the people.
There is no rule for extension of chief secretary in the DOPT memorandum, said Bhupendra and added that the state cabinet minister had also taken a decision not to re-engage the retired official. Then, how come the chief secretary is re-engaged through a service extension of one year, he asked.
It may be mentioned that Rajesh Kumar, was appointed as the chief secretary of Manipur succeeding J Suresh Babu on July 31, 2020, and his retirement was due on June 30, 2022. But as per the order issued by the governor of Manipur, his service as the chief secretary was extended for another six months.
With a recent order of another six months' extension, Rajesh Kumar will hold the post of chief secretary of Manipur till June 31, 2023.