Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his Tamil Nadu counterpart MK Stalin wrote to to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, 23 January, urging him to drop the Centre’s proposed amendment to Indian Administrative Service (IAS) Cadre rules.
With this, the two joined the growing list of chief ministers opposing the Centre's proposed changes to the assignment rules of IAS officers.
While Vijayan said the proposed amendments will "induce a fear psychosis among All India Service Officers", Stalin said the "proposed amendments would result in concentration of powers with the Union Government".
"The proposed amendments in the Deputation Rules of All India Services will definitely induce a fear psychosis and an attitude of hesitancy among All India Service Officers to implement policies of a State Government, which are formed by party/parties politically opposed by the ruling party at the Centre."Pinarayi Vijayan, CM, Kerala, said in the letter
He also tweeted on Sunday that he has written a letter to PM Modi expressing his concern that the proposed new changes will "weaken cooperative federalism".
Vijayan reminded the PM that in a vibrant democracy, States and Centre can be ruled by parties with “vastly different ideologies and political views” but the government must function within the framework of the Constitution.
He added, “The present Deputation Rules are themselves heavily loaded in favour of the Union and bringing in further stringency will weaken the very root of cooperative federalism.”
“The Government of Kerala is of the opinion that the proposed amendments may be dropped,” said the Chief Minister.
'Proposed Amendement Would Result in Concentration of Powers With the Union Govt': Stalin
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin asked PM Modi to "instead engage with state governments to further strengthen the federal spirit of the nation".
"State governments are on the forefront of implementation of various programmes including the schemes of the Union Government at state level. The states also face frequent natural disasters which demand services of IAS officers in the state more than elsewhere," Stalin said in the letter.
"Given this situation, forcing the state governments to depute officers would surely aggravate the governance deficit in various states due to shortage of officers and also it is an affront to the administrative framework of the states," he added.
"The proposed amendments would cause irreparable damage to the spirit of cooperative federalism that exist between Union and the states and result in concentration of powers with the Union Government."
Stalin said that many of the state governments were "woefully short" of officers at specific seniorities, "primarily due to the wrong cadre management policies followed by the Union Government".
"While the Union Government is availing the common pool from Group-I officers at the national level, the state governments solely depend on the limited pool of IAS officers available in the state," the letter stated.
Stalin then requested PM Modi to drop the proposed amendments to IAS (Cadre) Rules, 1954.
"Instead engage with state governments to further strengthen the federal spirit of the nation and take forward the noble ideas of our forefathers with reference to the steel frame as enshrined in the Indian Constitution," the letter further said.
Other Leaders Oppose the New Rules
Apart from Vijayan and Stalin, several others such as Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel have written to the Prime Minister urging him to scrap the Centre's proposal to amend the IAS (Cadre) Rules.
Chhattisgarh CM Baghel said that the changes will create a "sense of instability" and "confusion" and the political interference will "make it difficult for the officers to work impartially" especially during the time of elections.
Rajasthan CM Gehlot tweeted against the rules and said on Friday, 21 January, "The Constitution makers of our country had conceptualised the All India Services keeping in mind the public welfare and the spirit of federalism. With this amendment, the services described by Iron Man Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as 'Steel Frame of India' will be weakened in future."