Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Wednesday made it mandatory for ministers to attend offices for at least four days in a week. Unhappy with his ministers who are irregular even when they are in Shimla, Virbhadra said, “I have told them to give minimum four days a week to their offices as there are so many issues that require their presence for official discussions and files.”
He admitted that though touring is important for ministers, it should not overtake mandatory attendance at their offices. “If they do not attend offices regularly and remain out on tours, people will think it’s a mobile government,” he said.
Asked why some ministers are in Delhi more than in Shimla, Virbhadra said, “Unfortunately it’s true. I have urged them to spend more time in Shimla. It has been made mandatory for the ministers to be present for four days a week in their offices to create a better work culture.”
The chief minister did not rule out possibilities of a cabinet reshuffle. There is quite a possibility of a reshuffle in the portfolios of the ministers, he said. However, he added that performances of most ministers is satisfactory. Since all the files are routed through him, he can gauge their performances.
He hinted at bureaucratic changes to rationalise some departments held by top IAS officers, 11 of them in the additional chief secretary ranks. Virbhadra tried to downplay the rumblings in the bureaucracy over frequent postings and transfers that had compelled Upma Chawdhry, an additional chief secretary-rank officer, to proceed on leave while her husband and the additional CS (health), Vineet Chawdry, has filed an RTI to question why he was shifted from the department of urban development.
“Postings and transfers are the prerogatives of the government. Officers who are competent and work hard are given more departments, while those slow get less work. But, I am looking into the issue to see that all departments are evenly divided,” he added.
The CM, however, remained firm on his stand of not relieving officers for central deputation. Top bureaucrats now empaneled by the Centre as additional secretaries, are keen to proceed on deputation but the CM is not willing to concede to their requests.