Exercising his authority over services — a contested area between him and the elected government — Lt-Governor Anil Baijal gave “in-principle approval” to the long-pending demand of restructuring of DASS and steno cadre of Delhi government employees on Monday.
Baijal’s decision, which may have an impact on the career graph of at least 8,000 employees, was described by the Aam Aadmi Party as an attempt by him to “cling on” to services using the 2015 Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) notification.
The DASS (Delhi Administration Subordinate Services) and steno cadre form the backbone of the state’s administration.
The sudden move by Raj Niwas was also seen by AAP as an attempt to deny the elected government credit for effecting the restructuring, which may aid in faster promotions and other benefits.
The AAP has challenged the validity of the MHA notification, and a regular bench of the Supreme Court is likely to take up the matter on Tuesday.
The Delhi administration draws personnel from the IAS, DANICS and DASS cadre.
While the recruitment to the first two are done through the civil services, DASS employees, numbering around 8,000 at the moment, are appointed through the Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board.
The unease over Baijal’s decision became apparent as the Delhi Government Employees’ Welfare Association, seen as pro-AAP, also decried the L-G’s move, alleging “anarchist behaviour” on the part of Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash, Baijal and officials of the services department.
The association also pointed out that on December 31, 2015, the AAP Cabinet had taken a decision regarding restructuring of DASS cadre, providing parity with CSS (Central Secretariat Cadre) and delinking their cadre from DANICS (Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Service), which comes under MHA.
Subsequently, the Delhi Assembly had on March 26 passed a resolution to implement the Assembly order.
AAP leader Saurabh Bhardwaj claimed that the Cabinet decision would have ensured promotions for DASS employees up to the level of additional secretaries, and that it would have become a Delhi-specific cadre.
“But under the L-G’s decision, promotions will be up to the level of joint secretary only. Moreover, DASS will continue to be a feeder cadre of DANICS,” he said.
The L-G’s decision was in line with recommendations made by a committee headed by former Principal Secretary (Finance) S N Sahai. The department issued two separate orders referring to the L-G as the “competent authority”, in exercise of powers conferred by the “proviso to Article 309 of the Constitution”, read with relevant notifications of the MHA.
The recommendations, which have been forwarded to the MHA, pertain to creation of more posts under Grade I and Grade II in DASS and residency periods for promotions. These have been among the primary demands of the association for several years. According to the order on restructuring of DASS cadre, the residency period for promotion from Grade IV to Grade III will be six years regular service; from Grade III to Grade II will be eight years; and from Grade II to Grade I will be six years.