Updated: January 23, 2022 4:51:43 am
District magistrates of West Bengal were conspicuous in their absence at a Saturday meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, where he called on DMs of states to facilitate the implementation of government schemes in a time-bound manner.
The development comes at a time West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has written to PM Modi two times this month to oppose proposed changes by the central government to the IAS cadre rules.
“Hon’ble PM Shri @narendramodiji interacted virtually with District Magistrates (DMs) of many states today, with the objective of taking direct feedback about the progress & status of implementation of various Central Govt schemes and programmes… Unfortunately, DMs of West Bengal were missing, as instructed by their political bosses. Such instance of non-cooperation is a disgrace in the arena of Cooperative Federalism and might act as major impediment to the development of WB,” said Leader of Opposition in Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari.
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The Trinamool Congress, however, said a meeting of DMs called without representation from the state governments was “unfair”.
When asked about Bengal DMs skipping the meet, TMC MP Saugat Roy said: “The meeting called without the chief minister and chief secretary… excluding the state government is totally unfair… Ignoring everyone, why did the Prime Minister suddenly go to celebrate Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav like this? I do not support such an incident in any way. If the district magistrates were absent, I think that was correct decision.”
In Saturday’s meeting, held via video-conference, PM Modi urged the DMs to take government schemes to every doorstep, including the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat card and Ujjwala gas connections. He also called on the DMs to prepare a two year-vision for their districts and said five tasks associated with ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ – to celebrate 75 years of Independence — be taken up.
This latest thaw between the Centre and the West Bengal government is the proposed amendments to the IAS (Cadre) Rules, 1954. The proposed changes will allow the Centre to post IAS officers on central deputation and bypass reservations of state governments. CM Banerjee earlier this month expressed “strong reservations” against any changes to the rules and said the proposal was “against the spirit of cooperative federalism”.
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