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Overlooked for chief secy post, IAS officer opens front against Himachal govt

Currently posted as Principal Advisor (Training and FA) to Himachal Pradesh government, Nisha Singh, in the letter to the Governor, has stated that Dhiman's appointment as Chief Secretary was done without "assigning any reason" even as she was "superseded".

Nisha Singh (Express/File)

Nearly two months after she was superseded for the top administrative post in Himachal Pradesh, Nisha Singh, the senior-most officer in the hill state, has opened a front against the Jai ram Thakur-led BJP government asking how RD Dhiman, who was junior to her, was appointed as chief secretary. The 1987-batch officer has also written to Governor, seeking his intervention, stating that the current administrative dispensation in Himachal “has not been geared up positively towards lady officers and women in general”.

Currently posted as Principal Advisor (Training and FA) to Himachal Pradesh government, Nisha Singh, in the letter to the Governor, has stated that Dhiman’s appointment as Chief Secretary was done without “assigning any reason” even as she was “superseded”.

In an administrative reshuffle, CM Thakur had on July 14 appointed Dhiman, a 1988-batch officer, as chief secretary removing Ram Subagh Singh who had been holding the post since August 2021. Dhiman had superseded three IAS officers, including Nisha Singh who is Subagh’s wife, Ali Raza Rizvi and Sanjay Gupta.

On July 19 Nisha Singh wrote to the state government asking it issue clarification on pooling the training wings and to partner them with different universities, and skill training and educational institutes. The letter highlighted that the move will create synergy within departments and streamline functions. Further suggestions were made in the representation to fulfil objectives of capacity building as highlighted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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The government responded to the letter on September 5 with a 10-point charter highlighting role and function of a principal advisor. The letter said that functions will include overseeing training of different departments to create synergy, examine structures for capacity building among others.

Nisha Singh, however, in a letter dated September 8 argued that she had submitted a representation to the government for a definition of role and functions for the given capacity, and the two-month delay in response was a “mockery of the representation”.

The officer said that the “advisors to Chief Minister have totally misled him and showm extremely vile attitude, smallness and lack of administrative strength”. She argued that the government did not define capacity building, no administrative authority was mentioned and that no institutional support was given to help discharge her duties.

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“Such small mindedness and vileness in the heart of the administration from Chief Secretary downwards is inappropriate for the positive governance,” said Nisha Singh in the letter.

“Moreover, I want to object…the experience and understanding of a junior officer who has been appointed as Chief Secretary is far less than that of the undersigned. Can he advise to the CM on (her) official work? On my representation, he cannot be involved as he is junior. My supersession had been unwarranted and in total ignorance of the work I have done with sincerity,” the letter further read.

The officer further wrote: “The present administrative dispensation has not been geared up positively towards lady officers and women in general. As president of IAS Association, I have had many lady officers, both IAS and HPAS, come to me for redressal of injustice to them. I tried my best to resolve them. If there is no empathetic attitude towards lady officers where would other women go?”

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The government has maintained that the decision to appoint chief secretary has been taken by the CM in his capacity. “The order itself mentions that it has been issued after approval of CM,” said a senior official.

First published on: 10-09-2022 at 02:48:53 am
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