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Overlooked for chief secy post, IAS officer takes on 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letter to the Governor, has stated that Dhiman's appointment was done without "assigning any reason" even as she was "superseded".

Himachal Pradesh CM Jai Ram Thakur. (File)

An IAS officer who was superseded for the top administrative post in Himachal Pradesh has opened a front against Chief Secretary RK Dhiman asking how he, being a junior, can advise Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur regarding her official works. Nisha Singh, a 1987-batch officer, has also sought the intervention of the Governor stating that the current administrative dispensation in the hill state “has not been geared up positively towards lady officers and women in general”.

Nisha Singh, who is currently posted as Principal Advisor (Training and FA) to Himachal Pradesh government, in a letter to the Governor has stated that the Dhiman’s appointment as Chief Secretary on July 14 this year was done without “assigning any reason” while she was “superseded”.

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Dhiman had superseded three IAS officers, including Nisha Singh who is Subagh’s wife, Ali Raza Rizvi and Sanjay Gupta.

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It was on July 19 that 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.

The government responded on September 5 with a 10-point charter highlighting roles and functions 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 delaye in response was a “mockery of the representation”.

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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.

“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.

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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?”

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.

Seven chief secys in 5 yrs of BJP govt

Soon after the BJP-led by Jai ram Thakur formed government in Himachal Pradesh in 2017, it appointed Vineet Chaudhary as chief secretary replacing VC Pharka, who had been appointed to the post by the previous Congress government. BK Aggarwal succeeded Vineet Chaudhary in 2018 following latter’s superannuation. Later, Dr Shrikant Baldi replaced Chaudhary following he was called for central deputation. Baldi was further succeeded by Anil Khachi for a year and seven months before being replaced by Ram Subhag Singh in 2021, who too was replaced by RK Dhiman in July 2022.

First published on: 10-09-2022 at 01:36:16 am
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