Public Administration Mains 2018 : Model Question and Answer - 79

(Public Administration Paper II / Chapter: State Government and Administration)

(Current Based) Question: The buck stops with Chief Secretary no matter which department is involved. Comment in the context of recent controversy. (20 Marks/300Words)

Model Answer:

The CS is not an ordinary bureaucrat. He is the head of the civil administration in the state or union territory, an officer who represents not just his own service but all services within the civil administration. The buck stops with him no matter which department is involved. His word in sorting out contending arguments and dissension among officers is final.

In Delhi, the CS has an even more challenging role — he has to report simultaneously to the CM and the lieutenant governor (LG) and walk a tightrope between the vision and concerns of both, even when they are not always on the same page. But it will work only as long as both the CM and the LG understand and respect the role of the CS. If that is whittled down, the tremors will be felt across the services. An insult to the CS is seen as an insult to the official brotherhood.

Delhi is different in many ways. In the states, the CS is invariably the choice of the CM and there is understanding and mutual trust between them. In the UT cadre or the AGMUT cadre as it is officially known, that is not so. By and large, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the authority controlling the cadre serving the NCT of Delhi . Having said that, the officer knows his career is largely to be decided by the MHA and not by the CM of Delhi or elsewhere.

Therefore, it is not necessary for the CS to always find a way to meet the demands of the CM, which is a point of difference with other state cadres. CMs recognise this and make the best use of what they have been given. The political executive and bureaucracy —two pillars need to hold the structure together, or else one would develop cracks and bring the other down with it or lead to a go-slow which would prevent doing things that matter the most. (Total Words- 327)

Valuable inputs from The Indian Express Opinion : ‘Letting Delhi Down’ by Shailaja Chandra

(Linkages: Chief Secretary and CM, Chief Secretary and LG ,Chief Secretary and MHA)

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