While some argue that new expertise and techniques have made them redundant, others say regional commissioners play a key function in far-flung areas
Karnataka authorities’s proposal to abolish offices of regional commissioners, as per one of many suggestions of the Administrative Reforms Commission-2, is dealing with opposition by some organisations and former bureaucrats on the bottom that it’s in opposition to the spirit of decentralisation.
R Ashok, Revenue Minister, has mentioned that there’s a proposal to ablish the 4 regional commissioner offices in Bengaluru, Mysuru, Belagavi and Kalaburagi to cut back pointless bills and redeploy employees to varied vacant posts.
The Kalyan Karnataka Janapara Sangharsha Samiti in Kalaburgi and Central Committee of Kannada Organisations (CCKO) in Belagavi have despatched requests to the State authorities to rethink the choice.
Lakshman Dasti, KKJSS samiti president, warned of an agitation if the federal government abolished RC offices. “The government should empower the RC offices with more staff, functions, financial powers and duties instead,” he mentioned.
“Mr Ashok has likened the RC office to a white elephant. I want to ask him how many white elephants of the State government are in Bengaluru and will they be abolished too?, asked Ashok Chandaragi, convenor of CCKO. He alleged that the government wants to do away with the RC office just because some senior IAS officers are not willing to be posted outside Bengaluru. “If all the power is concentrated in Bengaluru, poor farmers from border villages will have to rush to Bengaluru for every small work,’’ he said. He demanded the State government increase the number of RC offices to eight.
Serving and retired officers have some reservations about the government’s plans too. “The RC office is a platform for general supervision over departments at the regional level. We hold elections to urban and local bodies, receive public grievances and hear appeals against lower level officers. Recently, when there were differences between Deputy commissioners of Mysuru and Chamaraja Nagar, the RC intervened. The RC is the chairman of several committees that are monitored by the Supreme Court of India. Finding an alternative for all such things will be difficult,” mentioned a senior IAS officer.
Retired IAS officer S M Jamdar, who as principal secretary, income, created the regional commisionerates in 2006, describing the transfer as ludicrous. He warned that if the RC offices had been to be closed now, they might have to be reopened after 5 years, as a single income commissioner for the entire State wouldn’t give you the option to deal with the strain.
“This is what happened between 2002-08. Following the Harnahalli Commission recommendations, the government abolished posts of divisional commissioners and other division level personnel. But in two years, the government realised it was a mistake. He pointed out that divisional commissioners exist in most of the larger states like UP and Bihar. “Removing an existing system without creating a viable alternative is wrong,” he mentioned.
He felt the logic that e-governance had annulled the necessity for regional stage offices was unreasonable. IT purposes will solely enhance the effectivity and never substitute a purposeful workplace on the regional stage, he mentioned. Politicians have a tendency to weaken the RCs by centralising energy, he argued.
However, Vijay Bhaskar, ARC chairman and former Chief Secretary, argued that elevated use of expertise and e-governance instruments and appointment of in-charge secretaries and in-charge ministers had diminished the necessity for supervisory officers. “Things have changed and we need a more agile system with lesser levels of governance,” he mentioned.
“During my recent tour, I found that in a north eastern district, there were only seven shirastedars in the DC office, who were overworked, but the RC office had 20 such officers who had very little work. The DC office will be strengthened and people will benefit if the divisional staff were redeployed there,” he argued.