Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi again, strongly underscoring her reservations about the proposed changes in the rules for IAS cadre, which have been further revised. Referring to her letter of last week, she said the Centre has meanwhile "accentuated its stand" and its revised draft is taking the matter to "non-federal extremes". "I find the revised amendment proposal more draconian than the former," she wrote in the two-page letter, contending that its "very grain is against the foundations of our great federal polity".
The government's proposal will enable it to transfer IAS and IPS officers through central deputation, doing away with the requirement of taking the states' approval. Under the revised draft, the officer concerned "will stand released from his/her current assignment forthwith," Ms Banerjee wrote.
The amendment, if carried out, will be like a "Damocles' sword" hanging over the officers and create a "fear psychosis" which will affect their "performance, effectiveness and accountability to the state government", she wrote.
Pointing out that the adverse effects of the change will be "endemic, permanent and irreversible," she added: "Let us not forget that the proposed amendments are very much prone to be misused by the party in power at the Centre... governments and political parties come and go but to weaken this steel frame so immeasurably, indeed to reduce it to putty, dos not bode well for us in the 75th year of our Republic".
Ms Banerjee had written to PM Modi on January 13, urging him not to go ahead with the proposal, pointing out that it would not only affect the administration of states but also make it impossible to assess and plan the administration of states.
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah has also vehemently opposed the proposed changes, tweeting that they will be "another nail" in the coffin of the country's federal structure.
"This would be another nail in the coffin of India's federal structure. How would CM Modi react if PM Modi summarily removed his DG or CS? J&K lost all its powers of appointment in 2019, now it looks like the rest of India's states will go the same way," Mr Abdullah tweeted.