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By the Way

High and dry

The move to disband the six-decade-old Planning Commission has created a furore among the 500-strong Indian Economic Service (IES) officers. Nobody has thought about what will happen to those working there. In any case, IES officers were already sidelined in the government and they did not have major work in the ministries. Approximately 100 IES officers were working in the Ministry of Planning and they all have to be gainfully deployed. Even promotions will be impacted, as the officers from the defunct Plan panel will have to be placed in ministries, where posts of Joint Secretary and above are considered ‘reserved’, albeit unofficially, for IAS officers. Sources disclosed that IES officers had an internal meeting at Yojana Bhawan to discuss their strategies if, in the worst-case scenario, as many as 100 Plan panel posts get abolished. Even if a part of the Planning Commission is retained, at least 30 to 50 IES officers need to be uprooted from Yojana Bhawan. There is no Chief Economic Adviser to the government for the last four months; he is the cadre controlling authority. So, a cadre created in 1961 whose first batch joined the government in 1968 is finding itself in a peculiar situation after 53 years. The situation is even more worrisome for the last batch which joined the service in 2010.

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