Govt reshuffle pushed to July end

The Government of Nagaland is to affect the biggest administrative reshuffle in years by the last week of July next and expecting the exercise to be complete by the first week of August, it is informed. The latest that that the Morung Express was being informed was the much anticipated and long awaited reshuffle has once again been postponed. Earlier it was reported that the transfer and posting of the middle rung bureaucracy would finally materialize once the elections results to the Aonglenden Assembly Constituency was out.  
However, government officials said today, so-called “our pressure groups” – a deceptive euphemism for ministers, MLAs and politicians who lobby and pressurize – are proving more than a hurdle against carrying out the reshuffle. Aside from the delay caused by a string of geopolitical exercises such as the Census 2011 exercise, electoral motions such as the recent Mokokchung by-polls and electoral specifics, politicians and other high honchos in Nagaland are applying pressure, government leaders said today.    
Every administrative officer from deputy commissioners down to administrative unit heads such as extra assistant commissioners and divisional officers across the state would be ‘reshuffled,’ highly placed government sources said today. When contacted, Chief Secretary of Nagaland Lalthara said that the reshuffle exercise would begin by the end of July. He said a number of government engagements such as the recent census drive, the Aonglenden-26 assembly constituency by-elections and the meeting of the Nagaland chief minister with the Planning Commission of India to finalize Nagaland’s Plan Outlay for fiscal 2011-2012. These delayed the envisaged reshuffle, he said.
In fact, he said, the latest is the Election Commission of India requesting the state to defer or “prepone” (bring to earlier date) any transfer or posting of officers for the ongoing Electoral Photo Identity Card and Photo Electoral Roll drive. Therefore, he said the reshuffle would not be this month or the next but commence by the last week of July. Queried on the expected timeframe of completion, he said the reshuffle process would be completed expectedly by the beginning of August.  
Queried if there are any other factor aside from major government engagements delaying the reshuffle, Lalthara admitted there is “pressure” from politicians.
He said that the pressure is quite frustrating. “In fact, some members in the civil service boards even say that there is no point in meeting over such matter. ‘Let the politicians decide; no use of the civil boards. There are too many hands (in the broth),” Lalthara admitted.   
Nonetheless, the chief secretary said that the focus is on successfully completing the ongoing drive for issuing Electoral Photo Identity Card (or ‘EPIC’) and the Photo Electoral Roll. Buoyed by the success of the Census 2011 operations the chief secretary expressed optimism that the drive would be as successful as the census drive.
The Morung Express also contacted the Nagaland Governor’s office. A senior aide to the Governor informed that no exchanges with the state government have taken place as yet over the matter of reshuffling the state administration. The matter would be with the chief minister’s office for now, the Governor’s aide informed.
‘Uncles, brothers and Best Friends’
Further, an interaction with another senior government official threw up interesting facts about dealings in the government over the reshuffle. According to a senior government official, who requested anonymity, the State kept postponing the administrative ‘reshuffle’ at regular intervals because of major government applications.
However, a major contributor to the delay is pressure from local ministers, MLAs and politicians, the source disclosed.  “It (administrative reshuffle) is a massive exercise but too many cooks spoil the process,” the official said. “Even when the process is not complete, MLAs, ministers etc come and say ‘I want this officer posted here and posted  there; this is my friend, my uncle, my family member or my best friend so I want him posted in Kohima, in Dimapur etc.’ They pressure so much,” the  government official said in exasperation.