I&B Ministry transfers leave Indian Information Service cadre jittery

155 officials transferred since November 2017.

In a major shake-up that began in November 2017, 155 Indian Information Service officials have been transferred out of their current posts.

The rejig was initiated three months after July’s Cabinet reshuffle which saw Smriti Irani taking charge of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B). Sources claim that the sheer number of transfers is unprecedented.

What is unique about the exercise is that Ms. Irani has been meeting officials and personally intimating them of the decision. “Those who are to be transferred are told by the Minister herself. If they have any issues, they can convey it directly to her,” a senior Ministry official said.

The highest number of transfers on a given day was on February 7, when 48 officers were transferred.

Venkaiah Naidu, who preceded Ms. Irani as the I&B Minister, had also articulated the need to transfer officials out of New Delhi for better outreach. However, while he was at the helm, a similar shake-up was not effected.

Of the 155 officials transferred since November 2017, only 15 have been posted outside the capital. The top brass has not been spared in the reorganisation of Ministry personnel.

In the recent spate of transfers, four Director General level officials — the highest post in the service — were transferred, along with 36 Additional Director Generals, and 60 Deputy Directors.

Though Ministry officials maintain that the transfers are to ensure better functioning of the department, it has created internal tension. “None of us know, today whose turn it will be next. There have been instances when a person who is just three or four months away from retirement, has been shunted out to a remote location,” a senior Press Information Bureau (PIB) official said.

Insiders claim that more transfers are in the offing.

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