Riding high on the elected government’s triumph over the Centre in the battle for the city’s Services Department, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said a major reshuffle of the bureaucracy was on the cards.
Following the Supreme Court verdict, which gave the elected regime the power to make laws and wield control over bureaucrats in the Delhi government departments, Mr. Kejriwal said the officials who had put brakes on his government’s projects over the past one and a half years “will have to pay for their actions”.
Within hours of the statement, orders were issued to replace Secretary of the Services Department, Ashish More, with another official, 1995 batch IAS officer A.K. Singh, said sources.
However, the government did not make any official statement in this regard.
Action against corrupt
Addressing a press conference, the CM said strict action would now be taken against officials found guilty of corruption as the apex court had given the charge of the Vigilance Department to the elected government.
“I couldn’t even suspend an official found taking bribes. The Capital’s development works were stopped for the last eight years. In a way, my hands were tied behind my back, and I was pushed into the river and asked to swim,” Mr. Kejriwal said.
Despite all this, the AAP national convener said the Delhi government had done stellar work in the city over the past eight years.
“Now, we have got a big opportunity. Work will now happen 10 times faster. Earlier, we had responsibility without power, now we have responsibility with power,” the CM said.
Thursday’s Supreme Court verdict will allow for a “responsive, compassionate and accountable government,” he added.
He also said that the government will now consider doing away with “many government posts that are either not required or come in the way of development programmes”. Such posts, he said, will be earmarked.
“They will be either kept vacant or abolished altogether. Wherever more officials are required, posts will be created,” he said.
Senior AAP leader Gopal Rai termed the judgment “a slap on the campaign by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to grab power from the State governments in an unconstitutional manner”.
Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel asserted that works stopped allegedly on the directions of the Lieutenant-Governor will be resumed.
“Officials will now have to appear before House Committees and also reply to queries raised by the MLAs. They have to fall in line. They will have to work properly as the matter of transfers and postings has now come under the Delhi government,” the Speaker said.
“There were no medicines or doctors in mohalla clinics three months ago as the payments were stopped by the Principal Finance Secretary,” Mr. Goel said. He added that senior citizens, who were not getting their pensions for the past four months, will now get the same on time.
Mayor Shelly Oberoi also hailed the Supreme Court verdict. “The final word is here. A huge win for the people of Delhi and Arvind Kejriwal,” she said in a tweet.
(With PTI inputs)