File photo: Arunachal CM Pema Khandu. Photograph:( Twitter )
Every state in the Indian federal structure should and must be allowed to realise its potential to the fullest.
A strong and sustained push is being made by Arunachal Pradesh’s Chief Minister Pema Khandu for a separate cadre.
Arunachal Pradesh is a strategic state with a long boundary with China, Bhutan and Myanmar which is roughly around 1800 km. It is the biggest state and most abundant in natural resources.
The state today is clubbed with UT cadre officers who also work in Union Territories and states like Goa and Mizoram. The argument is that the projects get either stalled or abandoned midway because officers who are piloting them get transferred.
The culture of the state and its tribal traditions too require a deeper understanding of the administration. The lack of continuity directly impacts the developmental schemes in the state. It even adds to lack of institutional memory of the officers as they are frequently transferred in and out of the state. The dedicated cadre creates an attachment with the state which in turn helps effective implementation of schemes.
It is not as if smaller states do not have a cadre. Sikkim, Manipur and Tripura have separate cadre and it has helped states develop well. Indian Frontier Administrative Service functioned till 1968. It was subsequently merged with the Indian Administrative Service. AP was created in 1987 but continues under the AGMUT cadre and has dedicated 42 officers.
Moreover, it is not as people have not demanded a separate cadre or parties have kept silent on it. On October 1, 2019, BJP state executive meeting passed the resolution for separate cadre for the second time apart from one already passed by all party MLAs in the legislative sessions. Time has come to accommodate special need of the North-East. The proposal for a second time zone could not pass muster because of administrative hassles and lack of political will.
AP can be given a separate cadre to resolve its unique developmental aspirations. Time has come that it should not be treated as a place for "punishment posting". It is not as if there are no sincere bureaucrats in UT cadre but every state in the Indian federal structure should and must be allowed to realise its potential to the fullest.