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IAS officers upto joint secy level in central govt get blanket extension for ‘continuity’




North Block and South Block on Raisina Hill | Manisha Mandal/ThePrint
North Block and South Block on Raisina Hill | Photo: Manisha Mandal | ThePrint

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New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government Tuesday extended the tenures of all IAS and other civil services officers working as deputy secretaries, directors and joint secretaries with the central government up until 30 June 2020.

Sources said the unprecedented decision to hand out a blanket extension to all officers working at this level is to ensure there is continuity in execution of tasks as the country battles the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This is a very crucial time for the government as well as the country,” said a senior official in the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT). “The government needs to be prepared for a long battle in the aftermath of the lockdown, and it cannot afford officers familiar with the tasks at hand leaving, and new one replacing them…That is why such a blanket step has been taken.”

The decision was communicated through an office memorandum issued on 7 April.

“The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the extension of tenure (except on completion of tenure/extended tenure on superannuation) of all the officers working as Deputy Secretary/Director/Joint Secretary or an equivalent level (appointed under the Central Staffing Scheme) and completing their regular/extended tenure between the period 25.03.2020 to 30.04.2020 for a period up to 30.06.2020, or until further orders, whichever is earlier,” reads the memorandum. ThePrint has seen a copy of the document.

The official quoted above said the decision has been taken only up till the joint secretary level since there are lots of cases of superannuation at the additional secretary and secretary levels, and the government does not want to include them in the blanket extensions just yet.

Also read: Why Indian banks could make the Covid-19 economic crisis only worse

Govt wants ministries to come up with after-lockdown plans

With the 21-day nationwide lockdown being expected to end on 14 April, all ministries have been asked to come up with plans on the course of action to be taken once the lockdown ends.

“Right now, there is a lot of focus on how to restart after the lockdown is over,” said another DoPT official. “At such a time, there has to be continuity.”

“Also, in case there is phased lifting of the lockdown, with some people still working at home and all, it would be doubly hard to have new people take over…So this move was much needed — at a time like this routines and protocols can be suspended with in the interest of the country,” the official added.

Also read: Aap chronology samajhiye: Did Modi buckle under Trump’s pressure on HCQ for COVID-19?



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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’




doctor with a stethoscope
A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay

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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”

Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot

‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.

Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


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