Andhra Pradesh: Chief Secretary, CMO differ on issues

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Though the Chief Secretary and the CMO (Chief Minister’s Office) play key roles in state administration, each has its one-upmanship games.

Vijayawada: It is becoming glaringly obvious to bureaucrats that the Chief Secretary’s position has been reduced to an ineffective,  shadowy figure.
All the important decisions are carried out by the CMO without consulting the Chief Secretary. Even some of the GO’s are brought to his notice only after they  are issued!

Bureaucrats opined that Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu himself encouraged this culture as he wanted the Chief Secretary to be a waxwork figure, without power or authority.  The objections to the Swiss Challenge, shifting of the Secretariat, and other works had brought these differences to the limelight, reducing the  Chief Secretary’s position to that of a statue.

Though the Chief Secretary and the CMO (Chief Minister’s Office) play key roles in the state administration, each has its one-upmanship games. The Chief Minister picks his favorite senior officer as his Chief Secretary. So generally, the CS gets along with the Chief Minister. So too, in the CMO, the Chief Minister picks loyal and close aides to achieve his objectives.

The CMO plays a key role in every decision of the Chief Minister and this is where differences arise. Sometimes the CMO takes certain political decisions which might not be acceptable to the CS, but this happens rarely. After the state bifurcation, the differences are more between the CS and the CMO.

The shifting of the Secretariat had led to differences of opinion between the CS and the CMO. There was strong political influence on the CMO to shift  the Secretariat even before the completion of construction, while the CS objected to this. Finally, the shifting has been completed as per the CMO’s decision leading to the troubles. Even in amending the Andhra Pradesh Infrastructure and Development Enabling Act (APIDE) for the Swiss Challenge, the CMO allowed it while the CS had objected to it.

The CMO even interfered in the nominated work allotment in irrigation projects, which the CS did not approve of. From then on, the CMO is acting independently almost in all decisions to favour the ruling party, said an officer.

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