By Vivek Shukla
For the last one decade there has been a large number of positive changes in Uttar Pradesh. The brand UP has got much stronger. However, in last one year at least six IAS officers have sought and got voluntary retirement from one of the most powerful all India services. The latest in the list is Rigzin Samphel, a 2003 batch officer, whose VRS application has been approved within a month. Rigzin had submitted his application early this month on medical grounds. He is among rare officers who had served in the offices of both – Akhilesh Yadav and Yogi Adityanath – before going for an inter cadre transfer to his home state Jammu & Kashmir in 2018. Four other IAS officers include Renuka Kumar (1987 batch), Juthika Patankar (1988 batch), Vidya Bhushan (2008 batch) and Vikas Gothwal (2003 batch)
Left IAS on pretext of personal reason, took up corporate assignment
There are several instances in the past that officers cited personal reasons for quitting the service but took up lucrative assignments in corporate. One such officer is Vikas Gothwal, a 2003 batch IAS. He quit the service last year to offer consultancy services. Gothwal had applied for VRS while on study leave in United Kingdom last year. A scholar of Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford University, Gothwal's Linkedin profile shows him as a freelance consultant in the field of public policy, public health, organization design, procurement and skill development.
Another officer Vidya Bhushan, a 2008 batch officer, quit services this year in March on medical ground. A native of Bihar, Bhushan is now working as a senior consultant strategy, learning and business development at Civil Service College in London. Bhushan's last assignment with UP government was as the managing director of Purvanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Limited (PUVVNL). Bhushan is the only officer who has taken VRS without completing 20 years of service as under the new service rules, there is no pension for officer joining after January 1, 2004. His wife, Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Alankrita Singh, was suspended by the state government on the charge of negligence in duty and indiscipline in April 2022 when she went abroad without taking due permission from the state government.
According to Bhushan's Linkedin profile, he is academically sound with degrees in mechanical engineering and statistics before acquiring a post graduate degree in International Environment Law from National Law University, Delhi.
Two IAS took VRS during central deputation
Renuka Kumar, a 1987 batch officer took voluntary retirement after she was suddenly repatriated from central deputation to her home cadre. When her services were called back to Uttar Pradesh, she was serving as secretary, minority affairs. Her husband Sunil Kumar, also a 1987 batch officer was also on central deputation. He is still serving s secretary panchayatiraj. People in top bureaucracy say that she preferred taking VRS rather than joining as additional chief secretary in Uttar Pradesh. Also, she wanted to stay with her husband who will retire in October this year while she would have retired last month.
Another officer Juthika Patankar, a 1998 batch officer took VRS in September 2022 while serving as the secretary Central Information Commission (CIC) on central deputation. She was to retire in January 2024 but decided an early exit for no cited reasons. Before leaving for central deputation in 2018, she was serving as principal secretary to Governor. During her service she had been thrice on central deputation – 1995-2002, 2006-2013 and then finally from 2018-2022. In her entire career she had served as district collector only once in Rampur district for little more than a year.
Meanwhile, the most high profile exit of UP cadre officer was that of 1993 batch Rajeev Aggarwal, who quit the service in 2019 to first join Uber and then moved to head Facebook as director of public policy. Aggarwal has over 26 years of experience as an Indian Administrative Officer (IAS) and worked as a District Magistrate in nine districts across Uttar Pradesh.
During his tenure as an administrative officer, Aggarwal steered India's first ever national policy on Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) as Joint Secretary in the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade and was instrumental in the digital transformation of India's IP offices. People say that Aggarwal had recived a pay packet of over Rs 3 crore on joining Uber was back in 2019. He had earlier worked as joint secretary in the department of industrial policy and promotion.
Shortage of IAS officers in Uttar Pradesh
There is a shortage of IAS officers in Uttar Pradesh – the largest populated state in the country. There are 75 districts in the state and the sanctioned cadre strength is 622 against which only 522 officers are appointed -16% less than the required strength. If young officers keep on vacating the postings, services in the state will hamper badly.
Why officers are quitting IAS
There are several reasons why officers quit service like IAS. One of them is the annulment of pension, which has been a big drawing factor for government jobs. The government has discontinued the pension facility from January 1, 2004. Officers believe that they would be better off at retirement when they work in corporate or private sector. Moreover IAS officers have great exposure of multi-national companies while working with them closely on private public partnership projects. While working itself, they get lucrative offers from these companies and they quit government jobs.
Apart from that, there have been some instances when officers could not gel with the political dispensation and they quit to buy peace of mind
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