Scheduled caste officers get their due in Bihar

Kanhaiya Bhelari | October 15, 2013



Even as tales of discrimination against SC/ST officers abound at the centre, Bihar presents a different story. Since 2005 when Nitish Kumar came to power, IAS officers from the reserved category have been given their due, posted as they are in important positions.

At least half a dozen SC IAS officers are currently heading important departments as secretaries. They include B Rajendra (rural works department), Deepak Kumar (minor irrigation), Sudhir Kumar (science and technology), SM Raju (SC/ST), S Sidharth (urban development) and KP Ramaiah (commissioner of Tirhut).

Similarly, at the district level, out of total 38 districts, four important ones that included Patna, Siwan, Madhepura and Rohtas are headed by officers of the SC community. The district magistrates in four of the state’s 38 districts – Patna, Siwan, Madhepura and Rohtas – are from the SC community.

ALSO READ: Policy pariahs: why there are so few SC/ST officers in top echelons

Prior to 2005, there were hardly any SC/ST officers in any crucial position. It was Nitish who gave the much-needed push, and also has at least one of the two private secretary from the SCs – S Sidharth earlier, and Atish Chandra now.

“My capability was recognised and used ever since Nitish Kumar came to power in November 2005. Before that, my superiors considered me a useless and lazy officer,” said an IAS officer of 1986 batch from the SC community who did not wish to be named.

In this state, all the three institutions that deal with elections are headed by SC officers. While Ajay Nayak is the chief electoral officer, Hemchand Sirohi and Phool Singh are looking after the state election commission (SEC) and state election authority (SEA) respectively.

SC IPS officers in the state too are better placed than their counterparts in other states. Out of four police zones and 11 police ranges, there is an SC officer each in both. Six districts are headed by SC officers. Besides, the ADG cum OSD, BSPBCC which has financial power for construction of police buildings across the state and the police recruitment wing are headed by SC officers. 

While the SC/ST officers have certainly gained in the Nitish regime, a few officers reached top positions in earlier regimes as well. “It was Lalu Prasad who made Gorakh Prasad Dohre the DGP,” said Jagadanand Singh, an MP from Lalu’s RJD.

Jiyalal Arya served as home secretary, though he credits his track record and not caste for that. According to him, he first became home secretary in 1988, during the Satyendra Narayan Sinha government, and held the post also during the next government headed by Jaganath Mishra.

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