The Union government has asked all departments to nominate officers to act as Rath Prabharis or special officers, who will be expected to advertise and promote the achievements of the government over the past nine years. The Opposition Congress asked how civil servants could be asked to do such pre-poll “political propaganda” for the government.
The officers, including those from the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), will showcase the achievements of the government upto the panchayat-level as part of a Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra, which will run from November 20, 2023 to January 25, 2024.
The October 17 letter, which the Department of Personnel and Training and the Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare sent to all departments, said that the Yatra was proposed to be organised across the country for “disseminating information, awareness and extending services at Gram Panchayat level.” It added that, “in order to coordinate for the preparations, planning, execution, monitoring of the Rath Yatra”, the government has decided to deploy Joint Secretaries, Directors, and Deputy Secretaries as Rath Prabharis.
The Hindu has confirmed that the communication was sent to all government departments.
One such letter, which was sent to the Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, was shared by Congress leader Pawan Khera on X (formerly Twitter). “How can civil servants be ordered to do political propaganda for a government going into elections? IAS officers will be ‘Rath Prabharis’,” he posted.