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IAS trainees gear up to join Covid-19 fight

May 16, 2020 06:09 AM


IAS trainees gear up to join Covid-19 fight
Deeksha Bhardwaj

New Delhi : A majority of trainee Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers--96 out of 182--left Mussoorie’s Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration for their respective districts by road amid the national lockdown to begin their yearlong field training as assistant collectors. The rest, allotted postings in farther states, are awaiting the resumption of flights to follow suit, officials said.

Trainee officers normally spend about three months at state academies mostly at the beginning of their field training and attend lectures. Officials said due to the unprecedented nature of the Covid-19 pandemic, they are being moved directly to districts.

“Those who could travel by road left last Saturday. The others, who will be travelling to states such as Sikkim, Assam, Telangana, Karnataka and West Bengal, are waiting for flights to resume,” said an official at the Academy.

Some of the 96 officers travelled in cars sent by respective states while others first travelled on 30-seater buses from Mussoorie to Delhi before leaving for their districts.

“There were 15 of us on each bus to ensure social distancing norms,” said a Rajasthan cadre trainee officer. “Once we reached Delhi, seven of us were screened at the Rajasthan House, where we stopped for lunch.” The officer said after that, they took cars and reached Jaipur last Saturday evening. The officer said normally, they have month-long lectures at the state academy. “But this year, we are moving directly to our districts... on Wednesday.”

The officer said he had been in touch with the collector of his district. “My district is in a red zone... We have also had call-ins with various additional secretaries to understand what [our] different roles will entail.” The officer said there was a feeling of apprehension, anxiety and excitement at starting work during the pandemic.

A second trainee officer, who was picked up from the academy, said he reported directly at his district, a Covid-19 hot spot, in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday. “... I went to one of the areas where people had tested positive for Covid-19,” he said.

Those who are still at the academy are brushing up on language skills and getting clued in about the state administrations. “Since many of them are not familiar with the regional languages, they are taking language courses and keeping tabs on the local news,” said the official cited above. ”

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