Jobs of government officials in danger

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Jobs of government officials in danger
Jobs of government officials in danger

New Delhi : The jobs of non performing government officials are in danger as the government has decided to throw them out.

In the last month, 27 senior officials including principal and chief commissioners in the tax department were asked to retire. Several had complaints and corruption cases pending against them.

In one of the cases, a tax official, asked to resign from his post, was booked by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). During a search at his residence, the officials recovered jewellery worth Rs. 2.47 crore, Rs. 16.44 lakh in cash, watches valued at around Rs. 10 lakh, and Rs. 1.30 crore in bank deposits.

In a recent order, the Department of Training and Personnel (DoPT) asked all government departments for monthly reports on the number of officials whose services were ended, and the number whose performance was reviewed.

The order reads: “All ministries/departments shall furnish a report to DoP&T … the 15th day of each month starting from 1st July 2019. Department of Public Enterprises are requested to also compile and countercheck the data with all concerned administrative ministries”

The DoPT reports directly to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and coordinates issues of all central government personnel, especially on issues concerning recruitment, training, career development and retirement.

“The government is serious to get rid of deadwood, especially those officers who have a questionable track record,” said a senior government official who did not want to be identified, explaining the order.

“The government has the right to retire {personnel} if it is necessary to do so in public interest.” Government employment rules allow for periodic review of “performance of Government servants” to ascertain whether the official should be “retained in service or retired from service in public interest.” According to Pension Rules, the review of whether an official is fit to continue to work should happen “six months” before the official attains the age of 50 and 55 years.

The provision for “compulsory retirement” of officials in public interest was first notified by the government in 1969.

“Although the provisions existed, they were rarely used by previous governments,” a second senior official who did not want to be identified said.

Between 1969 and 1989, DoPT reiterated the “provisions of compulsory retirement in public interest” a dozen times through circulars and notifications. Between 1989 and 2014, although the provisions remained, they were never reiterated and rarely used. They were again brought back into circulation through a circular in March 2014. 

“...There is an urgent need to weed out people from the service. And, unless this is done, soon there will be demand from society-at-large against the permanent nature of bureaucracy. In fact, we should think whether this review should happen much earlier in the career of a bureaucrat,” former Secretary DoPT and Chief Information Commissioner Satyananada Mishra said.