Government employees to get reviewed at 50, says DoPT
It is time for Indian bureaucrats to remember school. Or rather, that cold and terrible sweat before exam results.
The performance of those who have either completed 30 years in service or reach 50 years of age, whichever comes earlier, will be reviewed, according to a recent Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) order. Those who get negative reviews will be given a three-month notice to retire.
The DoPT, headed by PM Narendra Modi, has decided to let go of non-performing officers and those with suspect integrity by giving them compulsory premature retirement.
Whenever the services of a public servant are no longer useful to the general administration, the officer can be compulsorily retired for the sake of public interest, said the DoPT circular. For better administration, it is necessary to chop off the dead wood.
The relationship of the NDA government with its employees has seen ups and downs. This is not the first time that the government has sighted rules to ensure transparency. Earlier, the government had amended the All India Service (conduct) Rules, 1968, to include a 19-point guideline for bureaucrats which mandates that they maintain 'political neutrality' and 'take decisions solely in public interest', among other clauses.
Detailed instructions have been issued for reviewing the quarterly performance of officers. The DoPT cited various Supreme Court observations for assessment of such cases. On integrity, the circular quoted the SC: "The officer would live by reputation built around him. In an appropriate case, there may not be sufficient evidence to take punitive disciplinary action of removal from service. But his conduct and reputation is such that his continuance would be a menace to public service and injurious to public interest."
Sighting FR 56(j), the rule pertaining to compulsory retirement, the order has asked every department to set up a two-member review committee which will screen officers and employees based on the internal feedback and yearly appraisal reports.
For Group A officers, secretaries of departments would head review committees. The Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) of departments will mark cases where the record reflected adversely on the integrity of the gazetted officer. The CVOs are an extension of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC ). The Government of India has about 45 laky employees.
For reviews, the entire service record will be considered, DoPT said. An officer could also be appraised on the basis of how she dealt with files or by delving into other documents and reports prepared and submitted by her. The instructions from Cabinet Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha also underlined the need for rotating officers working in sensitive and nonsensitive posts.
Our government has always believed in transparency. The PM has assured minimum government and maximum governance. This circular is a step in that direction, minister for department of personnel and training Jitendra Singh said. "It is a welcome step, this will help cleanse the system and ensure that those who have been misusing the system. It is necessary for the government to ensure periodic reviews," said BJP MP and former home secretary RK Singh.
"It is a welcome step by the government. Now the deserving and hard-working will get a chance to get ahead rather than those serving political masters. It will give us an incentive to perform and even go against politicians if the latter want to pressurise us to do something wrong," said a senior Haryana IAS officer posted in Rohtak, requesting anonymity.
But the review needs to be done regularly, say after every ten years. At 50 years, if some officer is let go for wrong conduct, it is hardly a punishment as he or she has had the best of time.