Deadwood in the Indian bureaucracy will not be able to clog the government any longer. The Centre has notified a rule making it compulsory for IAS, IPS and officers from other all-India services to retire in “public interest” if they fail to clear a review after 15 years of service.
Officers adjudged as inefficient and non-performing will be shown the door and even those who make the cut will need to remain on their toes as they face another review after 25 years of service or on turning 50, whichever happens first.
Central services to be covered under the new rule include Indian Revenue Service, Indian Forest Service, Indian Information Service and Indian Custom & Central Excise Service among others that are grouped as all-India services.
The measure is part of a package of administrative reforms fast-tracked by the government in the wake of Gandhian Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption agitation that forced UPA-II to shore up its governance credentials. The clean-up act follows initiatives to ensure time-bound delivery of services and a citizens’ charter to list duties of various departments.
Along with the recent Supreme Court-mandated three-month timeframe for the government to deal with a request for sanction for prosecution and the court sanctifying a private citizen’s plea for prosecution, the compulsory review can instill some sense of responsibility in an officialdom often accused of callousness.
Government has also over the last two years asked ministries to sign up to targets at the start of the year that are evaluated and graded after a 12-month period.
The ministry of personnel, which regulates service conditions of bureaucrats, has on January 31 notified changes in All India Services (Death-cum-Retirement Benefits) Rules empowering the government to enforce early retirement of bureaucrats after a mandatory ‘review’.
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The performance review will include appraisal of the entire service record of an officer “regarding suitability or otherwise” for further retention in the service. The new rule, however, spares officers who are asked to quit from losing post-retirement benefits, including pension for life.
The new rules say: “The Central government may, in consultation with the state government concerned, require a member of the service to retire from service in public interest, after giving such member at least three month’s previous notice in writing or three month’s pay and allowances in lieu of such notice”.
The rule specifies such a notice may be issued “after the review when such member completes 15 years of qualifying service or after the review when such member completes 25 years of qualifying service or attains the age of 50 years, as the case may be”.
It, however, added that the government may conduct such review at any other time as it deems fit, if such review is not conducted earlier.
The new rule is a departure from the old ones which talked about performance review only after 30 years of service. Earlier, the government was empowered to compulsorily retire any officer at any stage only if s/he is convicted for a crime or if the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) imposes a penalty of compulsory retirement.
Conviction and CVC’s penalty clauses will remain unchanged under the new rule that has been introduced following certain recommendations made by the second Administrative Reforms Commission.
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