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Ending Reemployment

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  12 Aug 2015 12:00 AM GMT

The one piece of good news to have emated from Dispur in a long time is that the government has decided to do away with reappointments of officers. This welcome decision should have been and could have been taken decades ago considering the rank unfairness of announcing the retirement age of government employees and then, at the end of their service term, reappointing them for another term of two or three years. The unfairness, of course, is to other officers lower down the line, whose career prospects are seriously affected by the government’s decision to retain officers who reach the age of superannuation for a few more years through reappointments. Apart from merely causing disappointment, this practice of reappointing retired officers demoralizes officers lower down the line and seriously affects their competence. One fails to understand how a government, that clearly stipulates the retiring age of appointees at the time of their appointment can suddenly and arbitrarily decide to jettison such stipulations and to make special provisions for just a few selected officers and give them a longer term of service. However, this unfortute practice has gone on for decades together without anyone raising serious objections to violations of norms accepted by appointees as well as the general public. The common ratiolization for resorting to the practice of reappointments (despite periodic announcements that there will be no such reappointments) can be attributed mainly to nepotism and the ability of senior officers to give the impression to the political executive that they are indispensable and that it would not be possible for replacements to them to be found in a hurry. This generally happens in respect of officers in the Fince department and those handling fince in other departments. Quite often such reappointments are made on an ad hoc basis without any prior approvals. Over the years, the general impression has been created that there are some jobs in government offices that can be performed only by very gifted officers who, therefore, cannot be replaced without serious detriment to the functioning of the government. This is often clear hogwash because given the clear instructions in government manuals and an IQ of around 120 there is no mode of functioning in government offices that cannot be handled by or learned by any government officer. While the decision to do away with reappointments is most welcome, the government seems to have kept the door to such reappointments open. The office memorandum indicating the abolishing of reemployment has indicated that there will not be any reemployment by government departments at any level, except with the prior approval of the Cabinet in exceptiol circumstances and in public interest. Such reappointments would have to be recommended by the government’s high level scrutiny committee. If the government really means business it should dispense with such exceptions. What is often overlooked is that a government officer generally has about 33 years of service. This can get extended to about 36 years. The extension can sometimes be in the form of acceptance of the officer concerned as a consultant, in which case, the fincial benefits are a good deal better. For this to happen, a senior bureaucrat has to be on very good terms with his political bosses. However, reemployment of officers these days can happen for other reasons as well. One is that with the increasing number of uneducated ministers, bureaucrats are getting to be very helpful to them in acquiring real estate for them in metropolitan cities and making profitable investments. The other is that bureaucrats get to know too much about the shady deals of some ministers and it is safer to reward them with extensions in service. In such cases, the payment for services rendered earlier is also taken care of by the exchequer instead of the political executive having to do so from his own funds.

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