New Delhi: In continuation of its bid to get rid of “corrupt” and “unproductive” government officers, the Narendra Modi dispensation has now decided to crack the whip on more such bureaucrats and also wants a monthly review of “tainted” officers.
Days after forcibly retiring 27 senior officers from the prestigious Indian Revenue Service (IRS), the government has now asked all ministries and Public Sector Units (PSUs) to recommend names of officers every month for premature retirement.
In a letter dated 20 June to the secretaries of all ministries and departments, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has said, “The Ministries/Departments should ensure that the prescribed procedure like forming of opinion to retire a Government employee prematurely in public interest is strictly adhered to, and the decision is not an arbitrary one, and is not based on collateral grounds.”
The DoPT has asked all the ministries to submit reports of officers who they think should be prematurely retired under Fundamental Rule 56(j) (1) and Rule 48 of CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972. Fundamental Rule 56(j) of Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972, provides for compulsory retirement of government staff in public interest.
According to sources, the government could also invoke the rule soon to punish some IAS and IPS officers with “tainted” records — some of who may already be under the scanner.
Rule existed, but rarely used
While the rule always existed, it was rarely been invoked to punish the deadwood or the corrupt in the bureaucracy. But, under the new Modi regime, the rule got an impetus as the government forcibly retired 27 IRS officers from both Income Tax and Customs departments.
These officers were facing charges ranging from corruption and sexual harassment to fraud and illegal use of public office, among other serious allegations.
The DoPT letter comes just days after the Cabinet Secretariat and the Central Vigilance Commission reportedly asked the vigilance heads of various departments to identify officers for compulsory retirement under the same rule.
In its previous term, the Modi government had sought to use the rule strictly, but it is only now in its second term with a bigger mandate that the government is proactively weeding out officers it sees as deadwood.
While some officers who ThePrint spoke to had expressed concerns over the possible misuse of the rule to target bureaucrats seen as inconvenient, most civil servants hailed the crackdown as a welcome step to reform the country’s bureaucracy.