Lucknow: The Modi government has made headlines for forcibly retiring IRS officers for a laundry list of alleged offences, including corruption, but a similar drive in Uttar Pradesh saw the Yogi Adityanath administration penalise over 600 government officials in its first year.
Between March 2017 and 2018, the state administration retired at least 201 officials, and took “strict action” — immediate transfer, suspension and promotion bar — against another 417 for alleged corruption and inefficiency, a government document accessed by ThePrint shows.
The document lists punishments dished out until 19 March 2018, when the Yogi Adityanath government completed a year in office.
Sources in the UP government said this was the “biggest action against corrupt officials” taken by “any government”, adding another 400 officials were under the administration’s scanner.
The crackdown, the sources added, might also see action against “corrupt ministers”, including those accused of using “transfers as a source of earning”.
According to the sources, over the course of several meetings in Lucknow last month to review the implementation of government schemes, the CM directed all district administrations “to identify and fire corrupt officials”.
Electricity department bears the brunt
The government document accessed by ThePrint includes a department-wise list for officials affected by the crackdown.
At 169, the electricity department accounted for the highest number of officials subjected to “strict action”, followed by the state transport department (37).
Meanwhile, 51 employees above the age of 50 (those who turned 50 by 3 March 2017) from the UP home department were forced to retire, according to the document. In the revenue department, 36 officials were given compulsory retirement.
While service rules stipulate that an officer above the age of 50 can be given compulsory retirement without any reason following a three-month-long notice, this provision was never invoked under previous governments in the state.
Other departments touched by the crackdown included basic education (26), panchayati raj (25), Public Works Department (18), labour (16), institutional finance (16), commercial tax (16), entertainment tax (16), rural development (15), and forest department (11).
Crackdown to get bigger
After assuming charge of the state in March 2017, Adityanath had announced that corrupt and non-performing officials would be penalised or asked to retire.
“This action (the retirement and other punishments) was taken after the setting up of a screening committee in 2017 headed by the chief secretary, shortly after the government was formed, and all department heads were asked to conduct a screening exercise,” said a senior UP government official.
The UP government also sought to project its zero-tolerance policy against corruption in June, during the aforementioned review meetings called by the CM.
After one of the review meetings with representatives of the UP home department, the state police were asked to provide a list of inefficient and corrupt officers.
“The official who does not take interest in working is a burden and a blot on the police uniform, they should be given voluntary retirement,” an official UP government statement issued after the meeting quoted Adityanath as saying.
The CM also asked officials to prepare a list of officers and employees who were involved in any “illegal transaction or corruption at any level in the department”.