New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government has prepared a list of 284 officers from the Central Secretariat Service (CSS) to be considered for compulsory retirement on account of alleged corruption or inefficiency.
The list of officers compiled by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) includes those posted across ministries such as defence (19), home affairs (18), finance (18) and health (22) among others.
According to sources in the DoPT, the list will be examined by a review committee headed by the cabinet secretary at the end of this month. A final decision will be taken on the officers whose services are to be terminated.
The development comes just days after the government forcibly retired 22 officers from the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) on charges of corruption under Fundamental Rule 56 (J). The government had earlier this year retired 27 IRS officers.
The CSS Group ‘A’ is an administrative civil service in the country that has a cadre strength of over 2,200 officers starting from the under secretary level up to the deputy secretary, director, joint secretary and additional secretary levels.
While officers from the IAS, IPS, and IFS constitute the All India Services and can be posted either in their state cadres or the Centre, those from the CSS constitute the Central Secretariat and remain on central postings throughout their careers. For this reason, they are termed the “permanent bureaucracy” and are responsible for providing continuity in governance.
49 IRS officers retired this year
Since regaining power, the Modi government has repeatedly emphasised on its plans to rid the bureaucracy of corrupt and inefficient officials.
Soon after coming to power for the second time, the BJP-led NDA government retired 27 high ranking IRS officers, including 12 from the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), on charges of corruption, sexual harassment and abuse of power among others.
In June, after retiring senior IRS officers from the service, the government asked all ministries and public sector undertakings (PSUs) to recommend names of officers every month for premature retirement under Fundamental Rule 56(j) (1) and Rule 48 of CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972.
Fundamental Rule 56(j) of the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972, provides for compulsory retirement of government staff in public interest.
As many as 22 more IRS officers were retired in August.
In his Independence Day address to the nation, PM Modi reiterated his government’s tough approach towards corruption by government officials.
‘Why not IAS, IPS officers?’
While the government has already acted against almost 50 officers from the IRS, and 284 from the CSS are under the scanner now, there is no word on review of officers from the powerful IAS and IPS under FR 56 (j) yet. This has led some officials in the government, who are not from these services, to believe that officers from the IAS and IPS are using their clout to protect their own.
“Why is there no retirement from IAS, IPS and IFS?” asked a senior IRS officer. “Surely, they are not so virtuous that none among them are corrupt or inefficient… As expected, they are protecting their own.”