The central government has recently instructed all its departments and ministries to create a register of government servants within the age bracket of 50 to 55 years and also those who have completed 30 years in service. This has been done in an attempt to ‘unilaterally and prematurely retire’ the ‘corrupt’ and ‘inefficient’ government employees. According to an order issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), all the departments are required to conduct a quarterly review of their employees to know who to retire from the service prematurely.
What the Policy says?
On Friday, the DoPT order said, “It is clarified that premature retirement of government servants under these rules is not a penalty. It is distinct from ‘compulsory retirement,’ which is one of the prescribed penalties under Central Civil Services (Classification, Control, and Appeal) Rules, 1965.”
It clarified that the government could retire any government servant after he/she has attained the age of 50 to 55 years or has completed 30 years of service if they find their conduct not appropriate. The employee performance is conducted under the Fundamental Rule (FR) 56 (J) and 56 (I), and also under Rule 48 (1) (b) of the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972. This gives the authorities an “absolute right” to retire a government servant, “if it is necessary to do so in the public interest.”
The ministry said that it had issued notices for such reviews in the past to ascertain the potential of government workers. The report added, “An effort has been made to review, consolidate and reiterate the guidelines so far issued on the subject at one place.” They also referred to the employees covered under Rule 48 (1) (b) of CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972, and said that their review could be done after they have completed 30 years of service. There are special requirements and provisions for retiring pension in these cases as well. The report also includes a “broad criteria” to be followed by the Review Committee. Lastly, the order also cited the Supreme Court’s rulings on compulsory retirement.
Workers unite in response
Trade bodies like INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF, and UTUC had a meeting on 31 August where they unanimously agreed to reject this move by the Central government. With complete dedication towards their work, they also alleged that they could be prematurely retired based on vague grounds if they get into any conflict with the authorities. The Joint Platform said that if a designated authority picks the employees to be retired, these employees will not even present their case and demand justice. This will promote a ‘pick and choose’ culture, followed by unconditionally following the orders which are not always right.
What the Policy Times Suggest?
- While this is the need of the hour to regulate government jobs and ensure that only hard-working employees are appointed, there should be better provisions for those who feel they are being retired on unfair grounds.
- This order requires better consideration and needs to define the criteria for employee protection as well.
- It is unfair to give the Centre or any in-house authority an absolute power to choose or reject the employees after a certain age.
- This will also create an environment of pleasing the higher authorities, hindering creativity and work ethics.