The Punjab government is struggling to spare PCS (Punjab Civil Service) officers for its NRI Sammelan next week. Reason: 150 of the total 288 posts of this cadre are lying vacant.
This more than 50% vacancy in the bureaucracy, which is the state administration's backbone, is not going to be filled up in the financial year ending on March 31.
The 30 PCS officers newly selected by the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) are awaiting their six-month long training, which means that the state would continue to be short of additional deputy commissioners (ADCs), subdivisional magistrates (SDMs), commissioners of corporations and other key officers to run the administration across its 22 districts during the ongoing financial year.
More than 20 SDMs are holding additional charges of other subdivisions, with even some key posts of additional deputy commissioner (ADC, development) held by district development and panchayat officers (DDPOs) or tehsildars.
Five of the six PCS posts are lying vacant in Pathankot, the district carved out of Gurdaspur in 2012 on the demand of the BJP leadership in the Majha area.
In Kapurthala, seven of the 10 PCS posts are lying vacant. In Fazilka district, the slots of the SDM, Fazilka, and the SDM, Abohar, are lying vacant.
The PPSC had recently sought applications to recruit 23 PCS officers under the direct appointment category 'Register-B', while 87 posts are yet to be filled up from among the departmental cadre officers ('Register A' category).
Of these 87 cases, 19 appointments are pending since 2008, 20 from the 2012 lot and 46 from 2013.
Those awaiting appointment as PCS officers from the departments mainly include excise and taxation officers, district development and panchayat officers and block development and panchayat officers.
Nine such prospective cases are from Register-C category, that is, from departments such as education and health.
Of the 138 PCS officers functioning in the state, 27 are holding on to the posts after retirement, most of them on contract for six months.
In the pipeline
The department of personnel has been working on a proposal for the past more than a year to increase the number of PCS posts from the existing 288, considering the newly-carved-out districts such as Pathankot and Fazilka, and corporations such as Bathinda, Hoshiarpur, Phagwara and Mohali, that has taken the number of subdivisions to as high as 90.