Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda recently raised the retirement age of the state government employees from 58 to 60. While the CM, who has been in power since 2005, made the announcement with just weeks to go for the assembly elections, age was never a hurdle for “favourites” of his regime during its nine-year rule.
The state government allowed scores of chosen employees to continue in their posts after superannuation by giving them re-employment in a “pick-and-choose” manner. While many retirees have been accommodated in boards, corporations and state-run societies, the state council of ministers granted re-employment to dozens of retired employees of different levels (Class 1 to 4) in the government departments during this period.
In three cabinet meetings last month, six people, including special secretaries of the chief minister and the public works department minister, were granted post-retirement re-employment or extension in re-employment. While one special secretary had retired from the government service three years ago on superannuation at the age of 58, the other one had retired on May 31, 2013.
In one cabinet meeting in 2010, 10 of the 50-odd agenda items put up before the council of ministers for approval were related to post-retirement re-employment on contract or extension of re-employment for further periods in the same posts, according to official documents. In some cases, retired persons were re-employed or given extension and then their cases were put up before the council of ministers for ex-post-facto approval.
Similarly, a number of retired persons were granted re-employment in different agencies in the past few years. “The re-employment in boards and societies did not require approval from the cabinet,” a government official said. While IAS officers were given sinecure posts in different commissions after superannuation earlier, HCS officers, non-state civil service officers, doctors, private secretaries, clerks and peons have been re-employed in their posts in the past few years.
The re-employment, according to sources, was granted without following any set procedure and norms, giving due publicity and maintaining transparency in selection procedure. “Though Punjab Civil Services Rules did not provide for re-employment of a government employee who gets superannuation pension, the state government had in 1990 allowed extension in service or re-employment in exceptional cases with the approval of the state cabinet.
The authorities were required to follow laid-down procedures and norms, and avoid a pick-and-choose policy,” a senior officer said, quoting the norms adopted by the state government in April 1975. In several cases, the retired persons were re-employed on the “recommendation” of bureaucrats or ministers.
Besides, a number of them were working in the state civil secretariat, close to the seat of power. There are several instances where some persons got re-employed in the same posts for three to seven years after their retirement, getting extension year after year.
“Keeping in view his efficiency, usefulness and experience, the chief minister has decided to re-employ him on the same post,” read the memorandum put up before the state cabinet in one of the meetings for re-employment of a retired peon for one more year.
In health department, three eligible directors were available for the post of director general of health services, but an additional post of DGHS was created to re-employ the retiring director general. Similarly, several persons were re-employed in general administration, transport, animal husbandry, home, public health engineering, excise and taxation, administrative reforms, administration of justice departments etc. after superannuation.