The UPA government might give Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrashekhar another extension but retirement age of the government employees will not increase.
Chandrashekhar, who was appointed as Cabinet Secretary on 14 June, 2007 and had got two extensions thereafter, may get another extension of few months, the period in which the government will select his replacement.
His tenure ends on June 13 and there is a norm that the new Cabinet Secretary joins the secretariat as an Officer on Special Duty at least a month before the incumbent is to retire. "His (Chandrashekhar) extension will provide continuity and a chance for the new officer to get trained," a senior government official said.
The term of the Cabinet Secretary is for two years, which can be extended by another year. When Chandrashekhar got extension in last June the government said the term can be increased to four years in public interest.
According to government sources, Department of Personnel and Training Secretary Alka Sirohi, Bihar Chief Secretary Anup Mukerjee and secretary in Cabinet Secretariat Ajit Kumar Sethi are among the front-runners for the country's top bureaucratic post.
In a totally unrelated development, a Committee of Secretaries (CoS) has decided against a proposal to extend retirement age of the Central government employees from 60 to 62 years.
The proposal that could have benefited one lakh central government employees and 50,000 defence personnel was mooted to check the government's rising salary bill and as paying salary costs less than paying pension benefits including gratuity.
It would have meant an annual saving of about Rs 5,000 crore, officials said.
But, the committee decided not to increase the retirement age following stiff resistance from the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), which said it would affect careers of IAS officers at additional secretary and joint secretary level. "They may not get a chance to become secretary government of India," an official said.
It was the NDA government which increased the retirement age from 58 to 60 in 1998 that benefited about 1.40 lakh personnel from the central government and defence services.