Days after the first Civil Services Survey projected concerns over the management of the bureaucracy, the government has decided to fast-track the country’s first comprehensive civil service law and put it up for cabinet approval within two months.
The proposed civil service law has been in the works for more than three years.
In its final form, the proposed law would provide a statutory basis for the regulation of civil services including their appointment as well as transfers and posting. “The Department of Personnel and Training is finalising the draft and will be soon sent to the law ministry for vetting… The draft will be ready to go to the Union Cabinet in two months,” Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar said.
Chandrasekhar’s assertion comes in the backdrop of findings of the first government-commissioned Civil Services Survey, first reported by HT, that saw senior officers complaining about political influence and harassment and questioning claims of impartiality in transfers of officers.
Once the law was in place, Chandrasekhar said it would give statutory protection to many scattered rules that govern the bureaucracy.
The Civil Services Performance Standards and Accountability Bill is the first attempt to enact a comprehensive law to regulate the civil services, lay down the code of ethics for the bureaucracy and create an overarching national authority to manage the civil services including their appointment, performance, and tenure of civil servants.
Government officials said a discredited performance appraisal system that was unable to distinguish between poor and good performers lay at the heart of the reforms in the civil service.
This is why it is difficult to reward civil servants who excel in their respective fields and enables the government to push a particular officer on grounds of merit.
By creating a link between the performance of departments against measurable targets to that of the civil servants who run them, the civil service reforms being initiated by the government would address these concerns to a large extent.