The government was urged on Wednesday to lay down a ‘cooling off period’ for retired civil servants and senior officials to prevent them from seeking immediate re-employment in the private sector.
This will prevent civic officials from immediately joining a private firm post-retirement, preventing misuse of the office when they are in service, members in the Lok Sabha said.
The issue was raised by SP Muddahanume Gowda of Congress and Kalyan Banerjee from Trinamool Congress (TMC) during Question Hour. Banerjee and Gowda directed their queries in this regard at Minister of State (MoS) for Jitendra Singh.
Banerjee said the existing mechanism was flawed. “Experience speaks that after retirement, not only the bureaucrats but even judicial officers go to the tribunals. Who are these bureaucrats? They are bureaucrats at the point of time in the government, they are the favoured bureaucrats. This is not functioning,” he said.
Congress member Godwa said: “Sometimes, we have seen that the officials take decisions causing burden to the exchequer of the country to help private companies and immediately after retirement, they are re-employed by such private companies.”
MoS (PMO) Jitendra Singh in reply said the concern raised by members was “well taken” by the government.
Singh said:”This is already a matter of concern. The government is considering it. In fact, there already exists a ‘cooling off period’. In case an officer wants to get employed or get engaged in the private sector, he not only has to complete one year post-superannuation, he is also expected to seek permission from the government.”
He asserted that in such cases it is “the prerogative of the government to give permission or not”.
Singh further admitted that “it is an issue of debate” both inside Parliament and outside on what should be the parameters for post-retirement appointments of bureaucrats.
He said it is true that often “extraneous considerations and political considerations”, as mentioned by the members, do creep in.
“I think, this is something which requires a larger consensus and all of us can help reach it,” he said adding that the government has already taken up the matter.
“We are always moving in the direction of constant evolution and constant improvement to make the working and the system and the mechanism of appointments more impartial and less affected by nepotism and favouritism,” Singh said.