Nearly 30% of the government’s staff strength is past their 50th birthday and would retire within the next decade, a demographic shift that could lead to a decline of experienced manpower.
The pay commission — that profiled the manpower in all departments according to their age — has asked the government to be prepared to bear “unquantifiable costs as new recruits will require training and on the job skills” over the next decade.
The shortage of experienced hands will be particularly acute in certain departments which have a large proportion of personnel in the 50-60 age group. For instance, the textiles ministry will lose 75% of its staffers to retirement, urban development 62%, and the petroleum ministry will end up losing 60%.
Similarly, every second official in the ministries of science and technology, heavy industry, renewable energy and power has crossed 50.
The only exception to this trend is the home ministry, which controls the 9.8 lakh-strong central police forces. It is, by far, the youngest department. Just 7% of police personnel are in the 50-60 age group, primarily due to the massive expansion of the forces over the last two decades.
But the change — that would necessitate massive recruitment over the next decade — would also give the government a fresh opportunity to reorient its requirement of personnel in line with challenges in the future.
A greying bureaucracy comes with its own set of challenges, particularly when the government is trying to put innovation and technology at the heart of its new governance model. With many of them seeing technology as a “black-box”, officers were often tempted to go around technology rather than embrace it.