The personal staff of senior civil servants will be the first to be put under the government’s scanner as part of its plan to identify and sack inefficient, corrupt babus to cleanse the bureaucracy.
Under a six decade-old rule that has only been occasionally invoked, the Centre had earlier this month ordered all departments to review the performance of employees who have put in 30-years of service.
Central secretariat stenographers service (CSSS) officials — who serve in the personal staff of senior civil servants and ministers — would be the first set of officers to be reviewed.
This process is expected to begin next month.
But this implies that the subordinate services are going to be first on the firing line under Fundamental Rule 56 (J) that empowers the Centre to boot out employees after issuing a notice.
Shekhar Singh, an academic who also lectures civil servants, says this was not the right way to start.
The proportion of employees who may need to be removed may be larger at the lower level for a variety of reasons including the fact that there were no incentives for them to perform.
“But the right way to start is from the top because it is only then that you have the moral authority,” said Singh, adding that it was equally important that the process to review the performance should be completely independent.
KKN Kutty, president of the Confederation of Central Government Employees, agreed.
Kutty said they were supportive of the government’s initiative to removal employees who had earned a dubious reputation over decades in service as far as corruption was concerned.
But he was cagey about public servants being removal on grounds of inefficiency, which left too much to the discretion.
In both cases, it would be advisable to go by the employees’ complete service record rather than just the last few years, he said, hoping that the government has learnt from its experiences in the past.
Kutty, president of the Confederation of Central Government Employees, recalled that a similar exercise undertaken in the eighties by then finance minister VP Singh got caught in legal wrangles because the power was not exercised impartially.