In an age when good governance and fast decisions matter most, the Maharashtra government is facing an acute shortage of the high-level officers.
A General Administration Department (GAD) report says the respective departments are to be blamed for a staggering 24 per cent shortage in the Group A (Class I) as they didn’t ask the Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) to initiate direct recruitment process.
The report, a copy of which is with HT, says that 6801 Group A posts need to be filled at the earliest. Most of the vacancies are for posts of deputy collector, tehsildar, deputy superintendent of police, sales tax officer and chief executive officer. These are the gazetted officers who form the backbone of state machinery. The vacancies are up to August 31, 2006.
The report states that MPSC could not conduct examinations in 2005 and 2006 due to lack of demand. “The MPSC chairman has listed seven departments like revenue and forests, finance, urban development, home, cooperation/textiles, rural development/water resources and GAD (it sent the demand letter in November 2006) for not furnishing recruitment demand.”
In view of this, the state has formed a committee under Chief Secretary DK Sankaran. The committee has recommended certain measures, the prominent being authority for departments for one-year contractual recruitment. It has also asked for formation of sub-committee comprising Additional CS of Home, GAD and Finance.
When asked, Sankaran said he was in a meeting and could comment later.
Currently, the 26 departments have sanctioned strength of 27,988. In fact, other service groups too face crunch but not as massive as Group A. Group B has 18.87 per cent vacancies, Group B 13.3 and Group D 16.29. The overall percentage comes at 14.48.
The local self-governments like Zilla Parishad and municipal councils also face the similar problem. But their gap is not more than six per cent. Most of the Group A and B officers in the local self-governments are appointed on deputation from the state government.
Though the finance department had restricted recruitments in 1998 due to poor resources, there was no restriction on direct recruitment of gazetted officers. A recruitment scam in MPSC also stalled recruitment process to certain extent but it had come to normalcy some two years ago.
The report deals at length with man-made reasons for creating vacancies. According to it, the main reason for Group A and B vacancies is leniency on part of the respective departments.
Every department needs to furnish the staff requirement as against sanctioned posts to MPSC. Most of these departments haven’t done this and even if they furnished their demand they committed technical discrepancies.
The report has given an example as regards to how some departments have failed in seeking advance approval for all sanctioned posts. “The Rural Development Department asked for 30 direct recruits in Group A whereas it had permission for 59 posts.”
Ideally, the proposals are expected to reach MPSC one year before the vacancies are created and there is a GAD circular that mandates this. However, the report notes: “The respective departments don’t abide by the 1990 circular. So, they are responsible for vacancies.”