The first big attempt to chop off the dead wood in the higher echelons of the Indian civil service has started.
Three IAS officers face the axe for incompetence under a rule pushed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last year to weed out non-performing officers of the three All India Services (AIS): the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and the Indian Forest Service (IFoS).
A senior Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT)source told HT that the exercise to review the performance of IAS officers had been initiated by three cadres: Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and AGMUT that caters to three States of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram & Goa and Union Territories, namely Delhi, Lakshadweep, Puducherry, A&N Islands, Chandigarh, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli. A few other states such as Punjab have promised to start the process shortly.
The three IAS officers who have been identified for premature retirement belong to the AGMUT cadre. A source said two of them have already approached DoPT to appeal against the recommendation.
The provision for review of performance of government officers has been on the rulebook for decades but was rarely invoked. The Prime Minister had first initiated discussions on invoking this rule soon after assuming power in 2004 but it was shoved into the freezer.
Last year, the DoPT finally notified fresh rules that made it mandatory for all state governments to review the performance of AIS officers once they complete 15 and 25 years in service.
The idea, DoPT guidelines said, was to weed out officers of doubtful integrity and “officers who have outlived their utility and have become inefficient or ineffective”.
For one, the rules make it clear that AIS officers who receive average grading in their performance appraisals over a period of 5-7 years needed to be examined closely. “To describe a member of an All-India Service as average is not complimentary. While it may not be an adverse remark, it is nevertheless a reflection upon his work or conduct and should be taken to indicate output, which is ordinary and routine,” the rule notified on 28 June 2012 said.