Babus have scuttled financial and promotion avenues of scientists in the National Informatics Centre (NIC). The centre has been mandated to implement India’s ambitious e-governance programme and protect government’s key websites.
The result: Exodus of senior information technology scientists to the private sector, which is offering them both better money as well as career. “We stayed with the government, thinking of better career and innovation,” said a senior scientist with NIC.
But that has not happened for over three years as the Cabinet Secretariat has apparently not given them a go-ahead to conduct departmental promotion committee meetings at senior level posts.
“As promotions are stuck at the senior level, its implications are obvious at lower levels also,” an official said. “No promotions are taking place,” the official added.
A minimum of 50 scientists are waiting to be promoted to the joint secretary-level post since 2009. There are scientists who have been stuck at the same level for more than six to seven years even though the time scale under which they were appointed assured them a promotion every five years.
“But nobody is listening to us despite several representations,” a senior government official said, adding it was leading to demoralisation of the scientific community.
Moreover, these scientists are not just being denied promotion, but even financial benefits that they were legible for. For many, that’s a double whammy.
As per the time scale, the scientists of the NIC should have by now got the salary of the posts they were eligible for appointment. It would have meant a salary hike of up to 10-15 per cent and higher retirement benefits but the higher bureaucracy in NIC appears to have turned a deaf ear towards them.
Most scientists believe that the reason for the lackadaisical attitude of the government is the so-called ‘rivalry’ between technocrats and bureaucrats led by Indian Administrative Service (IAS). NIC is headed by a technocrat while its parent ministry, Information and Technology, by an IAS officer.
The scientists want that the government should address their issues to retain and promote scientific temper in the government.