Replacement of Non-Performing Bureaucrats

(Indian Administrative Panel's Recommendation)

In August 2004, CFD sponsored a memorandum to President and Prime Minister. This memorandum was unanimously signed by all Panchayat leaders in two blocks of Orissa, and then by all Zila Parishad members present in a meeting in the state's capital. In a letter to the President, CFD challenged the government that every Panchayat and Zila Parishad throughout India would unanimously support the points in the memo and that they be implemented. The President of India issued a notice of action to the Prime Minister with a copy to CFD. The points raised in the CFD-sponsored memorandum were as follows:

  • Transfer at least 50% of funds allocated in a state's budget to Panchayats where 80% of the population resides and grant fiscal power to the Panchayat leaders. Such fiscal power will allow the Panchayats to select community projects like schools, hospitals and roads and approve of the bills for payment to contractors who build such infrastructure facilities in their areas. The Center has agreed to transfer funds directly to Panchayats by opening accounts locally. But there is no agreement yet on transfer of 50% of a state's budgeted resources.
  • Give market prices of minerals to the states being denuded and deforested. The purpose is to help restore the local ecology and development. More importantly, such development is necessary to correct the rapidly denuding forests, polluting environment, and scorching of the atmosphere. The Center has not yet conceded to this demand.
  • Replace non-performing bureaucrats by a selection process open to competition from within the bureaucracy and outside. The Administrative Reforms Panel has accepted this demand in toto. See the following news today.

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Bureaucrats who don’t perform must make way for outsiders, says admn reforms panel

http://www.indianexpress.com/story/288940.html

AMITAV RANJAN

Posted online: Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 0028 hrs

NEW DELHI, MARCH 26: Going beyond the Sixth Pay Commission report, the Administrative Reforms Commission is suggesting a slew of reforms to hold bureaucrats responsible for service delivery. If they fail to deliver, they will be shipped out to make way for outsiders who can join the civil service at senior positions.

A draft report by ARC suggests that targets of each department be fixed and in the process, work expectation from each civil servant be spelt out in a written agreement with the departmental minister. Instead of the input-centric performance measure — where achievements are function of money spent and manpower deployed for a scheme or a project — the ARC wants a shift to assessment based on quantifiable output targets.

These covenants with promise to perform would be placed in the public domain to ensure that there is complete transparency in what each individual bureaucrat has agreed to achieve during a particular time period. Using these targets, a feedback on service delivery would be obtained from the beneficiaries to assess their effectiveness, proposes the ARC. And those who do not frequently come up to the expectations would be shown the door.

“At present, hardly any civil servant gets thrown out on grounds of incompetence and failure to deliver. It is necessary that all civil servants should undergo a rigorous assessment of performance at least once in their career, at the 20 years’ service mark. On the basis of such assessment, the civil servants who have not performed must be retired compulsorily using provisions which already exist but are not adequately used,” recommends the ARC headed by Veerappa Moily.

With the services rid of unwanted flab, the ARC has suggested a leadership cadre — Senior Executive Service (SES) — to be created where officers are selected from among other services such as police, customs and income tax as well as from the private sector. This united and cohesive group would be responsible for higher level policy advice, managerial and professional responsibilities, and would be hired on fixed-term contracts at market-competitive remuneration.

This selection of the “very best of society for the most challenging assignments” would be handled by “an independent, suitably empowered authority outside the government”. Besides selection, this authority would fix the terms and conditions of employment, tenure, performance requirement and termination as well as spell out their development, mobility, promotion and tenure.

The pay for the SES would be retained at present government level with a “performance-related component” to match it with market rates so as to attract and retain the best brains, says the report, a copy of which has been sent to industry stalwarts Mukesh D Ambani, K Vaman Kamath and Kumar Mangalam Birla.

The Sixth Pay Commission yesterday suggested a scheme for performance-related incentives for Central government employees and suggested that more posts be created on functional considerations and filled though an “open selection” from within or outside the government. It also suggested that senior technical or specialized posts be filled by “suitable officers” from within as well as outsiders on contract.

In line with the Pay Commission’s report, the ARC has also backed assigning specific domains to bureaucrats early in their careers, say from the ninth or tenth year, and retaining them in the domain throughout the service career. This is aimed at serving as the launching board for the SES cadre.

Another feature suggested by ARC is security of tenure that has got ruined not necessarily because of intended punishment, but poor personnel management. “The reforms in this context should consist of (a) declaration of normal tenures for every post (b) requirement of an external authority to monitor postings, and place before the legislatures a periodic evaluation of average tenures of each post,” says the draft report.

The authority would also be entrusted the job of enforcing a proposed civil services law that would provide a legal basis to the legislatures to codify the public service standards, ethical values and culture they would want in the service and how these should be implemented.

And to ensure that “young people infused with a sense of idealism and public service” constitute the bulk of bureaucracy, the ARC suggests that the maximum age for writing civil service entrance examination be lowered to 25 years from 30 years for general candidates with writing attempts reduced to three from four.

For Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, it recommends maximum age of 29 years instead of 35 years with attempts restricted to six instead of unlimited and for Other Backward Classes, 28 years with five attempts instead of seven.