Sunday, February 18, 2018 | ePaper

Contractual appointment in govt service

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THE recent surge in contractual appointments of Secretaries and Departmental Heads going on retirement or people from outside the service has raised many questions. It is true that every government in the past resorted to such practice mostly to retain the service of capable officers having proven professional efficiency to fill up vacuum in special circumstances in public interest. But it was not so widespread presumably on political consideration. 

The growing number of contractual appointments now taking place appears to have been based more on consideration of political loyalty of the concerned officials to serve government's political interest at a time it is totally incompetent and dependent on the loyalty of bureaucracy.

But the growing practice is creating chaos, tension and indiscipline in the bureaucracy because such contractual appointments are blocking promotion of officers at lower level to higher posts. It is true the government is periodically giving promotion at different tiers of the administration from the post of Assistant Secretary to Additional Secretary and Secretary level, but in almost all such cases, except few the promoted officers have been left to work at their old desks and deal with old files. Because new vacancies remained blocked by officers working above them 

It appears in-service officials are totally opposed to such contractual appointment and media reports quoting a survey finding highlighted each contractual appointment at Secretary level blocks promotion of five officers down the line. In case of the head of a department, the number of affected officials down the line is yet bigger.

It is the right of every official's to be duly promoted and fairly treated based on his or her merit and quality of service. In public service merit matters first and other considerations like personal allegiance and political loyalty should not be allowed to dominate. It destroys service discipline and commitment of officials to serve the people. Eventually they become corrupt and complicit to policies and actions that serve the party in power. A highly partisan administration betrays the nation allowing injustice to spread and chaos to grow at all levels. .
 
In our view the government should follow transparent policies for appointment and promotion as laid out in existing laws so that officials can give their best to the nation. Any blockade on the way to working at higher level of the government is bound to demoralize the entire administration except few. So also irregularities in the process of recruitment is bound to destroy the foundation of public service. Politicization of the process is bound to destroy career of vast majority of officers while inefficient party loyalists do more harm to the government at the end by misleading it from real crisis. Such practice must be avoided.   


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