The Union government has embarked upon a major exercise to review the functioning of its existing 45-lakh strong workforce following a directive from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
A notification from the Department of Personnel and Training (DoP&T), issued mid-September to all the ministries and departments of the central government, has sought service profiles of officials in their respective units. They were asked to submit their responses in a prescribed format by September 30.
Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) feel that a review of the central government employees had become imperative in view of the changed environment. They said that e-revolution, increased digitisation of government services and the use of advanced technologies like artificial intelligence are bound to have an impact on the working of the bureaucracy.
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The officials said that the review has been ordered as it was felt that a section of officialdom with old mindsets have become redundant and needs to be laid off.
The government is planning to introduce administrative reforms and create new types of jobs that would boost efficiency and improve delivery of public services. Some of the reform ideas are likely to figure during next year’s budget. The notification is buried in the corner of DoP&T website to prevent any scaremongering among employees.
Those in the know of things said that the pro forma is elaborate and has ordered review of various officials in 88 ministries and departments. Never before in the past has such a large scale exercise been initiated by the government to review its own recruitment policy.
All the 45 lakh employees will now have to account for their utility and purpose of employment by their respective departments with a future vision. Each one of them will have to explain in writing their utility. The department and unit heads will have to justify their resource strength and explain why they require such a structure.
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The Centre is also toying with the idea of lowering the retirement age of its employees and fix their years of service to reduce stagnation and expedite promotions. Its main objective is to reduce government expenditure. At present, the idea is at a preliminary stage.
One of the proposals doing the rounds in the PMO is that government employees will be retired after 33 years of service or on reaching 58 years of age, whichever is earlier. The government has made no efforts to officially deny such speculations.
It is believed that the proposal is being actively processed by the Department of Expenditure, which is looking into its financial implications. The Finance Ministry has also proposed a programme of golden handshake, however, the PMO has not yet given a go-ahead to the proposal as elections to crucial state assemblies are due this month.
But the government does realise that it has to swallow a bitter pill one day or the other.