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Association of Retired Senior IPS Officers (ARSIPSO)

This is with reference to my letter No. ARSIPSO/GS-BSD-4/2023 dated. 10/08/2023 on the 4th B.S. Das Memorial Lecture, which had to be rescheduled for unavoidable reasons.

The 4th B.S.Das Memorial Lecture to be delivered by Shri Anil Kumar Sinha, IAS (Retd.), on the subject Disaster Management: Creating Safer Communities, has now been rescheduled for October 14, 2023 as per the following:

Conference Room No. 2, India International Centre, Max Mueller Marg, New Delhi, October 14, 2023 (Saturday)



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Service Extentions - Building Bridges without Rivers? - Joginder Singh

 
 

The Central Government has decided, to arm itself, with the discretion, To give a two-year term, to certain senior public servants. The civil servants covered, with this dispensation include, the Union Home Secretary, the De¬fence Secretary, the Director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Chief of the Research and Analysis Wing .

As per the Union Cabinet de¬cision, Fundamen¬tal Rule No. 56, will be amended, to allow the four designated offi¬cers "an extension of service be¬yond the age of superannuation, for enabling them, to complete the tenure of two years." The amended Fundamental Rule 56 will now read: "Provided also that the Central Govern¬ment may, if considered neces¬sary in [the] public interest to do so, give extension in service to the Cabinet Secretary, Defence Secretary, Home Secretary, Di¬rector, Intelligence Bureau, Sec¬retary, Research and Analysis Wing, and Director, Central Bu¬reau of Investigation, for such periods as it may deem proper, on a case to case basis, subject to the condition that the total term of the incumbents of the above posts, who are given such exten¬sion, in service does not exceed two years."

The Cabinet Secretary already has the benefit, of a two-year assured ten¬ure. But it does not necessarily mean that the incumbent will continue to be the Cabinet Secretary. The Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (in response to a Supreme Court orders already has a minimum tenure of two years.

The proposal had been on the Government's agenda for quite some time. Most bureaucrats, were not in its favour. In fact, the Ministries of External Affairs and Finance wanted a similar dispensation and recognition for their Secretaries. The proposal has inherent weaknesses, in that the principle of continuity has been sought to be limited to some Ministries and not others, like Urban Development, Rural Development, Railways, Health, Poverty Alleviation and Education.

The proposal has opened a Pandora's Box, of new problems, which Government will face in the future. The senior posts, three for IPS Officers, and three for IAS Officers have created a topsy turvey situation. The age of retirement at the time of independence used to be 55 years. It was raised to 58 years in 1960's and further raised to 60 in 1998. Now for the select few, it has been further raised to 62. In fact the amendment has dangerous implications, in that it will be done on case to case basis or as some wags say, on " suitcase to suitcase basis". This proviso will ensure that those, who are in line for the extension, toe the lines of the powers that be. Some of them will go, to the extent of anticipating the wishes of the bosses and try to do, what they expect, without even being told anything.

Nobody can raise a doubt about the integrity of the present Prime Minister. But the same cannot be said, about all his colleagues in the Government, on whose support his Government survives. Any of them, with a substantial numbers, can by applying the right amount of pressure, and force the Prime Minister to extend similar treatment to his favourites Some of the former Prime Ministers, at least in the public perception, were scheming, manipulating, devious and calculating. Some of them traded extensions for financially and politically coloured decisions to further their own or their favourites or their family's interest.

In his first letter to the Chief Ministers, in July, 2004 the Prime Minister said:. "Frequent transfers of public servants, have a debilitating impact not only on their performance and morale, but also on the whole process of governance. Development administration also involves learning that to a large extent depends on the regularity of tenure. "Therefore, I urge you to ensure stability of tenure to officials in key positions in order to ensure effective administration and proper delivery of public services," he wrote.

The advice does not appear to have had the desired response.

Even without the amendment of the rules, the Government always has power to extend any body's service. The normal tenure, for any job, as per the Government policy ranges from three to five years. There have been cases where bureaucrats have continued even for four to five years, under different garbs, as consultants, advisers, or special advisers, or even as Secretaries to the Government, beyond their age of superannuation. In fact, the bureaucracy never had so good, as under the Bureaucrat, turned politicians and turned Prime Minister.

Commissions after Commissions and Committees after Committees have proliferated, without making an ounce of difference to the quality of administration or the delivery system. IAS and IPS are based on the principle, that All India Service Officers can fit in any job. Intelligence Agencies that is Intelligence Bureau and RAW has always been, headed by the people who have or had spent almost their life time, in those organisation. No outsiders has ever been appointed to head them. Even the persons proposed to be considered for the post of Director CBI are required to have experience, and knowledge of anti corruption work. But the same cannot be said, of the people, who are the holders or have been holders of the office of Home Secretaries, or Defence Secretaries. Some of them might have had or not a stint in Home or Defence, in junior positions. Why not make it compulsory for any person to be appointed as Home or Defence to have a minimum stint of ten years or more either in similar jobs. This will ensure the continuity and proper utilisation of the past experience. This will also obviate the necessity of giving extensions, which naturally causes heart burning in other service colleagues. Government will be saved from the pressure of similar demands from other Ministers or
Ministries.

In fact, by the time, a Person becomes Secretary, to the Government he would have already put in at least thirty two years of service. Albert Einstein said "Experts are just trained dogs." If the Government is very keen, to give two years tenure, to the incumbents of some job, why not appoint only those, who would have a two years time left before they retire. Another method could be to appoint a few understudies in any Ministry, so that they could be ready to step into the shoes of others.

In fact, it was an excellent system, which has been almost been given up, for the simple reason, that postings as decided at the last moment. Being understudy only meant that all the files were routed through the understudy, who only could go through them, but the final decision was still left to the incumbent of a particular office, where an understudy had been appointed. The Government's argument, was that extension of two years is required for continuity. Agreed, but there are a number of methods as suggested above to ensure continuity. I don't know, what other experience is required, to make a success of any job, except hard work, and some common sense.

Now there will be rush and pressure to occupy posts, which ensure service beyond the normal age of superannuation. But mind you, it is not binding for the succeeding Governments to keep the officials appointed by the previous Government in their position, as was done in the case, of a former Cabinet Secretary, notwithstanding, his having been given a two years tenure. There is nothing unusual about the successor Governments undoing, what their predecessors have done. It is time to remind what Nikita Khruschev added ;"Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build bridges even when there are no rivers."

- Joginder Singh, IPS (Retd.) Former Director, CBI, India, 123-124,
Nav Sansad Vihar, CGHS, Sector 22,
Plot Number 4, Dwarka,
New Delhi 110075
Telephone: 28080742,

Number and Address, Jalalabad (west)
District: Ferozpore, Pin code: 152024,
Telephone: 01638 250072
Email: jogindersinghfdips@rediffmail.com


The views and facts stated above are entirely the responsibility of the author and do not reflect the views of this Association in any manner.

 
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