Officers can get the boot after 20 years: reforms committee

Officers can get the boot after 20 years: reforms committee

New Delhi: Civil servants who do not have a good track record or are found to be incompetent should be dismissed after 20 years in service, India’s Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) has suggested in a report released on Friday.

The report entitled Refurbishing of Personnel Administration—released by commission chairman Veerappa Moily—recommends two comprehensive reviews of bureaucrats after they complete 14 and 20 years in service. ARC, set up by the central government, periodically recommends ways to improve public administration.

“The first review of 14 years would primarily serve the purpose of intimating to the public servant about his/her strengths and shortcomings for his/her future advancement," Moily told the media here. “The second review at 20 years would mainly serve to assess the fitness of the officer for his continuation in government service."

ARC’s latest and 10th report also recommends establishing a central civil services authority comprising five members.

The authority would assign an area of expertise to civil servants after 13 years of service, the ARC suggests. Once a domain has been assigned, the officer’s postings would be by an large limited to that area.

ARC also recommends restricting the permissible age to take civil service examinations to 21-25 years for general candidates, 21-28 years for other backward classes (OBC) candidates and up to 29 for scheduled caste or scheduled tribe (SC/ST) candidates.

The current eligibility criteria allows an upper limit of 30 years for general candidates, 33 for OBC and 35 for SC/ST candidates.

It also said the number of times a candidate is allowed to take the test be restricted to three, five and six for general category, OBC and SC/ST candidates, respectively.

Currently, general category candidates can take the tests four times, OBC candidates can try seven times and SC/ST candidates can try as many times they want.

The report also suggests the government establish institutes of public administration to run un undergraduate course in public administration.

“I agree with the recommendations of the ARC report and think it will improve the system. Lowering the eligibility criteria is a particularly good idea as today we are recruiting the middle-aged and not the young for our civil services," said former cabinet secretary B.K. Chaturvedi.