Security of Tenure

Security of Tenure: The life of any bureaucrat is comprised of a wide array of activities such as decision making, formulating plans for action, implementing them, monitoring progress, evaluating feedback etc. All of these require time which varies greatly depending upon the type of project. For the past few years there have been several instances of surprise transfers of public servants. Reasons for such transfers are sometimes vague and unacceptable.

  1. Political interference: is a major cause of transfers and suspensions of civil servants. Some politicians who wish to have everything done their own way prefer to have dummy bureaucrats that they can bribe and control.
  2. Corporate influences: Political parties that depend on large corporate to fund massive electoral campaigns are obliged to return the favor and when sincere officers attempt to protect interests of the common people, they are hastily relocated.
Consequences
  1. Impact on the Nation : Important social and economic projects begin with a vision and a change in leadership may lead to four major problems
    1. Distorted view of the goal that needs to be achieved
    2. New appointee will need time to understand and absorb the project to reach his predecessors level of efficiency
    3. Lack of experience of the replacement officer regarding the project leads to unwanted delays and related complications
    4. Forceful and unexpected change in leadership creates a negative ripple effect on the efficiency of the assignment
  2. Impact on the Officer :
    1. Officer morale is affected when he is not given an opportunity to complete the task that he has begun
    2. Uncertainty of tenure leads to fear and instability that may adversely impact performance at work
    3. Instability of tenure causes inefficiency due to demonization when honest officers are punished instead of being rewarded
 
Suggestions
  1. Strict official norms need to be adhered to in situations relating to transfer of civil servants. Detailed explanations stating reason and cause for the transfer need to be provided to the officer.
  2. Unacceptable incidents of officers informed of their transfer/dismissal through government and media publications need to be legally dealt with. Every civil servant deserves to be given due notice before publishing the event to media houses.
Civil servants are the lifeline of a healthy democratic society. They are the caretakers of the peoples interests who implement ambitious political mandates. A confident, sincere and uncorrupt bureaucracy is essential for the development of India as a world power.
Civil Services Board (SC Judgement)
To insulate the bureaucracy from political interference and to put an end to frequent transfers of civil servants by political bosses, the Supreme Court November,2013 directed the Centre and the States to set up a Civil Services Board (CSB) for the management of transfers, postings, inquiries, process of promotion, reward, punishment and disciplinary matters.
The Bench asked Parliament to enact a Civil Services Act under Article 309 of the Constitution setting up a CSB, “which can guide and advise the political executive transfer and postings, disciplinary action, etc.” The Bench directed the Centre, State governments and the Union Territories to constitute such Boards “within three months, if not already constituted, till the Parliament brings in a proper Legislation in setting up CSB.”
The Bench said “We notice, at present the civil servants are not having stability of tenure, particularly in the State governments where transfers and postings are made frequently, at the whims and fancies of the executive head for political and other considerations and not in public interest. The necessity of minimum tenure has been endorsed and implemented by the Union Government. In fact, we notice, almost 13 States have accepted the necessity of a minimum tenure for civil servants. Fixed minimum tenure would not only enable the civil servants to achieve their professional targets, but also help them to function as effective instruments of public policy.”
Lack of security of tenure for important posts in India had greatly hampered the morale and efficiency of civil service. Discuss. Suggest measures to address this issue. (200 Words)