In the name of OPG

Transfer industry flourishes in the garb of Own Pay and Grade!

In a recent ruling single bench of Jammu and Kashmir High court has taken a serious note and disapproved government’s policy of stop-gap and in-charge arrangements in engineering departments. The court observed “the officers at different levels are pushed to endless litigations and instead of devoting their time to designing and supervision of projects of pubic importance, these officers are forced to spend time in making rounds of the courts of law”. Further articulating the discontent the court said that “The situation has deteriorated to such an extent that a chief engineer holds the post of an assistant engineer on substantive basis and a superintending engineer that of a junior engineer. No one appears to have the will to stem the rot.” The observations and landmark judgment of the court has not only pointed out  the deep-rooted rot of stop-gap arrangements in states engineering departments but surely highlighted widespread adhocism in most of the government departments manifested by proliferating trend of promotions with the qualitative tag of OPG (Own Pay and Grade).

As prescribed within the regulations every government department in the state is legally bound to manage and regulate the services of its employees under prescribed service rules promulgated and corrected from time to time as per the requirement in the best interest of governance and welfare of the employees. However, for last more than two decades most of the promotion procedures in almost every government department are plagued with adhocracy and at times rules are circumvent just to suit few, giving way to widespread bias and fraud. The stop-gap arrangement or OPG promotions in real sense is no promotion as it does not entitle the so-called elevated employee to avail any of the legitimate rights of higher perks or privileges as prescribed within regular promotion process. Stop-gap promotions are made just to keep the employees under check and make them to sing to the tune of higher-ups. The never-ending fear of reversion constrains the employees to listen to the diktats and make compromise with their integrity and ability and unknowingly or at occasions knowingly promote the nefarious designs and agenda of authorities who plan and encourage such illegitimate elevations.

There are two main motives for stop-gap arrangements. One is the corruption garnished with nepotism and another is the ever creeping inefficiency and lackluster approach of managers sitting in the higher echelons of power. A cursory look on the overall human resource management scenario within the state administration will reveal that except leading service cadre of IAS (Indian Administrative Service) and KAS (Kashmir Administrative Services) every state service is beset with OPG and stop-gap arrangements in one way or the other. It is pertinent and more interesting to mention here, that maximum authority and obligation of human resource and cadre management of most of the state employees lies with IAS and KAS cadre officers. And obviously they have failed to deliver and do justice with thousands of poor employees aspiring for their genuine and legitimate promotions since
The biggest fallout of OPG system and stop-gap arrangement is inefficiency and mediocrity. Unending litigations along with the usual corruption and nepotism are other facets of monstrous OPG scheme that eats away the vitals of our socio-economic system. At present thousands and thousands of service writ petitions related to unresolved promotions and out of turn and unlawful elevations are lying with the courts. In many cases litigation is not only supported but at times encouraged by the vested interests in the administration to promote and patronize cronies and push them upwards in the hierarchy under the clandestine scheme of stop-gap. Interestingly, the existing stop-gap scheme gives an excuse and provides a thick and rosy cover of legitimacy to growing transfer industry in the administration, where few chosen blue-eyed officers and employees are allowed to take turns on plum and lucrative postings against huge considerations. In recent past the Court’s continuous intervention and subsequent directions and strictures in the matter of regular appointment for the post of Director Health services Kashmir is a glaring example of indifference on the part of authorities to do away with stop-gap nuisance. There are many such instances of misdoings, nepotism and misuse of power and mother of all this sleaze is ever increasing and buoyed up trend of OPG and stop-gap arrangements. In the best interest of good governance and justice administration at an earliest should introspect and do away with this practice of uncertainty and mismanagement, more fondly known as OPG in clerical parlance.