A flourishing industry

Of flawed career management and transfer policy.

Before highlighting flawed cadre management of government employees and growing favoritism in transfers of officers and officials under the political influence, it will be unfair not to appreciate the recent circular issued by the government through general administration department to discourage any outside influence in effecting the transfer of officers and officials in different government departments. Apparently, it is a welcome step to ensure level playing field for all government employees to utilize their abilities and potential. These government instructions if implemented in the true essence of justified governance will provide a fair opportunity to every employee to promote his career prospects and will encourage him to contribute his best to the state and the society.Recently during the budget session of the state assembly, an independent member accused the administration of making the transfer of employees against political and other material consideration. He termed this whole process of discriminatory posting of government employees as ‘transfer industry’. How far the statement of the honorable member was true and not politically motivated, only time and proper examination of the whole matter will reveal the facts? However, it cannot be denied altogether that a section of employees influences the administrative system to have their careers tailor-made and ensure lucrative postings of their choice and liking. The influence in all these cases is either political or driven through a cocktail of cupidity and sycophancy. For political influence, it is not only the political system in power that ensures and succeeds in favoring their cronies and nepotism, but the whole political spectrum certainly manages undue preferential treatment for their blue eyed favorites. Over a period of time, certain cunning people in league with some unscrupulous elements within the administration and political system have created a vested interest group to negotiate illegitimate elevation of officers through adhocracy and manage lucrative postings and rewarding transfers against consideration. The shameful act of negotiating even the genuine issues of employees by such crooks gives a bad name to the entire administrative system.

The whole decay of defective career management of state’s employees and the ensuing transfer industry is the outcome of outdated and irrelevant service recruitment rules in almost all government departments. These defective recruitment rules along with widespread adhocracy in our administrative system, mostly encouraged by agenda of nepotism and favoritism have created havoc with human resource management process. And for last several decades, adhocracy laden with favoritism is manifested in the shape of OPG (own pay and grade), where the long due elevation of employees is made after depriving them of financial benefits and administrative autonomy.  In his recent budget document, the hard fact of outdated recruitment rules was rightly acknowledged by state’s finance minister. The worst outcome of these defective service rules and ad-hoc-ism is disgruntlement among employees and inefficiency within the system.

There are hundreds of instances in the administration when ineligible officers and officials were placed ahead of their seniors and better-qualified officers either by circumventing or misinterpreting existing defective service rules or simply by invoking the clandestine time-tested provision of ‘interest of administration’ or the favorite OPG clause.  Recently, in a typical example of favoritism through adhocracy, several officers in the department of agriculture were not only elevated without due consideration of existing recruitment rules but were given leaping opportunities to make quantum jumps irrespective of qualification and eligibility. And more brazenly the postings of some officers were changed just to suit their choice and materialistic urge. In some cases, transfer orders were changed twice a week and then placed in abeyance within few days of implementation. I quoted these cases of misuse of power, favoritism and discrepancies in providing equal opportunities to employees to excel in a particular department only because I am privy to these developments, otherwise, whole administration is plagued with directorial inconsistencies vis-à-vis human resource management, promotion avenues and utilizing services of government employees.

Anyways, the present circular No.05-GAD of 2017 invoking rule 17 of the J&K Government Employees (Conduct) Rules, 1971 is a welcome step and if implemented in right perspective will prove a watershed in human resource management within the state. However, this bold step will prove counterproductive if politicians and other managers within the administration will not strictly adhere to their own conduct rules of managing administrative business in accordance with the principle of justice.