End of the road for babus: How states are quietly killing the cushy government job

The days of cushy government jobs that offered long-term security without any threat of layoff are numbered now. Steep salary hikes due to the Pay Commission awards and the need for performance-based specialist jobs are forcing state governments to hire workers on contract or just outsource jobs. Several state governments have opted for such steps.

Recently, the Tamil Nadu government constituted a committee to identify non-essential posts that can be done away with, outsourced or filled through contract appointments for a fixed period. By appointing contract employees or outsourcing non-essential jobs, the government feels that pension and other retirement benefits for these positions could be saved.

It's not just the lower-rung government jobs in states that would be axed. There would be fewer jobs at the top echelons of the government too.

Last year, policy think-tank Niti Aayog had suggested outsourcing of public services to private hands in order to reduce dependence on the government administrative machinery. Sustained high levels of performance could only be achieved if it was objectively measured with high performance rewarded and poor reprimanded, it said.

Niti Aayog advocated lateral entry of private professionals in top government jobs currently held by civil servants. "Today, rising complexity of the economy has meant that policy-making is a specialised activity. Therefore, it is essential that specialists be inducted into the system through lateral entry. Such entry will also have the beneficial side effect of bringing competition to the established career bureaucracy," it said.

After the Niti Aayog recommendation, the personnel ministry made a presentation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on lateral entry of specialists in top jobs. A proposal was prepared to induct 50 specialists from the private sector in government departments at the level of director and joint secretary, according to a PTI report.

Though Niti Aayog also recommended development of expertise among internal staff, it emphasised lateral entry as an additional step. "Specialisation by the internal staff needs to be complemented by lateral entry of highly specialised staff on fixed-term contracts."

"Specialists could be brought on three to five year contracts. Such a system will bring top talent and energy into the government and will lend new dynamism to the ministries," it said.

Another reason for the governments to cut jobs could be increasing digitisation which improves delivery of government services and its effective monitoring.

Source: ET


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