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Modi Govt Continues to Reform Indian Bureaucracy

Updated: June 18, 2019

In yet another instance of clean-up after the re-election, Modi government has compulsorily retired 15 very senior officers of the ranks of Principal Commissioner and Commissioner of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) on June 18, 2019, reported ANI. The action has been initiated under rule 56(j) of Central Civil Services (Pensions) Rules, 1972. This is a repeat of the action against ‘non-performing bureaucrats’ in less than 10 days of time. It is to recall that on June 10, 2019, the Modi government had compulsorily retired 12 senior tax officers.

Throughout the history of independent India, one of the toughest decisions for the Indian government has been to take action against erring and non-performing public servants.

There are many reasons for this. One, the power, though diluted after an amendment to the Constitution, they draw from articles 308-314 (Part 14) of the Indian constitution which provides them constitutional safeguards. Two, the process to dismiss a central government officer and an all India service officer is so cumbersome that it makes the central government virtually ineffective in taking any action against such officials.

In this background, if actions are taken against the non-performing officers, it is no less an achievement for the central government. In a determined fashion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been on a journey to clean-up the system.

During his tenures both as Chief Minister of Gujarat and Prime Minister of India, PM Modi has always been known as a tough taskmaster and a leader who can take action against non-performing officials. On these lines, the Modi government on June 10, 2019, sacked 12 senior tax officers for reasons like corruption and misconduct.

This is not the first time that the government has come down heavily on such officers. Even in the past, action against 381 bureaucrats was taken. A total of 25 Group A officers, including one IAS and two IPS, and 99 Group B officers were prematurely retired by the government, reported the Live Mint quoting Personnel Ministry.

Apart from those who have already been sacked, many officers are under the scanner of the Modi government. If reports are to be believed, as many as 1200 IPS officers are under the scanner of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for the non-performance. Action may be taken against them too.

Thus, the intent of the incumbent government is clear as far as Indian bureaucracy is concerned. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made changes to rigid bureaucratic processes. To ensure accountability of civil servants and expedite the developmental processes, he had introduced technological solutions like PRAGATI (an online system to keep a track of development projects) and e-SamikSha (an online system to keep a track of the intra-departmental movement of files). These technological interventions in governance have resulted in delivering goods and services on the ground. With PM Modi asking public servants to bring improvements to their functioning, the accountability and people’s trust in government will further increase, failing which action against them is inevitable. Even the bureaucrats seem to have understood this reality of New India.