Cooling Off For Bureaucrats
The provision for the cooling off period to rejoin any government assignment or to take up any employment for the bureaucrats immediately after the retirement needs to be reviewed. Presently there is two years cooling off period for the bureaucrats for taking up any employment, but there is also a provision in the rules allowing them to join service in the private sector with the permission of the government even within that period. A bureaucrat on the day of retirement itself is allowed to join any government service. This makes him kneeling before his masters in the hope of getting an appointment in the government for any post. Thus he becomes vulnerable to go out of the way to implement the orders of his political bosses. The practice of appointing the bureaucrats as Governor or Lieutenant Governor, immediately after the retirement should be stopped in the interest of unbiased administration. Such kind of appointments either should be completely avoided or should be done in special cases that, too, in the states where political system has been shelved temporally, more so in the bordering states.
If a bureaucrat is appointed Governor of any state and that state was put under the President’s Rule, in that case as per the normal practice, the Governor has to appoint his own council of advisors and they are all from the bureaucracy. They work like the ministers and enjoy independent powers and work as incharge of various ministries. In these circumstances, the whole state comes under the grip of red tape, right from the level of Lekhpal up to the level of Governor. The whole democratic system gets paralysed or is thrown into dustbin for at least six months and if the President’s Rule is extended for another six months, the situation even becomes worst. Therefore, the practice of appointing a bureaucrat immediately after his retirement for any post in government has to be discontinued in the public interest.
It is a well established fact that the bureaucrats run the country and implement the policies of the government or even predict and analyse the polices as per the need. If such officers are aware of the fact that they won’t get any government assignment before the cooling off period of two-three years, they will stop looking for the jobs and stop circling the chair of ministers prior to the retirement.
There are some benefits also by appointing the retired bureaucrats to discharge some government functions because the government and the people would be benefited by their long experience of governance. After the cooling off period of two to three years, if such bureaucrats are given any crucial assignment, it could be beneficial. Moreover after the lapse of three years, nobody knows which political party would be in power. This is high time that civil services rules were amended. The government must consider for expending the cooling off to at least three years.
By Vijay Khaira
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