By: M. Brojendro Singh
This open letter is not intended to criticise you or your Government’s policies, but to just bring forward certain aspects that I felt needed to be spoken about. So much of developmental programmes and projects have been initiated over the past 11(eleven) months. But, the actual question here is, how much of them have actually been implemented in letter and spirit?
There are certain issues which hon’ble CM, Manipur needs to priorities with extreme urgency. First, break the continuity of re-engaging retired officers. Throw out the tradition of re-engaging retired officers after their superannuation in whatever forms and designations/capacity. This culture will soon become almost a birthright of every retiring officer in due course of time.
That, for quite sometimes we had seen that service extension of Government’s servants was done after the age of their retirements/superannuation in many Departments, Govt. of Manipur, especially during the last 10-15 years Congress Government led by Shri O.Ibobi Singh as a Chief Minister. This is one of the most severe signals of corruption, nepotism and poor-governance imprinted in Manipur’s history. Such poor-governance becomes a man-made disaster and harmful than the natural calamity in one sense.
However, the BJP led Government under your able leadership has taken a groundbreaking decision by the State Cabinet meeting held on 3 April, 2017 in principle, to do away with service extension/re-engagement of Government employees after their retirement. This comes as a great relief for the deserving officers for promotion after I and half decade or so. The people of Manipur welcome the new decision radically charted out by breaking away from old tradition.
Later, acting upon its cabinet decision a Committee chaired by Chief Secretary with Pr. Secy. (Finance) and Commissioner (DP) as members were constituted to identify the need based engagement in respect of technical posts. The Committee after thread bare discussion decided not to recommend for discontinuation of all re-engagements after retirement. The recommendation of the Committee for discontinuation with immediate effect giving 1 (one) month’s notice were approved by the State Cabinet again on 28th April 2017 and all other cases which are not brought to the Committee shall be deemed to be terminated w.e.f 31st May, 2017. Therefore, all Addl. Chief Secretaries, Commissioners, Secretaries are requested to report to the Finance Department, Government of Manipur by 20th May, 2017. But it is very doubtful as to how many concerned Department submitted the compliance report and how many officials were actually terminated as per the order. What action has been initiated by the Government for the non-compliance departments? Were the re-engaged officers really terminated? If such officers were found to be enjoying his office after their termination who is responsible and there is no reason that action shouldn’t be taken against such officers?
Unfortunately, this time too in the ongoing Assembly Session the same question of re-engagement of retired officer (Deputy Secretary in Works Department) even after termination order re-surfaced again. It is indeed a very serious issue as it not only block the line of promotion of junior officers but also against Fundamental Rule 56(d) which clearly provides that “no Government servant shall be granted extension in service beyond the age of retirement of sixty years”. Despite, the existing F/R and Government policy we are rather witnessing a slow pace in translating State Government’s Cabinet decisions into reality.
Unfortunately, many Government officers managed to be in service as we witnessed in newspaper every now and then, in almost all Department under Manipur Government such as Minor Irrigation, Work Department, CADA, TA/Hills/TRI, Power Department, Medical Directorate etc even after the termination order issued by Government. Most fascinatingly, three officers from TA & Hills and TRI were found re-engaged on contract basis since 2012. A very interesting write up regarding the officer was published in Imphal Times on 28 December, 2016 who, after his retirement in 2012 continuing to hold his post for more than 5 years and has even recruited number of staffs at his own level. This indeed is a very serious case. Firm and strong steps are needed to curb such menace in future.
Secondly, your Cabinet has approved new policy of transfer and posting of Government servants on 30th Nov. 2017 and accordingly, many transfer and posting of Govt. servants’ had been issued and enforced in all the Department, Govt. of Manipur including IAS, IPS, IFS, MCS, MFS, MSS officers etc. and employee under the Manipur Government. As per the policy, normal tenure of posting of an officer/employees will be two years at the minimum and five years at the maximum at a particular place of posting. Any Government servant who brings or attempts to bring any political or other external influence to bear upon any authority including transfers, shall be liable to be severely dealt with and action may be taken against him/her for violation of Rule 20 of the Civil Services Conduct Rules. But there are still some officers who have been posted without any interruption in secretariat alone for more than five/six years. A few months back,I came across in one local daily (Manipuri) regarding the need to streamline the said Department but till today some of the officers are still remain untouched so far. In this regard, the Chief Minister, Manipur and all the concerned Ministers are requested to look into it in the interest of the Government employees of Manipur in particular and for the sake of justice without bias and favouritism.
Interestingly, by the end of this month many Government servants will be retiring and no wonder many must be lobbying for re-engagement as in-charge, OSD, advisors etc. Will the Government allows despite State cabinet decision and which is against F/R 56(d)? Will the administrative Department bypass the Govt. orders? What we need in this hour is bold, justice-oriented and decisive decisions from CM, Manipur and all concerned Ministers of the present Govt. such lobbying from retiring and retired Government officers must be dealt with iron hand irrespective of their reasons, political influences or money power. Here, one thing that needs to be ensured is proper, impartial and unbiased use of various anti-social regulations to take strong, deterrent and timely legal action against such officers. There will be no meaning, no matter how many State Cabinet had taken its decisions for the welfare of the general people, if it is not implemented in letter and spirit. The difference will not be seen in BJP-led Government form the last 15 years Congress-led Govt.
I know that your Government is just 11 months old. It is still too young to make significant change. It is an unspoken trend of every Political Party to blame each other party for every malaise or the other in the State in particular and country in general. BJP-led Government came to power with the promise of bringing change and development in the State. If the BJP-led Government started working in contradictory to its promise and commit the same mistake which the Congress Party had committed over the past 15 years. People of Manipur will no longer have hope and confidence in BJP. There will be no different in all aspects. The promise of ‘Acche Din’, and slogan of ‘Meeyamgi Numit” and “Hill Peoples’ Day” was just another political gimmick. Let BJP-led Government under your dynamic leadership bring the change and development in our State which we are desperately waiting for. Let BJP be the harbinger of change. That will be the ultimate proof of your success.
An open letter to Hon’ble Chief Minister of Manipur
By: M. Brojendro Singh