Lucknow, July 8: The Uttar Pradesh government is contemplating "compulsory retirement" for employees aged 50 years and above if they are found neglecting their duty, an order that has not gone down well with the workforce.
Around four lakh employees out of a total of 16 lakh working with the state government would come under the ambit of the screening and a detailed report of their work and performance would have to be submitted by department heads by July 31, a senior government official said.
"You all (departmental heads) should complete screening of all the employees above 50 years of age for compulsory retirement by July 31. For considering 50 years of age, the cut off date will be March 31, 2018," a government order issued by Additional Chief Secretary Mukul Singhal read.
"It means employees who have completed 50 years by this date will be considered for screening," the order said. It also said that according to rules, any government employee -- whether temporary or permanent -- can opt for retirement.
The order has, however, not gone down well with the employees, with the president of the UP Secretariat Employees' Association, Yadavendra Mishra, saying that such attempts were aimed at harassing government servants.
"It will not be tolerated," he said, adding that a meeting would be held here tomorrow to discuss the order and decide the future course of action, which might include going on strike if the state government goes ahead with the exercise to force out senior government employees.
While such orders have been in vogue since 1986, they were not being implemented in letter and spirit by several departments, officials said. Now to make sure that the order is implemented, all departments have been asked to complete screening of employees for the purpose of compulsory retirement by July 31, the order said.
Employees who have crossed 50 years on March 31, 2017, will have to undergo screening, it said. The order, dated July 6, has been marked to the additional chief secretary, the principal secretaries and the secretaries in the government.
Quoting original Rule 56 of the Finance Handbook, the order said that the appointing authority, at any given time, can retire temporary or permanent government employees by giving notice after attainment of 50 years of age. The time period of this notice will be three months. It also quoted the order issued by the state personnel department on October 26, 1986, which while giving guidelines for the same, defined in detail the structure of the screening committee.
Following this, orders were passed in 1989, 2000 and 2007 as well for the implementation of the same. However, officials said the orders were not being implemented by several departments and screening committees were not meeting annually as per the rules. To improve the work culture in the state, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has given clear instructions that his government will not allow corrupt or non-performing officials to remain in service as they are a liability and affect good governance, a senior official said, adding that no motive should be imputed in it.
Immediately after taking over as the chief minister last year, Adityanath had said that he would be strict in duty timings and officials needed to be punctual. Adityanath had ordered for a similar exercise last year in May-June to screen IAS and IPS officers who had crossed the age of 50. The exercise was aimed at giving voluntary retirement to those who were found corrupt or non-performing. However, none of them was forced to retire despite a list being submitted to the government, officials said.
Expressing strong opposition, the UP IAS Association had at that time said such practice was against the Department of Personnel and Training rules. The Centre has been reviewing the performance of officers above the age of 50.