Civil Services Reforms

What is Civil Services Board?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Civil Services Board and its functions

Mains level: Civil services reforms

Punjab government notifying Civil Services Board providing for a fixed tenure of IAS officers has left its leaders in the state upset.

Practice questions for mains:

Q. Discuss how fixed tenure for Civil Servants helps provide better administration.

What is the Civil Services Board (CSB)?

  • Civil Services Board is responsible for the entry-level recruitment and subsequent job promotions below the rank of Joint Secretary.
  • As per a state government notification dated June 2, CSB will be headed by Chief Secretary, with Personnel Secretary, and either Financial Commissioner (Revenue) or Home Secretary (who so ever is senior in the pecking order) as its members.
  • The board provides for the state to follow the Centre’s guidelines on giving a fixed tenure of at least two years for cadre officers.
  • They cannot be transferred before that and if anyone recommends their transfer then the board will examine and affect it.
  • The final authority is the Chief Minister.

Why had the previous government in the state declined to follow the Centre’s guidelines?

  • The previous government had refused to follow the guidelines on the argument that appointment and transfer of IAS officers are a prerogative of the state.
  • If their term is fixed, it had argued, it will not only create functional and administrative problems but also overstep the authority and jurisdiction of the state government.

Why are the leaders upset?

  • The political leadership of the ruling party in the state has usually always had a say in postings and transfers of district officials in the state.
  • The opposition has been known to lend supremacy to its leadership over bureaucrats in the state.
  • But ever since the ruling government has taken over, the grouse of its leaders has been that they do not get due respect in their own regime.
  • This has led to several confrontations in the past.
  • With the fixed tenure rule and Chief Secretary’s board having all power to examine a recommendation for a transfer, the leaders feel their influence has been reduced to nought and all power handed to the CS.

How do they see the board to be lending officer’s supremacy over them?

  • If any officer is to be transferred before completing his minimum tenure, the board will record the reasons for the transfer.
  • It will seek views from the concerned officer and then give a judgement on whether the tenure of the officer is to be ended mid-way.
  • The final authority will be the CM.

What is the government’s argument in its favour?

  • It says if the officials have a fixed tenure they will be able to provide better administration.
  • They will also feel safe and try to stick to the rules instead of pleasing political bosses.
  • It says every official requires 3-6 months to get into the groove at his new place of posting.
  • If he stays there for two years, it would mean better delivery and stable tenure to people.

What do the officials say?

  • They feel the rules will not be followed in letter and spirit unless a few officers go to the courts and ensure that the guidelines are followed.
  • They say that neighbouring Haryana had the board in place but the guidelines were not followed.

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