NEW DELHI: The Standing Committee on Finance red-flagged staff shortages at several departments under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs on Tuesday, noting that the increasing quantum of work made filling vacancies a critical task.
According to the report, tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) have 133 posts which remain vacant out of a combined sanctioned workforce of 325. A vacancy rate of over 40 per cent.
“The Committee notes that the multi-year pattern of high vacancies and lack of human resources should be addressed at a structural level so that these gaps are closed as soon as possible. MCA's various regulatory entities are critically important for a smooth functioning economy. They should be suitably equipped in terms of human capital and systems so that they can provide necessary support to the economy,” the report said.
In the case of the SFIO, the Standing Committee observed that out of 91 cases assigned since 2016-17, only 35 have been completed so far. “Keeping in mind the large number of cases and the rising workload with greater complexity, the Ministry should strengthen the workforce in SFIO,” the Committee said. The government, for its part, has submitted that efforts are being made to improve the situation by expediting the selection process, incentivising posting of officials through a special grant of 20 per cent of Basic Pay and engagement of technical consultants.
The situation is not much different at the competition watchdog, with the Committee pointing out that out of a total of 192 sanctioned posts, only 123 posts have been filled.
The two departments are not the only ones to have attracted the scrutiny of the Committee on staff vacancies. In the case of the Investor Education and Protection Fund (IEPF) Authority, which was established in 2016 with the objective of promoting investor education and make refunds of shares, unclaimed dividends and matured deposits, the Committee says that the quantum of work has increased “manifold during the last two years and the Authority may be required to dispose of 12,000 claims every year”.
“The number of claims have been increasing steeply year after year, from 343 in 2016-17, to 3,683 in 2017-18 and 10,661 in 2018-19…. the manpower requirements of the Authority needs to be addressed expeditiously in order to meet the increasing number of claims,” the report said.