NEW DELHI: The Modi government, apprehensive of “vital information getting leaked’”, has given all private consultants working with it their marching orders. They will have to leave office by the end of May.
“There are a lot of allegations of policy documents and vital information being leaked from the government. That is why the decision,’’ an official told Express.
The government had earlier decided to have them leave by the end of 2016. There are close to 1,200 consultants working in various arms of the government, with the Health Ministry having the most.
According to another official, the government took this decision as it is of the view that these consultants influence policy-making processes.
“This is true especially of those coming from international agencies like USAID and DFID,’’ said the official. But not all are happy with the decision.
“We hire consultants because there is a huge shortage in staff. The government is not hiring any more. Then from where will we get the support?’’ asked an additional secretary-level official. He said that some consultants brought to the table lots of expertise in the field and had been quite helpful.
According to sources, the screening committee is being flooded with requests from various ministries seeking exemptions. “It will take quite some time to find replacements. But if these people leave immediately we will be at loss,’’ said the official.
He said the Screening Committee had already given grace periods to a few as their leaving would result in a huge chasm within those ministries.
The government had set the ball rolling in the beginning of the year when the Expenditure Secretary, on instructions from PMO, asked all ministries to furnish details of consultants working with them.
We hire consultants because there is a huge shortage in staff. The government is not hiring any more. Then from where will we get the support?
Addl secretary-level officer