NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Railways has decided to weed out underperformers and employees over 55 years of age, spreading panic across the central government employees in all sectors. However, HR consultants say the move is likely to improve the efficiency of government services.
In a letter dated July 27, the ministry asked all its zonal offices to submit a list of all employees who will be attaining the age of 55 years or complete 30 years of service by early 2020. Sources said those making the list would be offered premature retirement. The board has set August 9 as the last date for submission of the details.
Sources said the exercise was part of a periodic review the ministry was undertaking. “Employees whose performance is not up to the mark or have disciplinary issues will be offered premature retirement,” a ministry source said. The ministry plans to bring down the strength of employees to 10 lakh from the current 13 lakh, the source added.
The move has sparked anxiety and insecurity among central government employees. “If the railways can do it, other departments can also do it. The order has instilled fear among us,” a senior Parliament official said.
Retired staff also share the feeling. “This government is looking to weed out the current set of employees. We first saw that with the lateral entry scheme and now this letter. This is not right. I feel for the staff who are going to be affected by the move,” a former director of Paradip Port said.
Interestingly, the HR community has hailed the move. A top Pune-based HR consultant said such moves by the government are necessary to keep the quality of work in check. “For any establishment to work efficiently, there is a need for periodic quality check and only the fittest survive. I feel it is a great move. The quality of the government’s work will improve immensely due to this,” she said.
A Hyderabad-based HR manager of a top software company said, “It is very important to weed out the underperformers. Only because they are government employees, it doesn’t give them any leeway to be complacent.”