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Non-performing government officials in Bihar will be asked to retire, according to a new plan to improve productivity. Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Patna: The Bihar government is planning to forcibly retire non-performing officials hoping it will improve the functioning of the government and establish a new work culture. The total number of permanent government staff in Bihar is more than 300,000.

As per the report, the state government has planned to give compulsory retirement to officers who have completed 50 years of age. The state has now announced to form various screening committees to assess the performance of such employees. Each committee to be headed by top home department officials will have three members.

“Various committees are formed for forcible retirement of government servants who have completed 50 years of age and whose efficiency and conduct are not such that they could be allowed to continue in government service,” says a government circular issued recently. As per the circular, such government servants will be given compulsory retirement after proper assessment of their efficiency.

According to the reports, the government wants to get rid of such employees who are inefficient, non-performing and corrupt. They will be fired after a review of their performance twice a year — in June and December.

The move has triggered a storm among government employees who have opposed the move. “Such a move means that the government employees will always work under panic which will further affect their functioning. How will they perform when they are not given a free environment?” asked Bihar Secretariat Services Association’s general secretary Ashok Kumar Singh.

He said the state government had been constantly trying to demoralise the government employees by publicly stating that those above 50 years could be “non-performers”. “The move is conveying a wrong message in society. The government must know that efficiency comes with age and experience. One gains experience after 50, doesn’t it?” Singh asked. He said any move to fire employees aged 50 would leave a huge impact on government functioning.

“We are keeping a close watch on the situation and are in touch with various associations. We will act the moment the government starts victimising our members,” Singh said.

A similar move by the government had triggered a massive storm when the government announced to forcibly retire policemen from the ranks of deputy superintendent of police to constable in August last year. The policemen registered strong protests soon after a letter was issued to all district superintendents of police, asking them to identify and prepare the list of non-performing cops. There are some 90,000 police personnel in Bihar.

The state government has already launched a crackdown on corrupt government servants in Bihar. According to an official report, a total of 908 government officials have been arrested, jailed and fired from service in the past 15 years over corruption charges. The crackdown was launched soon after the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government headed by chief minister Nitish Kumar came to power in 2005.

This month, a head clerk was arrested in Madhepura district while collecting a bribe of Rs50,000. Last year, nine government servants were arrested while taking bribes. Of the nine, a village council chief in Sitamarhi district was arrested accepting a bribe of Rs314,000.