Central government officials wore black clothes, took out marches and refused to work extra hours on Friday amid the Union government’s failure to grant them timely promotions. The middle to senior rank government officials who comprise the Central Secretariat Service (CSS) have not been promoted for the past six years, forcing many to retire without enhanced financial benefits. The lack of promotions has created huge vacancies in the CSS, leading to increased workload, said an official.
After repeated pleas to the government fell on deaf ears, hundreds of CSS officials showed up in office on Friday in black clothes as a mark of protest.
“All CSS officials are overburdened with work. The government has launched over 250 schemes in the past six years and their implementation is on us. As a mark of protest we decided not to work beyond 5.30 p.m. We will work strictly as per the manual,” said a CSS official who participated in the protest.
The “non-cooperation” movement was observed in various Central government offices — Udyog Bhavan, North Block, Nirman Bhavan, Shastri Bhavan, CGO complex and the Defence Ministry among others.
The CSS Forum, an umbrella association of officers, said in a statement that the members met Personnel Minister Jitendra Singh on February 8 and were assured that all the service-related matters, including timely promotions, would be resolved soon. “However, till date even after three months not even a single matter has been resolved, hence this non-cooperation movement.”
Ad hoc promotions
The forum demanded that for the benefit of employees retiring on May 31, the Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT), the Ministry concerned, should issue “ad hoc promotions” and the regular promotion process might simultaneously be fast-tracked.
CSS officials play a key role in government functions such as drafting policy documents and other orders. There are more than 6,300 posts in the rank of section officer, under secretary, deputy secretary, director and joint secretaries drawn from the CSS pool. Of this total strength, as many as 1,960 positions are vacant as officials have not been promoted for the past six years and many retired without being promoted.