Bar on promotions to govt. staff to go

Bangalore Nov. 10. In a directive bringing cheer to thousands of Karnataka Government employees up to the rank of class one officers, the Chief Secretary, B.S. Patil, on Monday, said the bar on promotions and increments for them, which had been in force since 1997, would be relaxed or cancelled. The matter would be brought before the Cabinet for approval.

Mr. Patil told the principal secretaries and the secretaries of departments at a meeting in the Vidhana Soudha that it was unfair to deny benefits to the employees, which had not been frozen in the case of IAS and IPS officers and other heads of departments.

Mr. Patil told The Hindu that the Government Order issued by the Finance Department in 1997 kept pending promotions and increments as an economy measure. With the freeze being lifted, promotions should be given if 80 per cent of the vacant posts had been abolished. Moreover, it should not affect direct recruitment. Second and first division assistants, superintendents, managers, and class one and two officers would benefit from this direction.

He said it was not fair to make them wait for long for promotions.

The Principal Secretary, Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms, was asked to prepare a file in this regard and bring it before the Cabinet for approval.

He said a major success had been achieved in clearance of files since January. As many as 1.91 lakh files had been cleared up to October end. The rate of file clearance went up from 3.9 per cent to 34.26 per cent during the period. Still, 1.28 lakh files were pending in various departments. Of the 19,490 files cleared in October, 3,811 were more than three years' old. He had instructed the officials to ensure that files pending for more than three years should be cleared in November itself.

He gave a specific instruction to deputy commissioners to check their computers for e-mails and use the system for availing leave or going out of station, which most of them were following. They should e-mail the messages to him.

Ceiling raised

In another major decision, the secretaries and the heads of department were allowed to release up to Rs. 50 lakh at one go without the consent of the Finance Department, provided the allocation had been earmarked in the Budget. Now, they are required to send proposal to the Finance Department for approval if the sum involved is more than Rs. 20 lakh. But the secretaries requested the Chief Secretary to raise the amount to Rs. 1 crore, which, the latter said, would be considered.

Mr. Patil said development works were being delayed unnecessarily because of certain orders. Citing a case pertaining to the appointment of a doctor to a super-speciality hospital in a rural area, he said the educational qualification required for the post was a postgraduate degree. Because of this, many such posts had not been filled. He had asked the Deputy Commissioner concerned to appoint an MBBS graduate to the post on contract basis using his discretion. The people should not suffer.

The Chief Secretary, who has attended review meetings in seven districts, will be touring Shimoga, Bidar and Gulbarga this month. The officers, including the district in-charge secretaries and the Ministers, will attend the meeting and take on-the-spot decisions if serious issues of law and policy matters are not involved.

Mr. Patil said in Chitradurga, an Urdu school building was on the verge of collapse and it could not be repaired for want of funds.

He sanctioned Rs.2 lakh and the building was saved. In another case, he said the villagers of Kasavara Katti in the district were demanding land for a burial ground and he asked the Deputy Commissioner to allocate land.

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