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If the central government has its way, it will not deduct the salaries of proven erring and corrupt officials and will not object to them being re-employed in the government either.

In its efforts to streamline the carrot and stick policy for officials, the union ministry for personnel, training and public grievances has proposed a revamp of its system of rewards and punishment.

There are officially two major categories of punishment handed to officials — major and minor penalties.

The first may involve demotion and dismissal and the second, deduction in salary or withholding of increments.

The ministry in its June 3 proposal to a three-member expert panel constituted last month has recommended dilution in both the categories.

The panel, headed by former Union public Service Commission chairman P.C. Hota and comprising former secretary (personnel) Arvind Varma and former Central Vigilance Commission member P. Shankar, was constituted as per a recommendation made by the Second Administrative Reform Commission.

Seeking to redraw the list of major penalties, the ministry’s note made three proposals – demotion of a government servant to a lower rank, removal from the service with no disqualification from future employment with government and dismissal with ban on future government employment.

But here’s the catch.

The ministry note explains that in case an officer is proved guilty of corruption, he or she will either be demoted or removed from service but without a ban on future employment with the government.

There is no mention of the third clause – dismissal with a permanent ban on future employment with government.

This virtually renders the third option redundant.

The ministry has also proposed to drop ‘compulsory retirement’ for erring officials saying it is neither punitive nor has any deterrent effect on corrupt or erring officials.

On minor penalties, where the action is mainly on stopping or cutting of wages, the ministry’s note proposes to altogether eliminate the present provision for reducing the present salary of an inefficient or corrupt government official.

It instead says the officials’ annual increments be withheld for a period of three or at the most five years.

Presently, the rules say the increment can be withheld for any number of years.

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