Cabinet Secretaries are set to get a four-year term, regardless of their age of superannuation. The move, which would send a ripple of discontent among civil servants, will be cleared by the Cabinet when it meets on Thursday.
The decision was made by the prime minister when the government extended the term of the present Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar, merely needs a cabinet ratification.
Initially, it was a two-year fixed term. Following an amendment in the statute books it was upgraded to “three years”. Now, all cabinet secretaries will get a term of “up to four years”.
This was necessary under Rule 12 of the Allocation of Business Rules which permit the PM to take a decision in an emergency and have it ratified post-facto by the Cabinet.
However, civil servants say this will be a serious disincentive for ambitious bureaucrats because once a cabinet secretary is appointed and holds on to the post for four years, those around him will retire.
A civil servant is subject to the vagaries of the government of the day. Now, if he does what the government wants him to do, he will be rewarded with the plum of a four-year fixed term.
K M Chandrasekhar’s term ends in June 2011. Civil servants are speculating whether Chandrasekhar will complete the four years, as another IAS officer who enjoys the confidence of the government, Pulok Chatterji, a 1974-batch IAS from the Uttar pradesh cadre, is currently executive director of the World Bank, in Washington. His term ends in February 2011.