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House panel concerned over key govt vacancies, Rs 9 trn under tax disputes

The committee recommended grouping of ministries into clusters like 'rural cluster, 'social cluster' and 'financial cluster'

Archis Mohan  |  New Delhi 

Office space vacancy hits 5-yr low
Parliament panel expressed concern at the shortage of 1494 IAS officers. It has backed promotion of ‘lateral entrants’, who are contractual, to retain the best talent in the civil services

A parliamentary panel has asked the Centre to fill up in the Indian Administrative Services (IAS), judiciary, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), Central Information Commission (CIC) and the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal.

The Department Related Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice presented two reports on demands for grants for 2020-21 to the on Friday.

The committee recommended grouping of ministries into clusters like ‘rural cluster, ‘social cluster’ and ‘financial cluster’, and assign civil servants with suitable domain knowledge to specific clusters. "Once assigned to a particular sector, the civil servant will spend the rest of his career within the sector concerned," it said. The committee said this would "enable civil servants to acquire skills, expertise and professional excellence in a particular domain."

The committee expressed concern at the shortage of 1494 IAS officers. It has backed promotion of ‘lateral entrants’, who are contractual, to retain the best talent in the civil services.

The committee observed that the ‘360-degree performance appraisal of civil servants’, based on the assessment by an expert committee and feedback from various stakeholders and juniors, should not harm honest and deserving civil servants who enforce discipline and performance. The committee, headed by Bharatiya Janata Party’s Bhupender Yadav, called for reorienting the training curriculum to make civil servants ‘emotionally intelligent’.

It asked the Centre to fill the 1281 in the Taking note of allocation of Rs 802 crore for against the projection of Rs 1386 crore, the committee said fund constraint should not impede from discharging its mandate effectively and recommended higher allocation.

It said Rs 9.32 trillion is locked up in tax disputes on account of 89,398 appeals pending in the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal. It called for filling up of 41 in the tribunal out of total strength of 126.

The committee also recommended linking of Aadhar identity card number with voter identity card to eliminate multiplicity of voter card.

The Committee noted that 48,000 cases are still pending disposal in Central Administrative Tribunal because of human resource and infrastructure deficit. It recommended a pre-litigation conciliation mechanism to resolve the grievances of government servants.

For judiciary, the committee noted that judicial delays cost 0.5 per cent of the GDP of the country. It said the increase in pendency in cases was a cause for worry. Pendency of cases has increased by 8 per cent, 29 per cent, and 21 per cent in the Supreme Court, High Courts and subordinate Courts respectively since 2018.

The committee asked for filling of 397 vacancies of Judges, which is 37 per cent of the sanctioned 1,079 posts. There are 5,146 vacant posts of judicial officers in the subordinate courts accounting for 21 per cent of the total 24,018 posts.

Every year approximately 35 to 40 percent of posts of judges remains unfilled. The vacancy position of judges is severe in High Courts of Allahabad (55), Calcutta (32), Punjab and Haryana (30), Rajasthan (29), Gujarat (25), Delhi (25) and Bombay (23).

The highest number of cases in subordinate courts are pending in Uttar Pradesh (76,44,642), followed by Maharashtra (38,09,995), Bihar (28,62,829), West Bengal (22,85,005) and Rajasthan (16,81,942).

The committee expressed concern at the shortage of good quality personnel to draft proposed laws and gazette notifications leading to drafting errors and ambiguity in the law. It observed that of 463 sanctioned positions in the legal department, posts related to drafting officers are only 44.

The committee observed that there is a 260 percent increase in payment of fees to the legal counsels/advisers by the law ministry in last 11 years and around 4,32,000 cases relating to government are pending. It asked the government to fill up six positions of additional solicitors general of India.

The committee said it was concerned that 35 per cent (11,226) out of 32,403 notaries are lying vacant in various states. There are 100 per cent vacancies in Telangana, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Daman Diu and Andaman Nicobar Islands. Large number of vacancies also exist in Gujarat (1,422), Madhya Pradesh (858), Telangana (800), Bihar (747) and Uttar Pradesh (710).

First Published: Fri, March 06 2020. 20:37 IST