[Editorial Analysis] How governments use job transfers to punish

Mains Paper 4: Ethics

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Job transfers, roles and accountability

Context

• Job transfers are a huge matter for governments and their employees, a source of constant worry for employees and apparent satisfaction for governments.

• Renaming places has been a notable passion of the National Democratic Alliance government. Roads have been renamed after national heroes and cities sought to be returned to names from the glorious past.

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s last executive orders of 2018 was to rename three islands of Andaman and Nicobar, one of them, Ross Island, after independence icon Subhash Chandra Bose.

Significance of Job transfers

• Job transfers are a huge matter for governments and their employees, a source of constant worry for employees and apparent satisfaction for governments.

• One obvious reason is the uneven development of this massive country, which means that you can be living in a bungalow in the centre of a metropolis one day, with your children going to fine schools and find yourself in the boondocks tomorrow with crumbling accommodation, failing schools and no shopping malls.

• The other, less obvious, reason is that governments tend to wield the matter of transfers cynically, as a tool for punishment, injecting an element of unpredictability into an official’s career.

• And this, in turn, means that a government official duty-bound to accept a posting can spend their entire career fretting about one question alone: where the hell next?

• A bunch of sleuths belonging to India’s premier investigative agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation, posted back and forth in a farcical series of events, would be forgiven for asking themselves the same question recently.

• The whole episode has its roots in a system of compromised independence of the CBI, to the point where the agency is often seen as acting on behalf of the ruling political dispensation against opposition politicians.

Conclusion

• In the long list of places where ‘government officials should on no account find themselves to be posted’, Port Blair would figure near the top, along with towns in the remote regions of the North-East.

• These are all areas dominated by indigenous tribes (hence, neglected for development schemes).

• Another place government officials try to stay away from is Jammu and Kashmir, on account of armed hostilities against New Delhi.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) Which of the following find mention in the constitution?

1. All Parliamentary Committees

2. Cabinet Committees

3. Committees established by President to report on the condition of SCs and STs

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

a) 1 and 2 only

b) 3 only

c) 2 and 3 only

d) 1, 2 and 3

Correct Answer: B

Mains Questions:

Q.1) Critically examine the impact of job transfers on government employees.

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