While the Tamil Nadu government has announced austerity measures, quite a few officers, re-employed post-superannuation, either on extension or contract, are holding key posts, adding to the financial burden on the exchequer.
The officials retired as Additional Directors or Joint Secretaries or Joint Directors or Deputy Secretaries. But they have been re-employed as Officers on Special Duty (OSD), senior/special PA to Ministers, Law Officers, consultants and managers of Asian Development Bank projects, informed sources said. At least 50 of them are re-employed in the Secretariat alone.
Questioning the financial prudence of the exercise, an official alleged that these officials were re-employed for extraneous reasons. “When the Government Order on austerity measures said that even shawls and bouquets were to be avoided, how come these officers continue to be re-employed for several years,” he asked.
In some cases, being in the “good books of Secretaries” mattered. “Such re-employment blocks the supply of fresh blood into the service. In some cases, caste plays a major role in getting an extension. Many of the re-employed persons are from one community in the western region,” an official said.
Almost every department in the Secretariat and even the Legislative Assembly Department, has someone who is re-employed. “There is no regulation on re-employment as none keeps a tab on it. Those, who retired in senior posts and are re-employed on a contract-basis are being paid about ₹2 lakh a month,” he said.
The special PAs to Ministers are working either on the extension of service or on contract-basis after retirement. A Minister is entitled to four PAs — two junior PAs, a senior PA and a special PA, who are in the grade of Assistant Section Officer, Section Officer and Under Secretary or above, respectively. “In addition to these PAs, sometimes, political PAs are also appointed and sometimes they are paid by the government from some other account,” he claimed.
A senior official dealing with State’s finances defended the re-employment. He told The Hindu: “Some officers are employed only when there is a need and in some cases, they have specific technical expertise, which is needed. In some cases of PAs to Ministers, they have some equations with the Ministers and the latter too are more comfortable with these.”
The official added that the re-employed are not paid a consolidated pay in addition to their pension. “The formula adopted is their last drawn pay minus the pension. So, it would not be much,” he added.