IOFS Officers In Logjam With Defence Ministry

Cancel selection of Directors and CMDs, keep the registration of OFB Corporations pending IOFSA Urges Rajanth Singh

The Federation and 4 lakhs Defence Civilian Employees are already in a war path with the Defence Ministry. Agitation against the Draconian EDSO Bill 2021 passed in the Parliament and Corporatization of the Ordnance Factories is going on in all the Defence Establishments. Already the AIDEF and BPMS has questioned Rajnath Singh about his statement made in the Parliament that he has taken the unions in to confidence before passing the EDSO Bill.

Now, generally the silent IOFS Officers have also come to the field protesting against the decision of Defence Ministry selecting the CMDs and Directors of the new seven corporations in a hasty and without following any norms and procedures. The IOFS officers Association has shot a letter on 09/08/2021 to the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh challenging the Government decision accessed a copy of the IOFSA letter written to the Defence Minister. The relevant portion of the letter is published here for the benefit of our viewers.

(7) These selections were neither done according to the criteria of an impartial body like the Union Public Service Commission which recommends the government for selection to high government posts, nor through the PESB which selects for the corporations. from or according to their norms. If you are selecting a government officer for a post with government service conditions, then it is necessary to comply with the fairness criteria that are followed for such selection. The Promotion Committee for the post of the highest Secretary to the Government of India also follows the instructions given in this regard by the Department of Personnel or Training. According to him, if the senior officer fulfills the prescribed qualification to sit for the post, then that post cannot be given to a junior officer by exceeding it. But in the election of CMD and functional directors, on what basis a senior officer was not found eligible, only the ministry, which is closed under the purview of secrecy, knows. He has the right to know the decision of the selection committee even if a senior officer is not selected for the highest posts of the central government. The officer can get a copy of the minutes and decisions of the Promotion Committee of the Union Public Service Commission and can become aware of the grounds for his non-election. Further, the business of the Committee is also regulated by the prescribed instructions of the Ministry of Personnel and Training. Here no one knows the criteria of selection nor the reason for not being selected, any officer was called for interview without any definite criteria in advance and no one was called. And even the just reason behind such opacity is not known and by arbitrarily disregarding competent senior officers, they are being humiliated and the morale of the service is being broken.

(8) Since no one knows the basis of selection and no transparency has been maintained in this regard, it is not known how much importance was given to many excellent officers whose achievements are recorded in their Annual Work Appraisal Report and through interview. done How much importance was given to the evaluation done or the interview was done ignoring everything else. There was only one way to select the preferred officers, there are many questions to which the answer is not available. Financial management is of most importance to any corporation. Whether the Financial Functional Director of a new corporation can be selected from amongst the few junior officers who have never done financial management work in their entire life and have no special experience or qualifications on the basis of which they are suddenly selected for the post. From day one they will start the job of excellent financial management which is extremely complex and requires expertise. Similarly, among the functional directors of human resources, those officers were selected who had not worked in the field of human resources throughout their life. If such a non-specialist and non-experienced junior officer was selected for this post, then on what basis other senior candidate officers were found not eligible to be selected for the said post? There are many officers whose ability and performance are excellent and there is no stain on them throughout their service life, yet on what basis they were sidelined, it is covered with secrecy. Secrecy should not be a shield to protect discretion. Therefore, I request you to kindly cancel this selection and keep the registration of the corporation pending on this ground till the fair and transparent selection is done without violating the rules. Disregarding the seniority of the senior officers in this selection without any valid reason is a ruthless attempt to break the morale of the service.

(9) Sir, in times of transition, while your assurance creates confidence, the actions proposed by the Ministry are going to break that trust. The most disturbing and trust-busting action in this context is the recent instructions issued by various officers of the Ministry to eliminate the vacant posts for the last two years. And all this is being done in the name of cadre review. The proposal for cadre review was lying with the ministry for months without taking any action. Past experience shows that the proposal for Cadre Review of Indian Ordnance Factory Service is never given priority. Records of the past decades attest to this fact. Ministry officials have been saying that since steps are being taken for corporatisation, there is no justification for cadre review. Now that there is an intention to abolish the posts, the ministry is in such a hurry to review the cadre that their speed is creating less confidence and more surprise. Firstly, the Ministry did not allow the posts to be filled despite the need for work from the previous years. This decision of the Ministry was not related to the functional requirements, then now it is being said that the posts which were not filled should be abolished. You did not fill the vacancies forcefully and now are intent on terminating the post forcibly. Cadre review is not just a short-sighted tool to meet urgency needs. Cadre review is not done just to eliminate positions.

(10) The structure of Group-A organized service is based on the policies of the Department of Personnel and Training. A cadre has an authorized number of posts in the light of those policies. There is a logical allocation of the number of those authorized posts in the hierarchy as per the policy. There will be no cadre of organized Group-A service under the Central Government in which there is no gap between the authorized strength and the available strength, so is there a cadre review every two years to eliminate only this gap?

(11) The terms of service (which have been repeatedly assured to be kept unchanged) also implied a clear path for career upgradation. Thus, eliminating posts under the guise of cadre review will result in imbalance in the hierarchies, adversely affecting the chances of career advancement. This is an unethical reversal of assurances of keeping the service conditions unchanged and is a serious blow to the trust that we had in our Cadre Controlling Authority.

On the recent stance taken by the IOFSOA, contacted C. Srikumar, General Secretary of AIDEF and sought his views on this. He stated that in the past when the Government took steps to corporatize the Ordnance factories by implementing the recommendations of Nair Committee and Kelkar Committee the IOFSOA also opposed corporatization and stood with the Federations in fighting against the Government move. However when the present Modi Government took decision to slice the 41 Ordnance Factories in to 7 pieces AIDEF took initiative and attempted to bring all the Federations CDRA and IOFSOA together on a single platform.

However, IOFSOA was reluctant to Join with the Federations. The Government has very cleverly divided the IOFS officers. Anyway it is good that now the IOFSOA has taken a position to fight back to save at least their cadre. However the issue is not to protect one cadre or the other. It is a question of the existence of the mighty Ordnance Factories, its Human Resources especially the almost 40000 young employees who are covered under the no guarantee NPS system. The fight is to save the Ordnance Factories from liquidation and its committed and devoted efficient workforce. Therefore, IOFSOA should come forward to join the main stream of the workforce and fight unitedly to stall corporatization and to retain the status of the employees as Central Government Employees / Defence Civilian Employees.

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