New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government is in dilemma over of retirement age of Group A officers and other officials.
A top official of Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) on condition of anonymity had earlier hinted to raise the retirement age of Group A officers for another two years from 60 to 62 years and to reduce the retirement age from 60 to 58 years for other officials.
“The government is looking into that, in fact DoPT has received suggestions that the kind of acumen the Group A officers achieve by the time they reach the age of 60 should be put to use for another two years.
So, the government is seriously thinking of enhancing the retirement age of the Central Group A officers to 62 to cover the cost of ageing population, he added.
The official disclosed that the government is not clear on the issue of reduction of retirement age from 60 to 58 years of the central government employees other than Group A owing to the financial burden, likely to be added as pensions, gratuities and other dues of the retiring employees in addition to the salaries to be paid to the new recruits.
The official also disclosed that the government is reluctant to reduce the retirement age from 60 to 58 years for other officials than Group A as of now.
It is an indication that government does not have an efficient succession plan to ensure the smooth takeover of operations by much younger recruitees or that the retirement age needs to be readjusted upwards.
If the reduction of retirement age from 60 to 58 years is implemented, it is going to benefit youths. The young leaders of different political parties and youngsters will welcome the move because it’s to create a confidence among the educated unemployed youth.
When we think about the intensity of the feelings of the government’s proposal to increase the retirement age of Group A officers and the fact that other countries have increased theirs bureaucrats retirement age as well, the question that immediately comes to mind is, why would anyone want to continue to work having reached age 60?
At 60 years, many bureaucrats are still healthy; they love what they do and feel that they still have something to offer to the work world. They have built up a wealth of experience and honed a variety of skills over the years, especially those who continued to upgrade their skills and knowledge base through short-term, on-the-job seminars, Internet learning, or continuing education in college or university.
They are self-sufficient and well able to maintain their independence instead of depending on family members and friends for support.
Some senior bureaucrats enjoy the challenge of learning new skills from tech-savvy youth, while imparting some of their experience in return.
In many countries across the world, the standard retirement age is 65 for men and women while in our country, the retirement age for central government employees is 60. However, in some countries like Norway, Israel and Iceland the retirement age is 67.
In the meantime, as we wait to see whether government will follow the example of the developed countries and raise the retirement age of all central government employees including Group A, B and C, who still have not given much thought as to how they will occupy themselves having attained the age of 60, need to start doing so now.
It was with this, as well as other factors in mind that the idea of increasing the retirement age of all central government employees was discussed in the previous Manmohan Singh’s government and the recommendation was to be submitted to the Cabinet, but we are not aware that any decision was yet to be made.
“Amongst 48.85 lakh central government employees, 85% are holding Group-‘C’ posts and 12% are holding Group-‘B’ posts whereas employees holding Group –‘A’ posts are only about 3%,” the official confirmed.
The official also said any proposal to increase the retirement age of the Central Group A officers would not be hampering the financial health of the government because only 3 per cent regular Group A officers, who will get this facility.
Besides Central Group A officers, it will also be implemented to All India Service officers (IAS, IPS and IFS), he assured.
He added increasing the bar on retirement age would halt the job progress of those in the lower position to get promoted.
“If government keep raising, those who are supposed to be promoted will be affected … the government accept the idea but government needs to study it thoroughly,” he suggested.
Earlier Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India has more than 65% of its population below the age of 35, but at the moment the government plans to increase the retirement age of Group A officers as average life expectancy rises.
Hence, the official admits that the move to enhance the retirement age is bound to boomerang as this will antagonise the youth.
However, There are several secretaries heading different departments have to cross their retirement age, but now they may be retained by the government owing to their experience and expertise.