Good news! Centre to promote 8,089 employees, considers reservation provisions
The Union government has passed an order promoting 8,089 officials, including giving reservations in the promotion to people from the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST), as per officials familiar with the development. There will be 4,734 officers promoted in the Central Secretariat Service (CSS). Many of these regular promotions have been pending for more than six years, sparking outrage for many years.
- This is reportedly one of the most significant orders for mass promotions issued by the central government.
- In 2019, 4,000 officers were promoted across the three Central Secretariat cadres, marking the last time such extensive promotions were announced.
- In February, a delegation of officials met Union Minister for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Jitendra Singh, to discuss the ongoing promotion and other service matters.
Several promotions, including requests for implementing reservations in promotions applicable up to the level of undersecretary in the government, have been pending for several years. According to Hindustan Times, the Department of Personnel and Training issued several orders recently informing officials of their promotions. "Several orders have already been issued, while others are in process," an official stated, requesting anonymity.
There are 327 promotions to the position of Director, 1,097 promotions to the position of Deputy Secretary, and 1,472 promotions to the position of Section Officer, all within the CSS. In addition to the 1,208 principal private and 253 senior private secretaries, the mass promotions included stenographers, Principal Staff Officers, clerks, and others in the Central Secretariat Stenographers' Service and Central Secretariat Clerical Service.
Reservation in promotion has been a contentious issue, leading to several court cases. However, a final judgment on the issue was passed in 2006, where three requirements were set on the reservation in promotion by the Supreme Court's Constitution bench. These include collecting quantifiable data demonstrating the group's backwardness; ensuring administrative effectiveness; and demonstrating the group's inadequate representation at particular levels of public employment.
In the 2018 Jarnail Singh case, the Supreme Court's other Constitution bench also supported the requirement of quantifiable data, despite several review petitions. The court ruled that although governments aren't required to collect information on how backward these groups are, the benches upheld the other two criteria and required that the "creamy layer" be excluded before granting reservations in promotion, reportedly addressing all concerns.
Subsequently, in April 2022, the government finally issued an official order requiring all central ministries to begin gathering information regarding SC-ST representation of employees at all levels. This was a critical first step in implementing the due promotion reservations for the vulnerable sections that have been reportedly subjected to workplace discrimination for using government policies, hindering their growth based on their identity.
The CSS consists of Group A and Group B posts and is the foundation of public administrative work in central government. The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) selects them through a competitive examination. Out of the total 8,089 positions which are up for promotion, 727 are reserved for SCs, and 207 are reserved for STs, while as many as 5,032 are unreserved positions.