Friday, July 7, 2017

When should on RETIRE?

By Dilip Awasthi

When should one retire? Answering this question is almost like projecting an appropriate age to die. In fact, one line of thought is that a salaried person dies twice - once when he retires and the last time when he actually does. 

In this country of not only multi-cultures, races, languages, cuisines, we also have a fair sprinkling of a multiplicity of rules and regulations. In fact in many cases, we do have two sets of rules as well - one for the mighty and powerful and the other for the lesser children of God. Even after 70 years of Independence, we have not been able to thrash out weeds and worms ailing our systems.

But forget philosophy and emotions, let's stick to the brass tacks. New U.P.chief secretary Rajiv Kumar on July 6 ordered all departments to screen out officers and employees who have attained an age of 50 tears or more and who are "not fit" to perform their duties. Such screening should be complete by July 31 after which these employees will be "compulsorily" retired by giving them a three-month notice.

On the same day, the Vice-chancellors of the state university held a meeting to recommend raising the retirement age for teachers from 62 to 65 years. The retirement age for doctors has already been raised to65 years. In certain institutes of excellence like the Sanjay Gandhi PGI, the age for retirement of Professor of Eminence has been made 75 years.  Now the wait begins for some more ambitious government officials to grant themselves jobs till they die. The clause would read: "posted as ...... until death."

A confused government is unable to decide whether to back experience or new talent. And how do you decide whether a person - a professional or a clerk, is unfit to work unless he has been declared so by the doctors on health grounds? This would lead to pick and choose and personal likes and dislikes will come into play. 

Instead, why can't we have firm rule fixing the retirement age so that the productivity of the employee remains the main criteria. This has been quite successfully practised in the private sector by the companies and also by professionals who know when to hang their boots. Who told Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, Narayan Moorthy (Infosys) or Rusi Modi and Cyrus Mistry (Tata) to resign.

But then either the system or the individual has to be goal-driven. Unfortunately, in government frequent political changes keep uprooting and shifting the goal-post every now and then. Productivity is possibly the last of the priorities in a government official's serving tenure. Who has ever fixed the productivity of an IAS, IPS official or for that matter that of a clerk or a peon?

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