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Around one-fifth of posts in Central ministries are vacant

Shishir Sinha New Delhi | Updated on May 14, 2021

Based on sanctioned strength in 2019, vacancy in 2021 can be 16-20%

Over one fifth of the sanctioned strength for Central government civilian employees were vacant as on March 1, 2019, according to a report from the Finance Ministry. Experts feel that distribution of deficit in various Ministries and Departments clearly explain that both reform and social welfare are getting affected.

Report on pay, allowances

“The total number of regular Central government civilian employees employed (including UTs) as on March 1, 2019 was 31.43 lakh as against the sanctioned strength of 40.66 lakh and approximately 22.69 per cent of the posts were vacant,” an annual report on pay and allowances, prepared by Pay Research Unit of the expenditure department under Finance Ministry said.

Previous annual report (2017-18) showed a vacancy of around 18 per cent of the sanctioned strength of little over 38 lakhs as on March 1, 2018. Meanwhile, Budget document for the financial year 2021-22 showed actual strength of civilian employees in 54 Central government ministries and departments were over 32.71 lakh on March 1, 2019. This is estimated to be over 33 lakh on March 1, 2020 and over 34.14 lakh on March 1, 2021. This shows vacancy is still there in the range of 16-20 per cent based on the sanctioned strength of 2019.

Prof K R Shyam Sundar Professor, HRM Area at XLRI - Xavier School of Management, Jamshedpur, says that in the overall deficit, conventional ministries such as defence, coal and post have at least 32 per cent vacancy. Reform-oriented ministries such as commerce & industry, MSME, public enterprises, power and skill development also suffer from higher vacancy. At the same time, public and social welfare ministries such as law & justice, food & PDS and women and child development are also facing shortage.

“The government is neither strengthening pro-reform nor social & public welfare administrative capacity. This cannot be justified by lean government paradigm,” he said.

The latest report covers expenditure on pay and allowances (excluding productivity linked bonus/ad-hoc bonus, honorarium, encashment of earned leave and travelling allowances) for regular Central government employees including those working in UT and missions.

 

Expenditure rises

It says total expenditure rose to over ₹2.08 lakh crore from around ₹1.94 lakh crore, showing an increase of around 7 per cent. The Centre spends almost one tenth of its revenue receipts and nearly 9 per cent of revenue expenditure on this head of expenditure.

Revenue receipts include taxes, duties and receipts in relation to Union Territories without legislature and interest receipts in respect of loans and advances. Revenue expenditure refers to operational cost which neither creates assets nor reduces liability. This is incurred mainly on salaries, pension, wages, subsidies and interest payment.

The report has covered pay out for 10 years period, starting with 2009-10. Barring 2010-11, all years saw increase with highest growth of over 33 per cent in 2009-10 followed by over 21.65 per cent in 2016-17. These two years appear to have registered significant increase on account of pay commission’s pay out.

Published on May 14, 2021

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