State's money-saving tip: Outsource government jobs

Feb 08, 2013, 07:56 IST | Ravikiran Deshmukh

Crippled by about 1.25 lakh vacancies, the finance department has asked ministries to appoint contractors to handle these responsibilities

If you’ve wondered why pending matters rarely get resolved in government offices, then the fact that 1.25 lakh vacancies exist in the sector at this moment should be a giveaway.

As low finances have prevented recruitment, the state is thinking of outsourcing responsibilities to save money. Representational pic

Of these, 1.05 lakh are in state government offices, while the remaining are with Zilla Parishads. This massive manpower shortage is affecting delivery of services across Maharashtra - rural and urban - every minute. But lack of adequate finances has prevented fresh recruitment. Now, to tide over the crisis, the government has issued orders to outsource these responsibilities, which will enable it to save funds.

A senior government official said the state is in no position to fill all these vacancies as there is a blanket ban on hiring, adding that only essential services have been made an exception - for instance in the case of talathis, who maintain details of land records and function as facilitators for revenue department.

The serpentine queues outside tehsil and district collectors’ offices is because of many unoccupied positions among the clerical staff. It’s cold comfort that instead of prohibiting recruitment completely, a 3% upper limit has been set. A majority of the vacancies, over 61,000, are at the Group-C level, comprising junior staffers and assistants who mostly execute book-keeping jobs.

The state also requires 10,000 Group A and approximately 15,000 Group B employees. According to a senior official from general administration department in Mantralaya, the government has not been able to communicate precise demand with technical details to Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC), as a lot of information in this regard turned to ashes during the June 2012 fire at the state headquarters.

The state finance department has asked all other ministries to outsource certain services in accordance with their requirements. This should result in saving 10 to 25 per cent of government funds, says a circular issued by the department. It has also asked for appointment of contractors and distinct agreements on services, making it clear that the state government will not take any responsibility for the staffers employed by the contractors.

The expenses incurred for the outsourcing will be demonstrated as office expenses and not as payment on services. Leader of Opposition in State Assembly Eknath Khadse said the state is facing its worst ever crisis because of inept handling of finances. 

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