In the past, contract appointments were made against a few selected posts whereas, the bulk of appointments in the Government sector were made on regular basis.
Contract Appointment – Punjab Govt Policies
However, during the last few years, it has been increasingly realized that the regular mode of appointment is not suitable for most of the Government sector assignments due to administrative and financial factors.
The Government has now generally shifted from regular mode of appointment to the contract mode, in view of the changing management practices and to achieve the goals of good governance in public sector departments/organizations. Despite this major shift in policy, no legal/policy framework, governing various aspects of contract appointment, is available except the general guidelines issued by Finance Department regarding terms and conditions of contract appointment.
As a result, a number of confusions keep arising, especially with respect to the contract appointments of persons who are already working on regular basis in the Government sector.
To clarify the legal position of contract appointments and to provide policy guidelines for the same, a comprehensive Contract Appointment Policy, has been framed which is hereby issued as under:
Brief History of Contract Appointment in Punjab
(i) Historically, contract appointments were made against very few posts in case of:
(b) Development Projects.
(c) Tenure posts, for example Member PPSC, Ombudsman, etc.
(ii) Contract appointments were started in bulk in Health Department from the year 1996-97 onwards.
(iii) Education Department also shifted to the contract mode of appointment from the year 2000-2001 onwards.
(iv) In June 2003, Finance Department issued a circular letter No.E&A(FD)12-7/2003(P) dated 02.06.2003 stating that all appointments be made on contract, unless otherwise allowed.
(v) Consequently, almost all appointments in Government Departments were made in the contract mode, under the Recruitment Policy- Phase-I.
(vi) Under Recruitment Policy Phase-II issued vide No.SORIV(S&GAD)10-1/2003 dated 17.09.2004, it has again been clearly specified that all appointments should be made in the contract mode unless specifically allowed otherwise by the Chief Minister, on the recommendations of the Contract Appointments Regulations Committee (CARC).
Contract Appointment Due To Financial/Economic Reasons
(a) Due to financial constraints the Government had imposed ban on recruitment since long, under the Economy Measures.
(b) The Government could not even foot the bill of salaries let alone the pension bill.
(c) The financial burden of the annual pension bill has accumulated to the tune of Rs. 10 billion (approx). The budget estimates of annual pension liability have risen from 1739.230 million in 199091 to Rs. 9734.935 million in 2000-05. Such steep increase in the rate of pension liability cannot be sustained by the Province.
Contract Appointment Due To Administrative Reasons
(a) Large-scale practice of absenteeism of regular Government servants, especially in the case of Health and Education sectors.
(b) The performance of regular employees had become abysmal leading to poor service delivery.
(c) Regular employees became too secure in their service, leading to poor performance.
(d) Cumbersome accountability mechanisms under E&D Rules as well as PRSO, with the result that no meaningful action could be taken against poor performers.
(e) Huge administrative costs on transfers/promotions, etc., of regular employees as administrative machinery remained totally engrossed in these functions instead of focusing on supervisory and policy making functions.
(f) Regular mode of appointments did not distinguish between better and poor performers, resultantly all and sundry would be promoted to the next higher scale, undeservingly.
(g) No concept of performance based indicators for retention in service resultantly, inefficient and corrupt elements continued in service without any hindrance.
(h) Contract mode of appointments is a preferred mode in all private enterprises providing the employers all the flexibility to tap in the best human resources available in the market. Hence performance in private sector is generally considered much better as compared to the performance in the Government sector.
(i) Latest management practices in the developed world also recommend contract mode of appointments with better pay packages, for improved performance and service delivery, resulting in good governance.
Need For Policy Framework For Contract Appointments
(i) Though Government has made a paradigm shift from regular to contract mode of appointments, no policy framework exists to cover contract appointments.
(ii) No uniform policy of contract appointments exists, therefore, departments have adopted various policies leading to disparities at inter and intra-departmental level.
(iii) There is no institutional arrangement for deciding as to whether a certain category of posts is to be filled on contract or regular basis. Resultantly, same category of posts in one department is being filled on regular basis whereas, in other departments it is being filled on contract basis.
(iv) No institutional arrangement for fixing pay packages. Huge disparities in pay packages have, therefore, emerged for same or similar categories of posts.
(v) Contract appointments are being made in various departments without any services rules or without getting the criteria of qualification, etc., approved.
(vi) Numerous problems regarding contract appointments of regular Government servants have emerged e.g., issue of retention of lien, treatment of period spent on contract, pension, etc.