Hundreds of Central Secretariat Service (CSS) officials protested outside the North Block in New Delhi on Friday to demand promotions. The lack of promotions has created around 1,500 vacancies in the middle management ranks.
The CSS is a group of government officials who work in the Central Secretariat, which is the administrative headquarters of the Government of India. The CSS forum, a representative body of all CSS officers, wrote to the Minister of Personnel, Jitendra Singh, on June 8, stating that if eligible officers were not promoted before July 1, they would lose more than ₹10,000 per month in salary. The forum also warned that if promotions were not given on time, there would be more than 50% vacancies in the Section Officer (SO) grade in the Central Secretariat.
An official said that even after a directive from the Prime Minister to provide 10 lakh government jobs by December, there were still more than 1,500 vacancies in the SO grade. This has adversely affected the smooth functioning of government ministries.
Last year, after sustained protests, the DoPT moved a proposal to promote eligible Assistant Section Officers. However, only around 250 people were promoted. Around 800 eligible people have been waiting for promotion for the last one year, even though there are ample vacancies.
Section Officers play a key role in the Secretariat administration. They are responsible for distributing work among other officials, coordinating work, and issuing letters and other communications on time.
As of January 1, the sanctioned strength of CSS officers at all levels was 13,016. The vacancies as of May 1 stood at 2,946, which is nearly 23%. Out of the sanctioned strength of 3,640 for the position of SOs, there were 1,533 vacancies, which is nearly 43%.
The CSS officials have threatened to continue their protests if their demands are not met. They have also requested the Prime Minister’s intervention in the matter.