Govt may go in for direct hiring of LDCs again

Govt may go in for direct hiring of LDCs again

Doubts level of commitment among outsourced staff

After finding that "level of commitment cannot be expected from outsourced staff", the Government is planning to reintroduce direct recruitment of Lower Division Clerks (LDCs) in Central Secretariat, a practice that was stopped 12 years ago.

The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has now asked central ministries, departments, employees and individual officers to submit their views on the matter "urgently" by March 10.

Attention was drawn to the issue of absence of adequate number of LDCs, due to which a number of ministries and departments started "engaging outsourced staff" to manage activities like diary/dispatch, movement of files, etc.

The government felt that the "level of commitment cannot be expected from outsourced staff" and relying on them was affecting the institutional memory. Before direct recruitment of LDCs was stopped in 2003, there were around 5,300 such employees but it came down substantially over the years.

The decision to stop direct recruitment was taken in 2003 after the first cadre review of Central Secretariat Services (CSS). Eighty-five per cent of the posts of LDCs were then filled up through direct recruitment. From then on, the posts were filled up by promotion from the then Group D employees (now Multi-Tasking Staff or MTS).

The move to revive direct recruitment was initiated during the Manmohan Singh-led UPA regime, which disagreed with the views of Second Administrative Reforms Commission and the Core Group on Administrative Reforms. A Group of Ministers (GoM) had then asked for reconsidering the matter. As the issue of reintroduction of direct recruitment of LDCs has multifarious dimensions like change in work culture at the Central Government level, e-governance, impact on MTS, UDC, Assistant Cadre etc, it was referred to the 3rd cadre restructuring committee.

The DoPT note had listed the pros and cons of the move. It said this move would help have more manpower in sections and would ensure continuity and institutional memory.
On the negative side, the note said in the era of e-governance, paperless office and multi-skilling, maintaining a large cadre of LDCs to carry out routing office jobs manually would be "regressive".

In view of the use of information technology tools and progressively more officer oriented system, the DoPT note said, there is much less requirement of ministerial staff than before and, therefore, if direct recruitment is reintroduced, it should be "limited in number".
They should be used mostly in regulatory ministries where volume of correspondence is higher, it added.

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