Make choices, take decisions on merit: Officers told

A civil servant should “make choices, take decisions and make recommendations” on merit alone and should remain politically neutral.

The Government has now brought in 19 fresh rules for civil servants by amending the All India Services (Conduct) Rules, 1968, which also asks officers not to misuse his position as civil servant and not take decisions in order to derive financial or material benefits for himself, his family or his friends.

According to the new rules, officers should maintain high ethical standards, integrity and honesty, promote principles of merit, fairness and impartiality in the discharge of duties and should be responsiveness to public. They should also be accountable, transparent, and courteous with public.

The new rules, published in Gazette by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), makes it mandatory for officers to declare any private interests relating to his public duties and take steps to resolve any conflicts in a way that protects the public interest.

The officer has to act with fairness and impartiality and not discriminate against anyone, particularly the poor and the under-privileged sections of society. He should also perform and discharge his duties with the highest degree of professionalism and dedication to the best of his abilities.

The earlier rules were not this specific and general in nature.

The rules cast an obligation on officers to maintain confidentiality in the performance of his official duties. he officers should guard those information, disclosure of which may prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of state, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the state, friendly relation with foreign countries or lead to incitement of an offence or illegal or unlawful gains to any person.

The officer should “take decisions solely in public interest and use or cause to use public resources efficiently, effectively and economically” and maintain discipline in the discharge of his duties and be liable to implement the lawful orders duly communicated to him.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on August 8, 2014)

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