The Centre on Thursday accepted a new transfer policy for Group A (assistant commissioners and above) revenue service officers, largely based on the recommendations made by Vijay Kelkar, adviser to Finance Minister Jaswant Singh.
While the policy will become effective from 2004-05, for the current year, the Central Board of Direct Taxes and the Central Board of Excise and Customs have been given the option of using the new policy or continuing with the existing guidelines.
The new transfer and placement policy has categorised all stations as A, B and C to ensure fairness and equity. Accordingly, no officer will be allowed to stay for more than six years at a class-A station, four years at a class-B station and two years at a class-C town.
Also, an officer will not be posted at a class-A station if the Central Vigilance Commission has recommended proceedings against him.
Similarly, to ensure that officers do not develop vested interests, all posts are proposed to be categorised either as sensitive or non-sensitive, with the stipulation that the normal tenure of an officer on sensitive posts should not exceed three years.
The policy, as approved by the finance minister has, therefore, provided for mandatory rotation between sensitive and non-sensitive posts.
For the first time, a deadline has been set for completing the transfer and posting of Group A officers by April 30 every year. This will ensure that officers are in their saddle at the beginning of the year itself. Kelkar had said transfers should begin by December of the preceding year.
The policy has also said transfers can only be done on the basis of the recommendations of the placement committees of the CBDT and the CBEC.
The committees will be headed by the chairman of the respective boards and will include the member (personnel) of each board, while another member will be nominated by the chairman.
The joint secretary (administration ) of each board will be the member (secretary) of their placement committee. The Kelkar panel had also recommended an independent member in the committee.
For commissioners and chief commissioners/directors-general, the placement committee shall submit transfer proposals for the approval of the finance minister through the revenue secretary.
However, for all officers below the rank of commissioner, the committee has been authorised to place officers at the disposal of the chief commissioner and commissioners/directors-general for further posting.
The policy has given a waiver from the rotation principle in cases of compassionate and humane considerations like requests for postings on medical grounds and for working couples.
It adds that the policy was prompted by a need for greater transparency in transfers and postings following the bribes-for-transfer scam in May this year. It says the policy is part of the initiative of the ministry towards tax reforms, including tax administration.