Tamil Nadu government to appoint 1,000 retired VAOs

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CHENNAI: In a first, the state government is set to appoint 1,000 retired village administrative officers in posts lying vacant across the state. The revenue administration has given instructions to the district collectors to appoint the retired officials on a temporary basis for a consolidated pay of Rs 15,000 a month in the coming days.

The VAOs, the heads of the revenue administration of one to three villages, are vested with powers to collect tax, certify for government welfare schemes, maintain law and order and extend assistance to farmers from crop insurance to assessment. While the sanctioned strength of the VAOs for the entire state is 12,616, at least 2,896 posts have now fallen vacant. The government decided to fill these posts after a recommendation from the commissionerate of revenue administration that “well experienced hands” preferably retired VAOs who have considerable knowledge of the duties and responsibilities would be appropriate.

It is left to the discretion of the district collectors to make the appointments, keeping in mind recruitments by TNPSC, appointments on compassionate grounds or promotions of village assistants to VAO posts. The retired officials will get salaries for a period of one year or till the necessity ceases. “Vacancies arise due to highly-qualified personnel moving to other jobs or superannuation. As a result, the serving VAOs are burdened with work and are accused of not making their presence felt in a village,” revenue minister R B Udayakumar said, justifying the appointment of retired personnel. While the public service commission is informed about the vacancies periodically, the recruitment agency had delayed holding exams, the minister said.

There was a thinking in the government to have one recruitment board for revenue services on the lines of Teachers Recruitment Board and Medical Services Recruitment Board. But, it was dropped. The move to appoint retired VAOs, however, evoked strong criticism from serving officers with representations being sent to the government opposing it. “Though the government justifies its move to appoint the retired personnel on a temporary basis, it is condemnable,” said TN Village Administrative Officers Munnetra Sangam president G Suresh. In 2008 too, there were more than 5,000 vacancies and the serving officers managed the show, he said.

Tamil Nadu Government Employees Association president A Selvam said it was a known secret that the departments like treasuries, health and rural development temporary appoint retired officers. “But this move to appoint 1,000 retired personnel is unprecedented. This would trigger unrest among the long queue of youth waiting for government jobs,” Selvam said.

Source: Times of India.

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