Finance Deptt detects misuse of Golden Handshake Scheme

PSUs directed to hold consultations before sanctioning benefits
Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, June 2: The Finance Department has detected misuse of Golden Handshake Scheme in several Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) of the State and in order to prevent further loss to the exchequer it has made it mandatory for the authorities of the PSUs and the respective Administrative Departments to hold prior consultations with it before sanctioning the benefits under the Scheme.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that in order to rejuvenate the loss making and unviable Public Sector Undertakings, a five member Committee headed by then Financial Commissioner (Home) was constituted vide Government Order No.1355-GAD of 2006 dated November 7, 2006. The Committee considered various issues involved in the implementation of Golden Handshake/ Voluntary Retirement Scheme for the employees of PSUs.
The Committee, accordingly, made recommendations for the rationalization of surplus staff in sick PSUs, having some prospects of becoming viable, and closure of unviable units by offering Golden Handshake or Voluntary Retirement Scheme to such employees, sources said.
The objective behind recommending GHS/VRS was to achieve optimum manpower utilization for sustained profitability, to downsize surplus and unproductive labour force and improve overall skill and efficiency of the employee. While Golden Handshake Scheme was to be given to employees of closed units or units totally unviable, VRS was open to all employees of PSUs subject to approval of competent authority.
The recommendations of the Committee were implemented in the favour of the employees of State PSUs vide Government Order No.218-F of 2007.
“The PSUs were bound to implement the Golden Handshake Scheme/ VRS in the true spirit to shed the surplus staff and place the units on the road to recovery within couple of years. But, unfortunately this has not happened and the process is still persisting”, sources said.
“It has come to the notice of the Finance Department that the PSUs are retaining surplus staff as close to their date of retirement as possible”, sources regretted, adding “on the other hand, instances have also been noticed that the employees brought under Golden Handshake Scheme have sought judicial intervention because of which the PSUs are having to pay idle wages and the GHS package, which is higher in comparison to normal retrial outgo, is being given to such pensioners at the eleventh hour, just before their retirement”.
Viewing the misuse of Golden Handshake Scheme seriously, the Finance Department has directed the Managing Directors of all PSUs to withhold the implementation of Golden Handshake Scheme in favour of such employees, who have challenged the same, till the final outcome of the cases in the court.
“When any such employee reaches the age of superannuation during the interim, he should be treated as retired in the normal course”, the directives issued by the Finance Department said.
The Finance Department has also directed the competent authorities in the State PSUs and the respective Administrative Departments of the PSUs to hold prior consultations with the Finance Department before sanctioning the benefits under the Golden Handshake Scheme to ensure that all the parameters, put in place while sanctioning the scheme are observed.

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