The government should create guidelines to ensure that an employee’s Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe certificate is validated within six months of joining the service, according to a parliamentary panel.
The parliamentary standing committee on the welfare of SC/STs recommended that the Department of Personnel and Training, in collaboration with state governments, make caste certificate verification a time-bound process so that it is not used to harass unsuspecting SC and ST employees when they retire.
“The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions (Department of Pensions and Pensioners Welfare) should issue clear guidelines to all PSUs/organisations/ Public Sector Banks, etc that caste certificate of a person be verified within six months of joining of a person,” the panel said in its report tabled in Lok Sabha on Monday.
The State Level Scrutiny Committee that issued the certificate shall be sought to verify the certificate’s authenticity in a minimum of six months or before the employees’ confirmation, whichever comes first, at any expense.
If the state-level scrutiny committee is unable to do so for any reason, it must request an extension in writing, detailing the reasons, for no more than six months at any cost, it said.
The committee stated that the verification process frequently takes longer due to the inaccessibility of old records.
This is especially true if verification is performed after a person has been a member for 30-35 years.
It’s tough to find records that are more than a decade old. By that time, most office staff have retired or been transferred, and they are unable to verify the authenticity of a certificate issued by their predecessors many years ago, according to the panel.
According to the committee, it is ironic that almost all ministries, departments, PSUs, banks, and autonomous bodies, as well as SC and ST employees, face the same problem of caste certificate verification during recruitment, promotion, probation, and retirement, and that nothing concrete has been done to address their critical issue of livelihood and life.
“The Committee expresses its deep sentiments and dissatisfaction over the working of the concerned Ministries/Departments etc to keep their eyes and ear close on this vital matter,” it said.
The Committee strongly advised the DOPT to alert all ministries, departments, public sector undertakings, banks, and other autonomous bodies to work quickly in light of the parliamentary panel’s recommendations until formal guidelines are issued by the DoPT in consultation with the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, and state governments, according to the report.