Frequent transfer of public servants affect public administration

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Synopsis- Frequent transfer of public servants ultimately affect their morale, performance, and also the public administration.


  • An analysis of the executive record (ER) sheets of thousands of IAS officers reveals that the frequent transfers in service are normal.
  • But, frequent transfers have an adverse impact on their morale. This will lead to a decline in productivity and efficacy.
  • Few examples of frequent transfer of public servants
    • IAS Ashok Khemka has been transferred more than 50 times.
    • Pradeep Kasni has been transferred 65 times.

Why frequent transfers happening?

Frequent transfers happen due to two major reasons. Such as,

  1. Interference of local politicians in public policy.
  2. Transfer guidelines have been undermined by state governments. The 2nd ARC also highlighted this issue.

What are the impacts of frequent transfer of public servants?

  • The officer is not getting the proper time to focus on the developmental needs of the area.
    • For Example- the Shopian district in Jammu and Kashmir for the last 14 years witnessed the transfer of 13 Deputy Commissioners. Among them, two officials were transferred within 25 days of their posting. So the public servants not able to frame proper long-term developmental policies.
  • Frequent transfers affect the functioning of public administration and demoralize the bureaucracy.
  • The Hota Committee report on 2004 also highlighted a few impacts. Such as
    • Frequent transfers will create a lag in the implementation of government policies. As the new public official has to know the status of the project, challenges in a particular area etc.
    • Further, frequent transfers will result in the wastage of public resources. This is due to inadequate supervision of the program and large-scale corruption.
  • Above all, transfers can create administrative favoritism among the public servants and create divisions among civil servants.

Way forward-

The government has to frame an efficient transfer policy. This will preserve the fundamental principles of civil services such as neutrality, impartiality, and anonymity.

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