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Govt's performance audit gives staff 100% marks

Saturday, 7 September 2013 - 10:42am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

Going by the targets they’ve achieved, it appears that everyone from the peon to the senior-most bureaucrat in government departments has been slogging hard at work.

A performance evaluation report of 80 government department reveals that several departments have 100% of their respective targets during 2011 and 2012. Not just that, in 32 cases, the departments’ achievements exceeded 100% while in 129 cases, targets were achieved within six months. This prompted the high-power committee overseeing the performance evaluation to issue a warning in 2011, which was reiterated in 2012.

“Targets for excellence should be achieved with some challenge. Deliberately setting soft targets is a disservice to the nation and is to be discouraged,” read the minutes of a meeting chaired by the cabinet secretary who heads the high-power committee. dna has a copy of the minutes of the meetings of 2011 and 2012.

In 2009, the government had decided to introduce a system for monitoring and evaluating performance of employees in 80 departments, such as urban development, youth affairs, posts, etc. For the purpose of evaluation, each department’s head office was asked to set an annual target against which the department’s actual achievements would be measured. Although the entire process is overseen by the high-power committee, there is no one to check the targets when they are set.

Expectedly, all government departments outsmarted the government by setting low targets to ensure that the same are achievable without putting in much effort.

The committee raised an objection against setting low targets in its third meeting held in March 2011 when it noted that the education department was able to achieve 9,922% of its annual target set under the Amla Mission. The mission was initiated to spread awareness about the medicinal plant amla and its use for improving health. Under the scheme, the AYUSH department was able to cover 4,961 schools and colleges against the set target of 50 set for the year.

“The cabinet secretary mentioned that achieving a target of over 100% by mid-year is a cause of concern. The ‘excellent’ target should be sufficiently high and should be achievable with some difficulty,” the minutes of the meeting stated. The targets need to be arrived at in an objective manner, it added.

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