Introduction & Methodology Adopted

1.1 On the directions of the Cabinet Secretariat, the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) constituted a group, under the Chairmanship of Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Surinder Nath, to review and make recommendations with regard to the present systems of performance appraisal, promotions and lateral movement in respect of the All India Services and Group A services. The composition of the Group Group was as follows:

1 Lt. Gen (Retd) Surinder Nath
Former Chairman, UPSC
2 Shri A.K. Agarwal
Former Secretary, Dept of Personnel & Training
3 Dr Prodipto Ghosh
Additional Secretary,
Department of Economic Affairs
4 Prof. Vinay Sheel Gautam
Dept. of Management Studies, IIT, Delhi
5 Shri O.P. Agarwal
Joint Secretary (Training)
Member- Secretary

1.2 The terms of reference were first notified by the DoPT on December 19th, 2002 (Annex-1). They were expanded vide orders dated January 27th, 2003 (Annex 2) and then amended vide orders dated March 3rd, 2003. (Annex 3).

1.3 The final terms of reference were as follows:

  • To comprehensively review the present system of recording Annual Confidential Reports so as to bring greater transparency and efficiency in order to motivate good officers.
  • To develop a system of recording of ACRs so that better performance or lack of performance gets properly and fairly reflected. There is need to bring about a culture where a superior officer does not hesitate in recording the weakness in an officer merely due to the possible ‘risk’ of having to convey adverse remarks and subsequently respond to the representation received against adverse entries.
  • To evolve a new system for performance appraisal after looking at practices being followed elsewhere, particularly in the Defence Services, some of the leading corporate houses, some multi-lateral organizations as well as the civil services of some other countries.
  • To make recommendations/suggestions for a performance appraisal system for the All India Services and subsequently, for the Group ‘A’ Central Services.
  • To review the present system of promotion of All India Services and other Group ‘A’ officers, at the level of Joint Secretary, Additional Secretary and Secretary to Govt. of India (and their equivalents), to ensure greater transparency, objectivity, and a more clearly defined linkage with the performance appraisal system.
  • To make recommendations for establishing a more clearly defined linkage between the performance appraisal system and the background and experience of officers at these levels, and their lateral movement, in respect of All India Service, and other Group ‘A’ Services.

1.4 The Group held its first meeting on the 26th of December, 2002 and has since met 43 times.

1.5 The Group had several meetings with representatives of the cadre controlling authorities of the three All India Services. It also met several officers from the All India Services to elicit their views and suggestions. Letters were sent to all the State Chief Secretaries and Secretaries of the Ministries in the Govt. of India for their views. A set of reminders was also sent to those who did not respond.

1.6 Given the short time available, the Group focused attention on the All India Services. The Group felt that within the time available it would not be possible to make specific suggestions with regard to all the Group ‘A’ services. While the recommendations of the Group would broadly apply to all the other Group ‘A’ services, a separate detailed exercise would be necessary to factor in their individual service characteristics.

1.7 The Group also visited Hyderabad where it met the Chief Secretary and other Officers of the State of Andhra Pradesh. A presentation was made on behalf of the IPS by the National Police Academy. The Group also met the Hon’ble Finance Minister of Andhra Pradesh. Members of the IAS, IPS and IFoS associations, as also officers from the IA&AS, IRAS, etc. met the Group in Hyderabad.

1.8 The Group visited the LBSNAA and interacted with the faculty. At New Delhi, the Group met a number of senior officers, including the Chairman of the UPSC and the Cabinet Secretary, from whom extremely useful suggestions were received. The Group was given a presentation on the system prevailing in the armed forces by the Military Secretary’s branch. A list of persons met by the Group met is at annex - 4.

1.9 The Group also invited suggestions from members of the services. A web site was set up, highlighting the issues being considered by the group. Views were invited over the web site as well as by letters to all State Chief Secretaries and Secretaries to the Government of India.

1.10 The Group also took note of the comments received from some of the State Governments on the N.C. Saxena committee report that had been constituted in 1999.

1.11 A summary of major suggestions/views/comments received by the Group along with its views on each, is at Annex 5.

1.12 The Group collected material on the prevailing performance appraisal system in several organizations, including some corporate houses, international agencies, and civil services of a few other countries. A list of such organizations is at Annex 6. In making its recommendations, the Group Group drew important lessons from the practices followed in each of these agencies.

1.13 The Group first went into the system of performance appraisal. It studied the present system of appraisal and based on the comments received as well the experience of its own members, identified its strengths and weaknesses. It also identified several issues that needed to be addressed in making its recommendations. The Group has tried to deal comprehensively with the identified weaknesses of the present system, without diluting its existing strengths.

1.14 Thereafter, the Group went into the issues of promotion, and placements, including empanelment and selection for particular positions under the Central Staffing Scheme. It again identified the weaknesses of the present system and tried to evolve an approach that would best meet the needs of public management in the present context, while providing signals to officers that both actual performance and enhancement of relevant skills would count. In doing so, it drew on lessons from the practices followed in the civil services of some other countries and multilateral agencies.

1.15 Part I of the report, comprising of Chapters 2 to 6 deals with the performance appraisal system. Chapter 2 gives the salient features of the existing system and also highlights when and how it was introduced. In Chapter 3, the strengths and weaknesses of the current system have been presented. Also highlighted in this chapter are the specific issues that the Group dealt with in addressing these issues. Chapter 4 contains the recommendations of the Group with regard to the purposes for which the performance appraisal could be used. Chapter 5 contains recommendations with regard to other issues. Chapter 6 presents the format that the Group recommends for adoption as also the associated guidelines.

1.16 Part II of the report, comprising Chapters 7 to 10, deal with the terms of reference relating to promotions and lateral movement (placement). Chapter 7 describes the present system and Chapter 8 presents the strengths and weaknesses as identified by the group. Chapter 9 contains recommendations on promotions and empanelment, whereas Chapter 10 contains the recommendations with regard to selections for particular positions under the Central Staffing Scheme.

1.17 This is followed by the annexes referred to in the main body of the report.