A unique category of officers – “officers without duty”
The reply to an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act has revealed that Odisha has around a dozen of IAS, IPS and IFS officers who have been bracketed in a unique category of “officers without duty” (OWD).
The general administration department of Odisha, in the reply to the application, has stated that such system has been in practice since 2006 and includes officers in the rank of commissioner-cum-secretary who draw a salary in the scale of Rs 18400-500-22400. The state government designates an officer as OWD either on the charges of corruption or when it finds such officers as “difficult". The officer, once designated as OWD, has to report to the general administration department and has to stay in there during office hours without doing any work. The reply also states that there are budgetary provisions for without duty officers for their salaries and perks. In another reply, the department has accepted that there were no files, note sheets, rules or guidelines on who can be made an officer without duty.
It has been reported by activists that a similar practice of keeping officers on special duty awaiting transfer orders in many states.