It’s good news for Mandal Parishad Development Officers (MPDO) recruited under Group-1 services category by the Andhra Pradesh Public Service Commission (APPSC) in 2003.

The officers, who were long neglected for promotion in comparison to their counterparts under the ungrouped category of 1999, received a ray of hope recently.

On approaching Neetu Prasad, newly appointed Commissioner of Panchayati Raj & Rural Development about the issue on Tuesday, the MPODs were assured that the matter will be resolved soon. Neetu said that she will take up the issue by discussing with other MPDOs and sort it out with justice. 

In earlier days, people working under the Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) project of the Women and Child Welfare Department were given the positions of MPDOs, which was on temporary basis until the right person was available for the job. 

These were in turn managed by anganwadi supervisors for more than 15 years. Later came the right way of recruitment i.e. by screening Group-1 qualified candidates.

According to the Supreme Court Judgment, “Temporary or ad hoc or fortuitous appointments etc. is not an appointment in accordance with the rules and the temporary services cannot be counted towards the seniority.”

The judgment also states that even by applying the test of equality, the temporary appointees cannot be put on a higher pedestal over the PSC candidates who stood the test of merit and secured ranking in the approved list of candidates.

Now begins a dispute regarding seniority of the positions between the two categories of the MPDOs mentioned above, which will in turn lead to the eligibility of promotions. 

Speaking about the promotion issue Anita Ramachandran, former Commissioner of Panchayat Raj and Rural Development and now Collector of Yadadri says, “Though they were appointed directly, in those days they were given the designation called MPDO’s. 

Working for such role all this while makes them come first in seniority. It is the method of recruitment that changed with time; I agree it’s unfortunate for the ones who have come from Group-1 process.”

The fight for justice
Based on the standard of examination and the capability of the candidates, the recruitment process will be held for various categories of posts. Padmavathi, MPDO selected by Group-1 process, President for the union that is fighting for justice says, “I am not against their promotions but, all I am struggling is for the justice that we deserve. Passing all those tough stages of exams and reaching to this level was not a cake walk for us; we shouldn’t be ignored is all I want.”

Vinay Kumar, an MPDO selected through Group-1 in 2003 exam adds, “Naturally, the candidates selected under this recruitment process will have higher standard of knowledge when compared to our counterparts selected by the ungrouped category. 

So, Group-1 service candidates must be given precedence over them”

Except for the MPODs position all candidates under 17 categories selected in 2003 from Group-1 services were given promotions twice as of now. The dispute of seniority is lagging the MPDOs from promotions.

According to GO-524, candidates selected under the Group-1 services category and who reached eight years of experience as a Deputy Collector are eligible for IAS positions. 

“If we MPDOs are given promotions, the requirement of IAS officers in Telangana will be filled, especially in light of new districts formed. Even though the rules are clear enough it’s surprising to know that the government is having a deaf ear and being unfair to us,” states Padmavathi.