'No lobbying for transfers!' ONGC warns staff

Vol 26, PW 17 (10 Aug 23) People & Policy

ONGC wants to stamp out the use of political influence and lobbying by employees seeking promotions and transfers.

ONGC executive director and employee relations chief Rajan Asthana sent a stern notice to all employees on August 1 (2023) titled: Bringing Extraneous Influence for Service-Related Matters. "Rule 26 of ONGC's CDA (conduct, discipline and appeal) rules say: No employee shall bring or attempt to bring any political or other influence to bear upon any superior authority to further his interest in respect of matters about his service," writes Asthana.

"Time and again, these provisions have been brought to the notice of employees advising them to desist from such activity (reference office orders dated February 12, 2021, and December 7, 2021); despite the said instructions, some employees continue to bring extraneous pressure for service-related concerns." Asthana adds that the oil ministry has noted the culture of political lobbying and has directed state-owned companies to "sensitise their employees."

Asthana's letter is not the first attempt to warn employees that they violate the rules if they seek to cultivate high-powered political contacts to serve their interests at the company. On June 23 (2023), oil ministry deputy secretary Kuldeep Kumar wrote to the heads of Oil India, ONGC, Numaligarh Refinery, Bharat Petroleum, Hindustan Petroleum, IndianOil, GAIL, Engineers India, Mangalore Refinery and the DGH complaining that employees use "VIP references, thereby bringing or attempting to bring outside influence to bear upon superior authorities to further their interests in respect of the matters concerning their service; this must be restricted."

Not only does such behaviour violate rules, stresses Kumar, but oil ministry and state-owned company officers end up wasting valuable time. Asthana warns employees they risk facing disciplinary action under CDA rules.

"Such activities are likely to impact the career and movement prospects of the employee adversely," he asserts.