What central government employees can expect from the 7th Pay Commission: Economic Times Article by Shantanu Nandan Sharma
|About the 7th
|To recommend pay, allowances
and the like for Central
government employees for a
decade beginning January 2016
Employees in union territories,
To make recommendations
Expected to submit its
Revised pay to be effective
from January 1, 2016
Today, the railway board chairman and eight other top rail babus receive a salary equivalent to a government of India secretary, a scale which as many as 230 Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and 40 Indian Police Service (IPS) officers also draw. For good measure, the cabinet secretary now not only draws a higher salary than the railway board chairman, his superior rank comes with better perks including a bungalow at Prithviraj Road located in the heart of Lutyens’ Delhi.
The Ripple Effects
A cursory glance at the memorandum submitted by IPS Central Association on behalf of Indian Police Service (IPS) will throw light on the importance attached to a pay commission. The 137-page memorandum, a copy of which was reviewed by ET Magazine, is well designed and comparable to any standard report prepared by a global consultancy firm. PV Rama Sastry, an Inspector General of Police at National Investigation Agency (NIA) and secretary of IPS Central Association says the memorandum is the result of intense in-house research, factoring in the macro environment of growth, development, equity and justice vis-a-vis the role of a police officer. Though Sastry is the spokesperson of 4,720 IPS officers, the memorandum prepared by his team encompasses the role and needs of 30 lakh police personnel across India out of which 10 lakh come under the gamut of the pay commission. As the CPC recommendations are often accepted by the state governments as well, the remaining 20 lakh police personnel too may eventually benefit.
The pay commissions have also reduced the disparity among the officers of various services. Till the late 1980s, an IAS officer used to receive a salary that’s 25% higher than that of a Group A service officer. Today, the pay for all officers, at least at the entry level, is same. But IAS and Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officers still maintain an edge over others as their empanelment process (a step to get higher posts) is much faster.
The question is how far the 7th CPC will go in changing the pay and associated service conditions like empanelment and promotions. IAS officers have pulled out a 1991 Supreme Court judgement (Mohan Kumar Singhania and Others vs Union of India and Others) where it was said that other services should not approach the pay commissions and attempt to change the rules of career progressions and push for a case for parity with the premier service. But other services are continuing their demand for pay parity and also for the creation of more departments where the IAS can’t dictate. At present, only three major ministries — railways, external affairs and post — are not headed by IAS but run by their own cadres. Now, IPS wants a new department of internal security headed by a cop and IRS wants a separate direct tax department headed by a taxman.
Will the 7th CPC venture into such nuances? Or will it, like the past few pay commissions have, adopt a simple formula of Multiplier 3 under which the basic salary is hiked by three times or more depending on the economic health of the nation. If that is the case, it won’t be too hazardous to make a prediction: A secretary to government of India will get a basic monthly salary (excluding DA) of Rs 2.4 lakh (current basic salary multiplied by three) and the cabinet secretary Rs 2.7 lakh from January 1, 2016. And, yes, perks, DA and other allowances will be extra.
Performance Needs to be Incentivised”
KM Chandrasekhar, former cabinet secretary (2007-2011)
On Pay Parity
The issue regarding pay parity with the IAS was discussed at length by the Sixth Pay Commission. As I recall, it was decided that the differential between IAS officers and other Group A officers would not exceed two years and that nonfunctional grade will be given to officers of other services if there are not enough vacancies in their respective cadres. The prime minister has repeatedly stressed his commitment to “maximum governance, minimum government.” With the increased use of information and communication technology in governance and with state governments being given a more important role in implementation of schemes and more funds through higher devolution of taxes, vertical growth of cadres at the Central level would be possible only with reduced horizontal expansion.
On Uniqueness of IAS
The IAS is a unique service. IAS officers have the opportunity to work both at the state level and at the Centre on a wide range of jobs. Unless there are radical changes in the system of administration, the IAS will continue to retain its unique character.
On Performance Bonus
I hope the pay commission will be able to devise ways in which performance can be incentivised. The main obstacle to this is that performance assessment systems are abysmal. The new system of pointsbased performance appraisal introduced in 2005 is badly conceived and gives no importance whatsoever to actual achievement by the officer in the year of reporting. The Performance Management System, introduced later at the initiative of the Cabinet Secretariat, appears to have floundered on account of lack of political backing ab initio. Without strengthening performance assessment systems, incentives based on performance will have no meaning. Incidentally, the performance management wing in the Cabinet Secretariat had worked out a scheme for incentives on the basis of savings generated in implementation without compromising on agreed performance
goals. I do not know where this stands at present.
On Suggestions to CPC
Like other such Commissions in the past, the 7th Pay Commission will consider all representations and take decisions, keeping in view the needs of employees, the state of the economy and the financial position of the Central government and also the state governments, which are inevitably impacted by salary increases at the Central level.
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