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Seventh Pay Commission Report: Headquarters Organisations in Government of India and Office Staff in Field Offices (CSS Cadre – UDC, SO, NFU, Stenographer CSSS Cadre)

Central Pay Commission
Chapter 7.1 – Headquarters
in Government of India and Office Staff in Field Offices 



7.1.1 The headquarters organisation comprises the Secretariats of the ministries and departments of the Government of India. Most of the middle level posts
are held by the officers of Central Secretariat Service as also a few administrative posts at the senior level. In the Ministry of Railways, similar
positions are held by the Railway Board Secretariat Service, in the Ministry of Defence they are held by the Armed Forces Headquarter Service and in the
Ministry of External Affairs the same are held by the Indian Foreign Service (B) officers.
7.1.2 The organisational hierarchy of all the headquarter services by and large includes the following levels with corresponding GP:
Selection Grade 10000
Director 8700
Dy. Secretary 7600
Under Secretary 6600
Section Officer 4800

[after four years GP 5400 (PB-3)]

Assistant 4600
7.1.3 The headquarter services provide a permanent bureaucratic set up which assists in establishment and administration, policy formulation and monitoring
and review of the implementation of policies/schemes of various ministries and departments.


7.1.4 The pay related demands of various headquarter services are as follows:-
a) At least five financial upgradations/promotions in the promotional hierarchy, at regular intervals have been demanded: time bound promotions at 5, 9, 13
years of service to CSS officers after they reach Group ‘A,’ on the same pattern as that given to Officers of the Group `A’ services and in case
promotional posts are not available, non-functioning pay upgradation to the next promotional grade. These demands have been made on the grounds that it
will attract a talented pool in the CSS at the entry level as well as create motivation for the serving officers.

The Commission notesthat the MACP scheme by its very nomenclature is intended to provide assured career progression so that government employees do not stagnate. The
Commission is recommending continuance of the existing MACP Scheme. As regards the grant of time bound promotions at 5, 9, 13, 17 years to CSS officers
on the analogy of Group `A’ Services, this cannot be accepted as the entry level induction of CSS is in Group `B’ and therefore it cannot be compared
with Group `A’ Services.


b) Demand has been made for entry Grade Pay of Rs.5400 (PB-3) for Section Officers on the ground that there must be one pay for one post in a cadre and
that the minimum residency period of eight years in the grade is very long. Similar demands have been received from the Stenographers cadres too.

The post of Section officer (SO) is a promotion post for Assistant (GP 4600). Initially, on promotion, the SO is at GP 4800 and after four years is
entitled to a non-functional upgrade to GP 5400 (PB-3), effectively two levels higher. Hence the stipulated residency period of eight years at the level of
SO is distributed in two parts, four years in GP 4800 and the balance four in GP 5400 (PB-3). The current position is that the average time spent at the
higher level is around 5-6 years.
TheCommission observes that the current progression from GP 4600 to GP 4800 on promotion as Section Officer is an appropriate upgrade and does not find
any justification for placing the entry level to SO at a higher level. In so far as the non-functional upgrade is concerned, in the newly restructured
pay matrix the earlier situation of a common grade pay i.e., 5400 prevailing in PB2 and PB3 has now been rationalised. Accordingly, the non-functional
upgrade will henceforth be from level 8 to level 9.In the case of all such cadres/services where nonfunctional upgradation is presently available
across two levels, for example, from GP 4800 to GP 5400 (PB-3) the same will now be available across only one level for example, from GP 4800 to GP
5400 (PB-2) or in the new matrix from level 8 to level 9.


c) Various headquarter/stenographer services have demanded placement of GP 7600 in PB-4 for the post of Deputy Secretary or alternatively, grant of GP 8000
in PB-4 as in the case of Lt Colonel in the Indian Army. This demand is based on the ground that in the existing dispensation, there is a considerable gap
in pay in between PB-3 and PB-4. Since the Deputy Secretary resides in PB-3 and the Director in PB-4, and the hierarchy does not require Deputy Secretary
to report to the Director, this demand has been made.
Inthe newly proposed rationalised pay matrix recommended by this Commission the skewed spacing between pay bands has been moderated and pay levels have
been equitably placed. Therefore, there is no need for any other measure in this regard.


d) Demand has been received from various headquarter services for allowing the post of Director be made NFSG as against promotional post. The CSS has
argued that the cadre review Committee in the CSS recommended that the residency period for promotion to Director Grade be set at ten years combined
approved service as Under Secretary and Deputy Secretary with minimum three years’ regular service as Deputy Secretary. The existing residency period for
promotion from Under Secretary to Deputy Secretary is five years and from Deputy Secretary to Director is also five years.
TheCommission notes that the post of Director in the headquarter services is a promotional one with a higher grade pay. The headquarter services are not
comparable with All India Group `A’ service and hence the demand for NFSG for the post of Director is not supported. The Commission recommends no
change in the present dispensation.


e) It has been demanded that persons appointed to a particular post either on direct recruitment or on promotion should have their pay fixed at the same
level. This has been sought on the ground that no junior should draw more pay than his senior in a cadre. As against this, presently newly recruited
Assistants of CSS are getting higher pay than Assistants promoted after implementation of the VI CPC.
In so far as one fixation of pay for one post is concerned, it may be mentioned that the VI CPC recommended exclusive pay bands for direct entry into posts
with different grade pays attached to them and hence there was a difference of total pay in respect of a direct recruit in comparison to a person promoted
to that grade.
Inthe new pay matrix proposed by this Commission, it has been recommended that the first cell in each level in the matrix would be the entry pay for
fresh/ direct recruits. The pay of a person who moves from a lower grade to higher grade is to be fixed with respect to the pay being drawn by him/her
at the time of promotion. The details of fixation of pay on promotion has been dealt with in detail in the Chapter 5.1. The proposed system is expected
to eliminate the existing anomaly.


f) The AFHQS (LDCE) officers have demanded re-introduction of the scheme of Limited Departmental Competitive Examination in the Section Officer grade. It
has been stated that as per the AFHQ Civil Service Rule 2001, the posts of Section Officers used to be filled 20 percent by direct recruitment, 40 percent
by seniority and 40 percent through LDCE. The LDCE was introduced in AFHQ Civil Service Rule 2001 on the recommendation of the V CPC, following a similar
LDCE pattern in CSS since 1962. Subsequently, a committee of senior officers on cadre review/restructuring recommended abolition of LDCE at the level of
Section Officer and stoppage of direct recruitment in the Assistant Grade. This was in view of the fact that the existing 40 percent quota of LDCE which
was meant to provide accelerated promotion to direct recruits Assistants was to be abolished and hence there would be no direct recruitment at Assistant
level. The above recommendations of the Committee were implemented. Recruitment of Section Officer thereafter has been 50 percent by direct recruitment and
50 percent by promotion, with complete scrapping of the element of LDCE. However, 50 percent direct recruitment quota in the Assistant Grade was retained.
It has been demanded that the element of direct recruitment in the Section Officer grade be removed and consequently 50 percent vacancies in the grade be
filled up by promotion on seniority and remaining 50 percent through LDCE among the Assistants/Personal Assistants serving in AFHQ.
Giventhe overall parity of posts between the CSS and AFHQS at the level of Assistant and SO, the demand for restoration of the LDCE scheme on the same
pattern as available in the CSS seems justified. However, the Commission feels that the issue raised is essentially administrative in nature and hence
no specific recommendations can be made in this regard.


g) Demand has been raised regarding extension of Non Functional Upgradation (NFU) to AFHQS officers. It has been stated that although DoPT has clarified
that the benefit of NFU will be available to Group `B’ officers inducted into Organised Group `A’ Service, the same has not been extended to AFHQS
Commission feels since the orders on NFU have already been spelt out, no further recommendations on the issue are required.
h) AFHQS has demanded that their officers should be allowed to serve in Ministry of Defence either by earmarking certain percentage of posts up to the
grade of Deputy Secretary/Director or by cross posting of CSS officers to posts belonging to Integrated Headquarters of MoD which are currently occupied by
AFHQS officers.
The issue has been discussed for several years at various fora and as part of the V CPC recommendations. The V CPC did not recommend participation of AFHQS
officers in the Central Staffing Scheme however earmarked few posts at the level of Under Secretary and Section Officer in Ministry of Defence for members
of this service. Even after several iterations, the recommendations could not be implemented.
Owingto the fact that various headquarter services are performing similar functions in various secretariats, the Commission is of the view that such a vast
resource pool of officers should be allowed to move laterally and occupy posts in other secretariats on deputation basis. This will not only enrich the
service officers but also bring about harmonisation among services. Later if found feasible these services may also be merged.


i) There has been demand from all headquarter services to extend all recommendations made in respect of CSS to them as well.
TheCommission recommends parity between comparable posts in the CSS and other headquarter services in the matter of pay structure. The replacement pay
available at all levels to CSS officers will be applicable mutatis mutandis to their counterparts in the AFHQS, RBSS, IFS (B) as well
those organisations who maintain pay parity with CSS.


j) Issue of parity of field functionaries with the Assistants of the CSS: It has been demanded that CSS be allowed to retain an ‘edge’ over other services or posts which have claimed parity with CSS. It has been
argued by the CSS that parity among various posts and services is to be considered on long established principles of classification of posts, duties and
responsibilities, their hierarchical structure, historical parity, mode of recruitment as well as minimum qualification for recruitment at entry level as
well as level. Historically, various services in the Secretariat have had an edge over analogous posts in the field offices. The CSS has, in its
memorandum, demanded that this edge over other services be retained. This has been justified on various grounds, key amongst which is that office staff in
the Secretariat perform complex duties and are involved in analysing issues with policy implications whereas their counter parts in field offices perform
routine work relating to matters concerning personnel and general administration, and so on. Apart from retention of the edge, the CSS memorandum also
seeks a change in the mode of recruitment. It has been argued that up until 1987, directly recruited Assistants of the CSS were selected through an
examination conducted by the UPSCand other categories of employees falling under Group `C’were recruited through the Staff Selection Commission [SSC]. In
1987, recruitment of Assistants to the CSS was also brought under the SSC and is now carried out through a common examination called the Combined Graduate
Level Exam (CGLE) and an All India Merit List.
The VI CPC had gone into this issue in considerable detail. It had noted that while at an earlier point in time it may well have been the case that those
in the Secretariat ended up performing more complex duties relating to policy formulation, but over a period of time things had changed. It had noted that
there was an increasing emphasis on strengthening the delivery lines and with growing decentralization, the importance of delivery points in the field
cannot be understated. Therefore, in its view, the time had come to grant parity between similarly placed personnel employed in field offices and in the Secretariatand that this parity would need to be absolute till the grade of Assistant. The VI CPC had noted that beyond this, it would not be possible or even justified to grant complete parity because the hierarchy and
career progression would need to be different. Although the recommendation of the VI CPC was accepted in the first instance, a year down the line the Grade
Pay of Assistants was increased from Rs.4200 to Rs.4600, thereby squarely going back to the original position in which the Assistants in the Headquarters
resided at one level higher than those in the field. In fact this latest modification follows a consistent pattern seen over the decades. This is
elucidated in the table below:
IV CPC 1.1.1986 1400-2660 31.7.90, but effective from 1.1.86 1640-2900
V CPC 1.1.1996 5500-9000 25.9.2006, effective from 15.9.2006 6500-10500
VI CPC 1.1.2006 GP 4200 August 2008, but effective from 1.1.2006 GP 4600


It may be seen from the above table that the recommendations of successive Pay Commissions with regard to pay of Assistants, even if initially implemented,
has invariably been modified at a later point and they have been placed at one higher level. As a corollary to this, the level of Section Officers also is
at one level higher than that of SOs in the field.
While notifying the most recent upgrade in August 2008, the order states that the Assistants in Headquarters are required to be at a higher level since “there is an element of direct recruitment in their case and that too, through an all-India Competitive Examination.
The Commission notes that certain inherent contradictions prevail. The first relates to the Common Grade Level Examination (CGLE) through which selections
are carried out by the SSC for a range of positions, at varying levels of grade pay. No doubt the examination process is a graded one, with applicants for
certain positions having to undergo two written examinations as well as an interview and for certain other positions only two written examinations. But in
the case of Assistants for CSS and Assistants for certain other organisations, the examination process is common although the grade pay for the two sets
are different. This then brings about a situation where those with lower grade pay continuously demand parity with the others while those with higher grade
pay seek to set themselves apart. The categorical observations of the VI CPC that the time had come to grant parity between similarly placed personnel
employed in the field offices and in the Secretariat are echoed by this Commission, which sees merit in placing all Assistants recruited through the CGLE,
whether working in the field offices or in headquarters, at the same level.
TheCommission accordingly strongly recommends parity in pay between the field staff and headquarter staff up to the rank of Assistants on two grounds-
firstly the field staff are recruited through the same examination and they follow the same rigour as the Assistants of CSS and secondly there is no
difference in the nature of functions discharged by both. Therefore to bring in parity as envisaged by the VI CPC, this Commission recommends bringing
the level of Assistants of CSS at par with those in the field offices who are presently drawing GP 4200. Accordingly, in the new pay matrix the
Assistants of both Headquarters as well as field will come to lie in Level 6 in the pay matrix corresponding to pre revised GP 4200 and pay fixed
accordingly. Similarly the corresponding posts in the Stenographers cadre will also follow similar pay parity between field and headquarter staff. The
pay of those Assistants/Stenographer who have in the past, been given higher Grade pay would be protected.


Recently,through a government order similar ‘edge in pay’ has also been extended to the Upper Division Clerks belonging to CSS in the Secretariat by way of
grant of non-functional selection grade to GP 4200 (available to 30 percent of UDCs). It is expected to lead to further resentment at the level of UDCs
in the field as well as with other non-secretariat posts with which they had parity before. Since as per the recommendation of this Commission,
Assistants have now come to lie in Level 6 of the pay matrix which corresponds to pre revised GP 4200, this Commission recommends withdrawal of
non-functional selection grade to GP 4200 in respect of Upper Division Clerks belonging to CSS.



Central Secretariat Stenographer Service (CSSS)/ Armed Forces Headquarters Stenographers Service (AFHQSS)

7.1.5 The CSSS/AFHQSS consists of the following grades:
Principal Staff Officer 8700
Sr. PPS 7600
PPS 6600
PS 4800
Stenographer Grade-C 4600
Stenographer Grade-D 2400


7.1.6 The demands of CSSS and AFHQ Stenographers Service are:
a) Merger of headquarters services with their counterparts in the Stenographer cadre with full parity and uniform designation and introduction of Executive
Assistant Scheme. In the justification for merger, the recommendation of the VI CPC vide paras 3.1.10 to 3.1.12 have been referred to, where the Commission
observed inter-alia, that there is no justification for maintaining a distinct Stenographer cadre in any government office. Instead, emphasis should be on
recruiting multi skilled personnel at Assistant level to be designated as Executive Assistants who will discharge the functions of present day Assistant
besides performing all the Stenographic functions. The VI CPC had justified the need for a unified cadre and common recruitment on the basis of assumption
that secretariat functioning would become more IT oriented in future reducing reliance on personal staff. The CSSS and AFHQSS officers’ Associations have
raised demands relating to merger of present incumbents of CSS/AFHQCS and CSSS/AFHQSS with full parity and uniform designation.
The DoPT has referred to propose EA scheme to this Commission.
The issue has been deliberated in DoPT several times. Reports of the discussions indicate that although the CSS Associations are strongly opposed to such
merger between CSS and CSSS, they are not averse to introduction of the Executive Assistant Scheme. The DoPT itself appears to have not found it feasible
in view of the nature of work, duties and responsibilities of the members of CSS and CSSS being different.
In view of the fact that several detailed deliberations have already taken place in DoPT as well as in the meeting of the COS on 1 March, 2013 wherein
various aspects of the scheme have been examined threadbare in presence of all the stakeholders, the issue of merger of CSS and CSSS cadre remains an
administrative reform issue to be dealt with by the administrative Ministry. The Commission is making no recommendation in this regard.
b) A demand has been received regarding provision of promotional channel to the grade of Joint Secretary in CSSS stating that such creation is essential to
bring full parity (in grade) between CSS and CSSS. It has also been argued that this would ensure career progression for PSOs, who have no promotional
avenues even after completing five or more years of approved service in the grade.

As regards demand for in-situ promotion of PSO to the rank of Joint Secretary and demand for creation of the post of JS for removal of stagnation and
career progression of CSSS Cadre beyond the level of PSO is concerned, it is stated that these issues are purely administrative in nature and can be dealt
with through the process of cadre review. Hence, the Commission is making no recommendation in this regard.
c) A demand for creation of additional posts in the grade of Sr. PPS (GP 7600) and PPS (GP 6600) has been received on the ground that these additional
creations will facilitate smooth merger of present incumbents of CSSS and CSS.

Thedemand for creation of additional posts in the grade of Sr. PPS and PPS is linked to the demand of cadre merger, hence it is for the cadre controlling
authority i.e., the DoPT to decide the issue in its entirety.

d) The AFHQSS has demanded grant of two increments at par with CSS/CSSS at the time of promotion from GP 6600 to GP 7600 for parity.
Commission finds no merit in continuation of two increments for CSS/CSSS and hence recommends abolition of the same.

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