What central government employees can expect from the 7th Pay Commission – Part II

What central government employees can expect from the 7th Pay Commission – Part II

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 IPS memorandum has quoted a number of reports to suggest that the tough life of a cop justifies the demand for a fatter hike. For example, it has quoted articles published in two journals — Global Journal of Medicine and Public Health and International Journal of Pharma and Bio-Sciences — to conclude that one of two cops in India suffers from sleep disturbances and anxiety whereas chances of cardiovascular problems increase by 38% after a person joins as a police officer. Among other demands (see What it Expects), IPS wants better life and health insurance cover, an overtime allowance and also a new perk called allowance for “un-social” hours (for duty between 8 pm and 6 am).
Railway officers too cite round-the-clock work demands as a reason for better salary. “A railway officer may be called to join duty any time during the night. The pressure always remains as it’s a 24×7 work,” says RR Prasad, an Indian Railway Personnel Service officer and secretary general of Federation of Railways Officers’ Association. The Indian Railways is a gigantic organisation with over 13 lakh employees, 16,000 of whom are officers. Both the officers and staff associations have made their representations to the 7th CPC. The officers want non-gazetted staff to get their dues but they demand the proportion of the pay of the lowest and the highestpaid employee should increase from current 1:12 to 1:18.

To be sure, a formula towards pay parity has been the hallmark of the last few pay commissions. A government entry-level peon now gets a monthly pay of Rs 14,000, if dearness allowance is factored in. Similarly, a mid-level government driver’s monthly salary, including allowances, is Rs 30,000, at least two times that of his counterpart in a private sector company. And that’s why the salary gap between the lowest and highest paid government servant has drastically decreased over the last three decades.

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.

Balancing Act

An IPS officer can become a joint secretary to government of India only two years after an IAS of the same batch can reach that level. Similarly, there has been a nine-yearlong gap in joint secretary empanelment between IAS and IRS, something many services claim is a continuation of the British legacy. Today, IAS officers at the level of deputy secretary and director at the Centre constitute about only 13% of the total officers. But as the hierarchy goes up, the percentage of IAS vis-a-vis others also rises. For example, 75% joint secretaries to government of India belong to IAS and IFS, and the percentage of IAS and IFS goes further up to 95 in case of government of India secretaries.
“The edge that the IAS has must continue. Why will a person join the IAS after quitting a job in HSBC Bank if that edge is missing? IAS officers have work experiences at Tehsil, sub-divisions, district, state and Central government levels. We interact with the political executives at all levels. IAS should remain a premium service,” says Sanjay R Bhoosreddy, a joint-secretary-ranked officer and secretary to IAS (Central) Association.

 

NEXT PAGE>>>>>