Monday, June 30, 2008

It is no secret that the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations have pleased no one. IPS officers are now at loggerheads with IAS officers over the pay scale. The 13-member committee appointed by the Cabinet Secretary has 10 IAS officers and the report has been drafted solely by IAS officers, and police officers believe they will get a raw deal compared with bureaucrats, as the pay will be fixed on recommendations made by only IAS men.

The officers' war may just escalate after the final report on the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations is submitted.

Former CBI director, Jogendra Singh says, "I do not place any credence to this kind of a committee because it is only to whitewash the sins committed by the Pay Commission and then when it suits them, they will get it passed."

According to a memorandum submitted by the IPS Association, the Sixth Pay Commission has been heavily partial to their counterpart. While in the first year of service, the pay structure remains the same, the difference in pay increases progressively. By the 17th year of service, the difference rises to over Rs 17,000 a month.

YR OF SERVICE

IPS IAS

DIFFERENCE

First

Rs 21,000

Rs 21,000

Nil

Fourth

Rs 23,320

Rs Rs 23,720

Rs Rs 400

Fourteenth

Rs 32,240

Rs 48,200

Rs Rs 15,960

Seventeenth

Rs 34,730

Rs 51,920

Rs 17,190

However, the men in khaki are lobbying hard in political circles. Nearly a dozen Chief Ministers have already shot off letters in their support to the Prime Minister's Office as well as the Home Ministry.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, YSR Reddy says, "IPS officers do work under extreme and difficult circumstances so it is always necessary that they be properly rewarded. I personally spoke to the Prime Minister and he also did agree with my point of view."

It's a faceoff between the two pillars of the country's bureaucratic steel frame and it has got top political leaders in the country - including chief ministers - involved. It's now upto the Government to end this fight for prestige between the two most prestigious services.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Chiefs of armed forces firm up proposals for pay hike

NEW DELHI: A high-level Army, Navy and Air Force meeting was held here on Thursday to take stock of the progress made in getting anomalies in the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations rectified.

The meeting chaired by Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee Admiral Sureesh Mehta and attended by Air chief F H Major and vice chief of army staff M L Naidu, also reviewed the final services memorandum to be taken up with the Empowered Group of Secretaries.

The deliberations come in the wake of reports that the empowered committee headed by Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar would finalise its report on the anomalies submitted by the armed forces. The committee is likely to submit its report to the Cabinet shortly.

The armed forces have sought a pay hike of 20 per cent and above for all ranks from the empowered group of secretaries, Ministry sources said today.

Under the proposals, the ordinary jawans and all personnel below officer rank may get a hike of up to 40 per cent over and above the eight per cent hike recommended by the pay commission.

This would come in the shape of raising the military service pay to Rs 3,000 against the recommended Rs 1,000, apart from substantial hikes in their specific hardship allowances and for personal maintenance.

The mid-level officers could expect a raise of 30 per cent, while those in the ranks of Brigadiers and above and equivalent posts in the Navy and Air Force could get a 20 per cent hike, if the proposals submitted by the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee Admiral Sureesh Mehta are accepted.
Source : The Economic Times

Cols, Brigs to be moved into higher pay band

Officers of the rank of brigadier and equivalent in the armed forces are now expected be placed in the pay scale recommended for major generals. Similarly, colonels and equivalent would be moved up in the pay-scale ladder after they compete a certain length of service.

Sources associated with the empowered committee of secretaries looking into perceived anomalies in the Sixth Pay Commission’s recommendations said that the upward revision in pay scales for brigadiers and colonels had been agreed to during deliberations between the committee members and defence ministry representatives. A final decision in this regard, however, is yet to be taken and there could be some modifications.

The committee is headed by the cabinet secretary, K M Chandrasekhar. The committee was set up after there was widespread discontent in the armed forces, Indian Police Service, para-military organisations as well as other central government services over the pay panel’s recommendations. The committee’s recommendations would be sent to the cabinet for its approval.

Sources said that it was now proposed that brigadiers would be moved into the pay scale of 39,200-67,100, which had been recommended by the pay panel for major generals. Colonels and equivalents would also be moved into a higher scale after they put in at least 20 years of service.

Sources added that no changes in the basic pay of officers of other ranks were expected, though revision of certain allowances and benefits is on the cards. Middle-rung officers were said to be the worst hit by the pay panel’s proposals.

Also on the cards is an upward revision of the grade pay for armed forces officers from captain to brigadier. While fixing grade pay, armed forces officers where recommended a grade pay that was one level below that of civil service officers for the same basic pay. For example, the same pay scale was recommended for a captain in the army and a senior time scale officer in the civil services. The grade pay recommended for a captain, however, was Rs 5,700 per month where as that for the civil service officer was Rs 6,100. Similarly, the grade pay of Rs 6,600 was proposed for a lieutenant colonel, while that of Rs 8,300 was proposed for his IAS counterpart.

Grade pay is an important issue as it is the sole determinant of status of central government employees vis-à-vis the civil services. Military personnel have been pointing out that successive pay commissions have been consistently downgrading their status.

Another important issue if the newly introduced Military Service Pay (MSP), recommended at Rs 6,000 per month for officers and Rs 1,000 per month for personnel below officer rank (PBOR). It has now been agreed to double the MSP for PBOR to Rs 2,000.

Introduction of the MSP would also result in working out a modified parity for personnel who have retired before January 1, 2006, the retrospective date for which the approved recommendations of the pay panel are to be implemented. Sources said that earlier retirees would be benefited by an amount equivalent to 50 per cent of the MSP in their pension fixation.

Source : The Tribune.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hefty Pay Hike for the Armed Forces

New Delhi, June 25 (PTI) A hefty pay hike of 20 per cent and even above appears to be in the offing for armed forces personnel in the proposals likely to be firmed up tomorrow in a crucial meeting of the tri-services chiefs with the empowered group of secretaries.
The meeting, which is likely to be attended by Defence Minister A K Antony, is being held in the background of reported dissatisfaction among the services over the recommendations made by the Sixth Pay Commission.

This will be the last meeting between the armed forces chiefs and the empowered group set up by the government after Army, Navy and Air Force raised objections over the anomalies in the pay commission report.

Under the proposals, the ordinary jawans and all personnel below officer rank may be given a hike of up to 40 per cent over and above the eight per cent hike recommended by the commission. This would come in the shape of raising the military service pay to Rs 3,000 against the recommended Rs 1,000.

The mid-level officers could expect a raise of 30 per cent, while those in the ranks of Brigadiers and above and equivalent posts in the Navy and Air Force could get a 20 per cent hike, if the proposals submitted by the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee Admiral Sureesh Mehta are accepted.

"A quantum jump is sure to be there," senior defence ministry officials said, as the government wants to check any officer exodus from the armed forces and also attract new talent to the services.
Source : PTI

Forces may get further pay hike of 20 per cent

New Delhi, June 24: Alarmed by the exodus of talent from the armed forces, the government is likely to announce a bonanza that would enhance the pay and perks of the men in battle fatigues by 15 to 20 per cent.

It is also expected to create around 4,000 more posts of colonels, brigadiers and generals in the Army and their equivalents in the Navy and Air Force to address the issue of resentment due to stagnation in the forces.

The new pay package for the armed forces is likely to be finalised at a meeting of the three service chiefs and other top officials led by Defence Minister A K Antony with the empowered group of secretaries headed by Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar on Thursday.

The Ministry has been seeking a raise of 15 per cent to 20 per cent in salaries of the armed forces in view of the dissatisfaction expressed by them over the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations.

The dissatisfaction reportedly triggered an increase in the number of Premature Retirement applications, which has touched the 1,000 mark recently.

Chiefs of Staff Committee Chairman Admiral Sureesh Mehta would make a presentation to the Committee of Secretaries before it is submitted to the Cabinet.

The empowered panel will study the proposal for increase in basic pay across all ranks by 15 to 20 per cent, over and above the hike already suggested by the pay commission.

An enhanced Military Service Pay of Rs 3,000 for Personnel Below Officer Rank instead of the pay commission recommended Rs 1,000 is likely to get a nod, sources said.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Something more for the Forces

A revised pay package for the armed forces could be finalised in the next two days.

This follows widespread dissatisfaction and disappointment over the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission.

The Committee of Secretaries has finalised its report and Defence Minister AK Antony will review these fresh proposals along with the service chiefs before forwarding them to the Cabinet for approval.

Details of the report are not known but the report is expected to enhance pay for middle-rung officers and also increase the Military Service Pay for personnel below officer rank.

The report is expected to address grievances over promotions by increasing the number of Generals, Brigadiers and Colonels and their equivalent in the Navy and the Air Force


It is also expected to rectify the anomalies in the rank structure between the armed forces on one side and paramilitary forces and civil services on the other.

The authorities are hopeful the new recommendations will stem the exodus of officers from the three services.

Close to 1,000 officers are reported to have put in their papers after the Pay Commission report.

Pay revision for armed forces to be announced next week

Government may unfold a bonanza for the armed forces next week in determined steps to stem exodus of officer cadres as well as give recognition to the hazards the forces have to operate in.

The bonanza could come in the shape of an enhanced pay package for the armed forces personnel and increasing the number of Generals, Brigadiers and Colonels and their equivalent in the Navy and the Air Force.

A final decision of the revised pay package as well as opening promotion avenues for the army, navy and the air force top brass is likely to be finalised at a key meeting on June 26.

At the meeting, Defence Minister A K Antony will lead his ministry’s delegation comprising all three service chiefs to work out new pay package with the empowered committee of secretaries headed by Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar.

The meeting assumes significance in the wake of reported dissatisfaction over the sixth pay commission recommendations among the forces which is triggering an increased exodus.

Chiefs of Staff Committee Chairman Admiral Sureesh Mehta would make a presentation to the committee before it submits its report to the Cabinet.

An enhanced Military Service Pay for Personnel Below Officer Rank and rectifying anomalies in the rank structure between armed forces and the paramilitary forces, and the civil services are expected to be agreed upon at the meeting.
Source : Economic Times

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Desparity in the vith Pay Commission Report.

he recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission have generated among large sections of Government employees and pensioners a feeling of intense hurt, humiliation and anger. They believe that in dealing with their case the Pay Commission has thrown to the winds all canons of justice and fair play.
Apparently, the powers exercised, the responsibilities borne, the risks undertaken, the disabilities suffered and the long hours put in by the security personnel did not figure in the calculus of the Pay Commission. Nor did it seem to be aware that every year about a thousand security personnel of various ranks are killed while performing their duties.

The Sixth Pay Commission headed by Justice BN Srikrishna described itself as being different from all the previous Pay Commissions. It was required “not only to evolve a proper pay package for Government employees but also to make recommendations rationalising the governmental structure with a view to improving the delivery mechanism for providing better services to the common man. In addition, linking the pay packages with simplification of systems and processes within the Government, greater delegation with emphasis on accountability, responsibility and assimilation of technology have been the Commission’s guiding philosophy.”(Para 1.1.7 Of the PC Report).
The Commission has sought to achieve these objectives by reducing decision making layers, coalescing 32 out of the existing 34 pay scales (grades) to four long running pay bands comprising 20 grades, each with a distinct grade pay, while maintaining the 2 topmost scales above and distinct from the pay bands. The Commission also recommended some other features like Performance Related Incentive Scheme and variable increments and believes that the changes proposed by it are calculated “to ensure a young and dynamic bureaucracy, with a result oriented approach, where the best persons available are selected for holding specific jobs”. The strong belief of the Commission in its superior wisdom and the infallibility of its recommendations seems to have led the Commission to take the somewhat unusual step of warning the Government that “any modification in the scheme of recommendations can severely affect the outcome of this report sets out to achieve”.
Reactions to Sixth Pay Commission recommendations
The compensation paid by the government to its employees is supposed to represent the worth of the services rendered by the employee to the employer. Since there is no direct yardstick of measuring the worth in financial terms, government employees, use the compensation paid to their fellow employees as an indicator of the government’s assessment of the comparative worth of the duties performed by them. As the IAS holds the top position among the different classes/services in which government servants are divided, the compensation paid to the IAS becomes the reference point used by their fellow government employees.
The recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission have generated among large sections of Government employees and pensioners a feeling of intense hurt, humiliation and anger. They believe that in dealing with their case the Pay Commission has thrown to the winds all canons of justice and fair play and has arbitrarily proceeded to alter the norms governing their remuneration and career prospects to their detriment citing untenable grounds. They also believe that the Commission has been partisan in pushing the interests of a service which has functioned as the most powerful trade union in the country and having maintained a stranglehold on the levers of power has utilised all opportunities of improving the position, prospects and status of its members. Instead of acting with due circumspection the Commission seems to have blindly accepted the prescriptions presented to it by the IAS lobby and rushed to present its report without even taking a final look at the chaos, its recommendations were going to create.
Some obvious blunders
One of the major recommendations of the Commission is that the revised pay of those serving in the apex grade (Grade 33) posts and the revised pensions of those who retired from this grade should be a little over 307 per cent of their existing salaries and pensions. Most of the government servants serving in grades 32 and below and pensioners who retired from those grades (32 and below) whose revised salaries and pensions show far less gains are naturally upset at what they perceive as grossly iniquitous recommendations of the Commission. The pre-revised grade 32 (24,050-26,000), to which the DGs of State Police Forces also belong, includes public servants who had been found meritorious enough to pass every test and to be promoted to the feeder grade for the appointment to the apex grade (Rs. 26,000 fixed). Their promotion to the apex grade did not come about not because of any shortcoming in their qualifications or merits but often merely because of the non-availability of vacancies in the apex grade at the relevant time. In the existing scheme of things it was provided that even if an officer in grade 32 was unlucky enough not to be appointed to the apex grade, he could still catch up (paywise) with his luckier counterparts after just three years. Those in grade 31 could reach the same level after six years. That enabling opportunity now seems to have been shut out by the Sixth Pay Commission. Their misery is compounded by being pushed sharply down in pay relativity (which is a well recognised indicator of status and prestige). The revised pay of an officer drawing Rs 24,050 will be fixed at Rs 65,770.00 (inclusive of the grade pay of Rs. 13,000). Thus while he was drawing just Rs 1,950 less than the apex grade man, in the revised scale he will end up drawing Rs 14,230.00 less on account of pay only. The disparity of Rs 1,950 has, been increased by a factor of more than seven per cent. The revised pay of those who had already reached the peak of Rs 26,000.00 in Grades 31 and 32 and were drawing pay equal to the apex grade officers will now be fixed at Rs.71,270.00 (inclusive of grade pay) i.e. Rs. 8,730.00 less than the apex grade pay. What can be the justification for this blatant discrimination?
According to the tables furnished by the Pay Commission (pp-67- 68) the revised pay of an officer drawing a pay of Rs 14,300.00 in grade S-28 will be Rs 48,200.00 while the revised pay of an officer drawing Rs 16,400.00 in grade S-27 will be Rs 36,940.00!!! Among the victims of this capricious banding are IPS officers of the rank of DIG who have been placed in PB-3. Their feelings can be easily imagined.
The deal the pensioners got
The lot of the pensioners is much worse. A pensioner who had retired holding a grade 32 post was allowed a pension of Rs. 12,025. His pension was thus only Rs. 975 less than his counterpart who retired from the apex grade. According to the fitment table prepared by the Pay Commission his revised pension as on 1.1.2006 will be Rs. 25,734.00.00 The Pay Commission has also ruled that “the revised pension, in no case, shall be lower than fifty per cent of the sum of the minimum in the pay band and the grade pay thereon corresponding to the pre-revised pay scale from which the pensioner had retired. To this extent, a change would need to be allowed from the fitment shown in the fitment table”(End of Para 5.1.47 Page 339) Our pensioner would thus find his pension increased to (39,200 + 13,000 = 52,200 x 0.50) Rs. 26,100 which will be exactly Rs 13,900 less than the pension of his counterpart who retired from the apex grade. The disparity of Rs 975.00 will now become multiplied by a factor of fourteen !!! Even those having retired after having reached the top of the scale and thus drawing a pension equal to those who retired from the apex grade will now draw a pension of Rs. 27,820.00 only i.e. Rs. 12,180.00 less than the retiree apex graders!! What could possibly be the reason for such an atrocious formulation? The pensioners would certainly like to know.
More absurdities in revised pensions
It is also seen that all pensioners who retired from the existing grades S-28 and S-29 will draw the same pension of Rs. 24,100.00 irrespective of the fact that one may have retired while drawing a pay of Rs. 14,300.00 in grade S-28 or Rs. 22,400.00 in Grade S-29. The difference in the pension of one who retired from grade 32 drawing Rs. 24,050.00 and one who retired from grade 28 drawing Rs. 14,300.00 will be a mere Rs. 2,000.00. Those serving at Rs. 14,300 in the existing pay scales in grade S-28 and also those who retired from this grade seem to be the most blessed by the Pay Commission, even more than those in the Apex grade.
The pro IAS bias
The bias of the Commission in favour of the IAS is apparent from its recommendations for improving the pay structure and career prospects of the IAS and ignoring the demand for removal of discrimination against other services in these matters. The Commission has quoted some obviously flimsy grounds for justifying what it calls “the traditional edge” of the IAS over the other services.
The other justification seems to be a comparison with salaries in the private sector. The salaries in the private sector may be higher, but the job security and perks available in government service even to those whose performance is nothing extraordinary more than compensate for the difference in salary. And nothing prevents the bright IAS officers who feel underpaid from leaving their government jobs for more lucrative assignments wherever available.
Some persistent myths
Yet another reason quoted for justifying the edge is the myth of the IAS being intellectually superior to the rest of those who get recruited to the IPS/Central Services. This again is untenable. There may be a few exceptionally bright officers in the IAS (there are some in the other services also) but on the whole there is not much difference in the calibre of those who join the IAS and the others.
Ignoring the contribution of the security services
Another unfortunate result of the domination of the decision making mechanism in the government of India by the IAS is the failure of the government, and the successive pay commissions to appreciate properly the role of the security services—the defence forces, the paramilitary forces and the police and intelligence organisations in preserving the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country and maintaining peace and order within the country without which no progress of any kind would have been possible. Has the threat to the nation’s survival attracted the Pay Commission’s attention? According to the Pay Commission’s appraisal the worth of the job done by a police constable is no better than that of the job done by a postman, a notice server, or a railway mail guard. Apparently, the powers exercised, the responsibilities borne, the risks undertaken, the disabilities suffered and the long hours put in by the police constable did not figure in the calculus of the Pay Commission. Nor did it seem to be aware that every year about a thousand Indian policemen of various ranks are killed while performing their duties. One can only hope that those at the helm of affairs get to realise the disastrous consequences of undermining the morale of the security forces of the country before it is too late.
Source : The Organiser

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

No Major Changes Likely

There isn’t much to cheer for millions of central government employees, including those in railways, paramilitary and defence services, as the empowered committee examining the 6th pay commission’s proposals is unlikely to "rewrite" the original report in any big way.

At best, it would make minor upward revisions since the government holds the pay report to be pro-employee and prepared with a view to maximize benefits for the bulk of the officialdom.

"Every rupee hiked costs the exchequer a few crores. Even if the central government can afford to bear its own burden, the expected demand for similar hikes in the states can potentially derail the economy. More so, when many states are already overstressed after slashing sales tax on petrol products and LPG," highly placed government sources told TOI on Tuesday.

What, however, is certain is that the committee, headed by cabinet secretary K M Chandrasekhar, has progressed well in its work and is expected to submit its much awaited report by July first week. The sixth pay commission recommendations, effective from January 2006, are likely to be accepted and implemented "very soon" after that.

The committee has held over two dozen meetings with employee associations and ministries by now and it is fast veering round to the view that its larger objective is to rationalise parts of the report to benefit the maximum numbers.

Ensuring uniformity of remuneration and scales across millions of government employees, sources said, was a gigantic task and it was felt that the pay commission had done a good job.

"The committee will definitely not go into the nitty-gritty of the entire report but may recommend very minor changes here and there," sources added. Open as well as subdued protests marked the submission of the pay panel’s report on March 24 and, for the first time, the message did not go down well even with the armed forces, forcing the defence minister and the service chiefs to approach the government for a better deal.

Later, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself addressed the issue, promising that the genuine concerns of government servants would be looked into by the empowered committee. "I never imagined that as secretary, I would get to draw Rs 80,000 a month but the pay report has made that possible. Comparing government salaries with profit-driven corporate majors is very unfair. The recommendations have factored in a very wide range of issues that the government has to deal with," a senior IAS officer said.

The pay commission recommended a minimum entry-level salary of Rs 6,660 and a maximum of Rs 80,000 for secretaries, amounting to a minimum-maximum ratio of 1:12. The cabinet secretary’s pay was fixed at Rs 90,000. The total number of grades were reduced to 20 (from the earlier 35) spread across four distinct pay bands. It also proposed annual increment at the rate of 2.5% of the total pay with high-performers (not more than 20% of the total strength) getting a higher 3.5%.

The recommendations would also have a bearing on lakhs of pensioners across the country as their remuneration would be revised accordingly. The commission also favoured a revision of the Consumer Price Index for computation of dearness allowance as frequently as feasible and it even suggested a separate price index for government employees by the National Statistical Commission.
Source : Times of India

Friday, June 13, 2008

Pay panel : Only marginal changes expected

Under pressure on account of mounting expenditure, the government is likely to make only marginal changes in the recommendations made by the Sixth Pay Commission. Changes are likely only in the case of defence personnel and police forces, it is understood.

The committee of secretaries headed by Cabinet secretary K M Chandrashekhar looking into the commission’s recommendations is expected to submit its report by the end of July. These would then go to the Cabinet for approval.

Another panel headed by finance secretary D Subbarao is separately looking into the grievances of defence and police forces. This committee will give its inputs to the committee of secretaries that has secretaries of the departments of home, defence, revenue, expenditure, post, security as well as deputy comptroller and auditor general and member secretary of Railway board as its members.

The defence ministry and police forces have already made presentations before the committee. While marginal changes are expected to be carried out when the award is implemented, the government is unlikely to go in for major correction as it does not have much fiscal space. There is also a view that the government is only an implementing agency for the commission’s recommendations. The government’s ability to reward its employees is limited by the rising pressure on its coffers on account of subsidies for food, oil and fertiliser, as also the farm loan waiver package.

The total direct subsidies on account of food, fertiliser and oil this fiscal is estimated at Rs 66,357 crore. When some interest expenses are included, this would rise to Rs 71,430 crore. The farm loan waiver scheme is expected to drain Rs 25,000 crore. The cost of implementing the pay commission’s report this fiscal is pegged at Rs 30,062 crore.

The panel’s recommendations had invited responses showing disappointment from various segments of the government. Some officials told ET that the wage increase recommended was far below expectations and could lead to an exodus to the private sector.

One civil servant who joined the revenue service after graduating from an IIT admitted to ET that some officials were taking private tuition to make both ends meet at a time when inflation was above 8%. Middle-level officers, particularly those who are given official accommodation and transport, claim that the recommendations in their present form will not benefit them much.

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