If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys

by GConnect TeamJanuary 9, 2011

Shri.H.S.Govardhana Rao, who works for Central Excise Department as Superintendent at Bangalore is the author of this Article.

Inspectors and Superintendents of Central Excise and Customs are the backbone of the Central Board of Excise & Customs. From the day one they are a neglected lot. The Board is not at all giving proper and much needed support to promote this cadre. 

The Inspector of Central Bureau of Investigation is doing a good job and the 4th Pay commission has recognized this by recommending a Basic Pay of Rs.2000/- for them. Whereas, the Inspector of Central Excise, an equivalent grade, was left at a lower level with Rs.1640/- basic pay. Inspector of Central Excise will definitely do wonderful job more than their counter part in the CBI. At times they have to be Cost Accountant, Chartered Accountant, Engineer, Chemist, Biologist, Economist, etc., to understand the problem and analyse them for assessment, clearance, adjudication et al.

Later on the Government recognized this fact and brought them also to the same pay scale but prospectively from April 21, 2004, but the purpose has not been served. There is a clear-cut disparity among Inspector of CBI of 1996 batch with that of Inspector of Central Excise. The Pay of Inspector Central Excise after the latest revision is not the same as that of their counter part at CBI.

Further, 1992 batch Inspectors whose increment fell in the month of January, February, March and April were deprived of their due share. After 1st ACP they had already got the said scale in 2004 January, February, March and April itself. So when the notification was issued for revision of pay scale to Rs.7500-250-12000, as it was not given retrospective effect their pay remained the same.

Whereas the juniors of 1992 Batch Inspectors whose increment fell in the month of May and thereafter, because of higher pay scale attached to the Superintendent grade, got their pay fixed at levels higher than 1992 batch Inspectors whose increment fell in January, February, March and April. This is illustrated below:


Details Employee A Employee B (Junior)
Date of Joining 11.03.1992 16.06.1992
01.02. 04 Pay : 7075 – Scale of Pay: 5500-175-9000 Pay : 7075 – Scale of Pay: 5500-175-9000
01.03. 04 One increment (Rs. 175/-) given Pay: 7250/-   Pay : 7075/-
11.03. 04 A.C.P given upgraded to Pay Scale of 6500-200-10500 7250+175=7425 (notional pay) as per FR. 22(1)(a)(i) pay fixed at Rs. 7500/- (the stage next above the notional pay) Pay : 7075/-  
21.04.04 Replaced to the pay scale of Rs. 7500-250-12000 without any incremental benefit. Pay: 7500/- Replaced to the pay scale of 6500-200-10500 Pay:7100/-
01.06.04   Pay: 7500/- One increment (Rs. 200/-) given Pay:7300/-
16.06.04   Pay: 7500/- A.C.P given upgraded to Pay Scale of Rs. 7500-250-12000 7300+200=7500 (notional pay)As per FR.22(1)(a)(i)Pay fixed at Rs.7750/- (the stage next above the notional pay)
01.06.05   Pay: 7750/-   Pay: 8000/-

When this anomaly is bought to the notice of the department, the department showed DOPT norm that no disparity in pay will be accepted if it is because of ACP. They have not observed the ground reality that the pay scales for next upgraded post were different for 1992 batch up to 21.04.2004 (it was 6500-200-10500) and their juniors at the time of ACP (it was Rs.7500-250-12000).

Now 6th Pay Commission is implemented. Here also there is a step-motherly treatment for Department of Revenue. There is anomaly in the pay of Superintendent of Customs & Central Excise in the 6th Pay Commission report revised by the cabinet committee.

There is a disparity between Superintendents of Customs & Central Excise with other cadres which is illustrated in brief as follows:


Sl. No. Cadre Pay scale Revised pay Scale After 4 years
1. Section officer /PS/equivalent of Staff in the secretariat 6500-10500 7500-12000 grade pay of 4800 8000-13500 Grade pay of 5400 PB-3
2. Section Officer (excluded) Ministry of finance Department of Economic affairs 7450-11500 7500-12000 grade pay of 4800 8000-13500 Grade pay of 5400 PB-3
3. Entry Grade in DANICS DANIPS, Pondicherry Civil service and Pondicherry Police Service 6500-10500 7500-12000 grade pay of 4800 8000-13500 Grade pay of 5400 PB-3
4. Assistant Nursing Superintendent, Deputy Nursing Superintendent and nursing Superintendent of Nursing and para medical staff 6500-10500, 7500-12000 and 8000-15200 8000-13500, 8000-13500 and 10000-15200 with pay band of PB-3 and grade pay of 5400, 5400 and 6600 respectively. N.A
5. Trained Graduate Teacher, Vice Principal of Teachers cadre Grade II 7500-12000, Grade I 8000-13500 8000-13500 and 10000-15200 with grade pay of 5400 and 6600 of PB-3 N.A
6. Audit / Accounts officer of Organised Accounts Cadres 7500-12000 7500-12000 with grade pay of 5400 N.A
7. Master Gazetted in military Schools of Ministry of defence, Department of defence 7500-12000 8000-13500 with grade pay of 5400 and 6600 of PB-3 N.A
8. Senior Audit / Accounts officer in Indian Audit Accounts Department 7500-12000 8000-13500 Grade pay of 5400 PB-3 N.A
9. Superintendent of Customs & Central Excise 7500-12000 7500-12000 grade pay of 4800 8000-13500 Grade pay of 5400 PB-2

Thus it can be seen that there is a clear cut step motherly treatment of Superintendent of Customs & Central Excise.

Also the Superintendent of Customs & Central Excise has been placed in the pay scale of 7500-12000 very recently i.e., on 21.04.2004 with the acceptance of pay of 6500-10500 to Inspector of Customs & Central Excise on par with the Inspector of CBI. CBEC is a peculiar department where the next promotion opportunity for Inspector is Superintendent of Customs & Central Excise and that for Superintendent of Customs & Central Excise is Assistant Commissioner with no cadre in between them.

Neither Sixth pay commission nor the review committee have given proper attention to the pay revision of Superintendent of Customs & Central Excise.

In the present system the number of Inspectors available is very less, because of this peculiar problem the Superintendent of Customs & Central Excise has to work both as basic worker and also as a supervisory officer.

The Implementation cell vide order from File F.No.1/1/2008-IC dated13.11.2009 has granted grade pay of 4600 to Inspectors. When these Inspectors become Superintendent or got their MACP they will be placed in grade pay of Rs.4800. i.e. their grade pay will be increased by mere Rs.200. Is it not strange? Their Next Grade pay should be at least Rs.5400 in PB-3 & not PB-2.

DOPT has issued circulars that Grade pay of 5400 in PB-2 and PB- 3 are different and grade pay of Rs.5400 in PB-3 is superior. So if an officer is in grade pay of 5400 in PB-2 he will be upgraded only to Grade pay of Rs.5400 in PB-3. Why this disparity of PB-2 and PB- 3 for the same grade pay of Rs.5400?

This is because the Government wants to continue with the policy of DIVIDE & RULE borrowed from British.

Now the DOPT has issued another circular where in it has been stated that the up gradation to Grade pay of Rs.5400 after 4 years of service, same would be off set against one financial upgradation under MACPS. So for Superintendent who are due or 2nd MACP will get no benefit.

There is vast inequality in treatment towards Inspector of Central Excise vis a vis Preventive Officer and Examiner as well as Superintendent of Central Excise vis a vis Superintendent of Customs and Appraisers. Though all are doing comparable duties and are under one and the same Ministry, they are not treated at par. It is true that whenever there is a shortage or no separate customs formations nearby, officers are borrowed from Central Excise formations for doing Customs Work.

In most of the Customs formations it is Central Excise staff that are working and strengthening the department with their efforts. Still Appraisers and Superintendents of Customs are given more weightage than their Central Excise counter part. In the recent cadre review that is being undertaken, it is stated that all the Appraisers (even 2007 batch) will be promoted to the grade of Assistant Commissioner.

Whereas the Superintendents up to 1997 batch may have a chance to become Assistant Commissioners. Even those lucky Stenos/UDCs/LDCs and Preventive Officers who will become Examiners/Appraisers will become A.C. and supervise their own seniors. Whereas it will take years, even after the present cadre review, for an Inspector of Central Excise to become Superintendent.

Why is this discrimination? While a case is pending before the Hon’ble Supreme Court the CBEC has gone ahead to issue promotion orders promoting around 100 Appraisers on 19.11.2010.

The CBEC should merge the cadres of Preventive Officers and Examiners with that of Inspector of Central Excise & that of Appraisers and Superintendent of Customs with that of Superintendent of Central Excise and do justice to all.

So, need of the hour is :

  • To grant pay scale of 6500-200-10500 to Inspector & pay scale of Rs.7500-250-12000 to Superintendent retrospectively with effect from 01.01.1996 on par with that of CBI.
  • Merge the cadre of Preventive officer and Examiner with Inspector of Central Excise and that of Appraisers and Superintendent of Customs with that of Superintendent of Central Excise retrospectively.
  • The ratio of promotion to the grade of Assistant Commissioner be revised in view of Supreme Court Order.
    Inspector on promotion to Superintendent of Central Excise OR on ACP/MACP should be placed in 8000-15200 scale with grade pay of Rs.5400 in PB-3 with two additional increments (since grade pay of Rs.4600/- has been accorded to Inspectors).
  • After 4 years they should be placed in 10000-15200 with Grade pay of 6600 PB-3 irrespective of ACP/MACP/Promotion with two additional increments (recently High Court has upheld CAT decision on this issue)
  • On promotion or due to second MACP they should be placed in 12000-18000 with grade pay of Rs.7600 with two additional increments to be given.
  • If for any reason the pay scale is not revised retrospectively, do justice for 1992 Batch Inspectors.

DOPT may issue separate circular in this regard to end neglecting the cadre. Please remember the country is running because of Direct & Indirect Tax collections for which the Customs and excise staff are instrumental. INDIA is SHINING because of Inspector of Central Excise & Superintendent of Central Excise. They should be rewarded accordingly.

Hope Our Finance Minister who has become pro-staff in recent times will take personal interest in this regard and direct the DOPT to issue desired orders. Though the latest pay revision coupled with the global meltdown and recession abroad could contain to a little extent the mass exodus of officers (reported to be 5% to 10%) from the department it may be wise to remember – “if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys”.

The views expressed in this article are those of the guest author and are not intended to represent the views of GConnect.

  • ashok israni
    April 16, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    Good article.But I think for such position we are more responsible than the CBEC.Even in such situation we (Inspector Supdt.) take burden of entire department.If staff is not available than we are managing any how.Why IRS are not managing the same.Have you find any Asstt.Comm. has carried out the work of Supdt or any joint commissioner do the work of Asst.Comm.we should change were mentality & do the job as per our duty list.than & than only situation will change.

  • dulip
    February 13, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    There is very little chance of better prospects of promotion conditions are getting further worst even after putting up service of 22-25 years inspectors are still waiting for first promotion. 

      February 24, 2011 at 7:37 pm

      I definetly agree with you. The Administration is not listening to the voice of the cadre. Even Finance Minister who had directed that the cadre review should be over by end ZDecember has closed is eyes. ABSOLUTELY NO HOPES.

    January 20, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Now Chairman has met the association update is at
    No fruitful results have been found. It appears CBEC has not gone through this article. Now Association comrades should workout constructively for acquiring the desired result.

    I congratulate the author for very good presentation of facts & figures.

    Definitely we are now faced with consequence of step motherly treatment by the authorities CBEC in particular.

  • shreeramachandran
    January 17, 2011 at 10:54 am

    The attitude is “I am the master, you are the servant only with sole rights to serve me with no claim for just rights”. In case anyone who can influence President of India, things get done  with not even a whisper. wonderful are the ways of thinking of government. Yardsticks shorten or lengthen according to the whims of finance ministry.Loss by the rot of grains or loss of food items by wanton discard is no worry for the government or the scams claiming crores and crores.
    I am a retiree and opted for commutation of 40%of basic pension counted for 12 years. When no interest is chargeable as per the government rules, the recovery should end up and restoration should start from the succeeding month after full recovery by 12 years. Correct? No. According to GOI it will recover for extra 36 months (total 15 years)at 40% of basic pension even though no interest is leviable. When asked to explain the reason, they show a supreme court verdict which examined one portion without examining what should be the monthly recovery. If  the recovery is to be for 15 years, the monthly recovery should be 180th of the commutation amount paid. The pension ministry says its aim is to improve the lot of retirees still with Nelson’s eye even when pointed out the anomaly. The extra recovery does not fit into any lending rate. The preaching is high but the practice is perverse. When shylock was pointed out that he can take only the pound of flesh without a drop of blood, he retracted. But our pension ministry and the masterly finance ministries are super shylocks.The government claims still that it is concerned about the elders of the country.Assess yourself the fairness of treatment.

  • c c gopi
    January 14, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Dear Sri H.S.Govardhana rao garu,

    ur article is excellent.But our board is blind,deaf and mentally retarded. Only god could help us.

    c c gopi

    January 12, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    It is very beautiful article written by the author highlighting all the relevant facts involved in the uplift of the Inspector & Superintendent Cadre in CBEC. Hope it will open the eyes of our FM & implement all the proposals of the article. This should be bought in to the current cadre review it is in progress.
    Once again I congratulate the author for nice depiction.

  • K. Ramachandran
    January 11, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Why should we compare the grade of Central Excise Inspectors with the officers of other Ministry or Board. Even within our own Board viz Central Board of Excise and Customs officers those who were selected in the Inspectors … Examination in 1982 and joined as Inspector of Central excise are working as Superintendents of Central Excise under the officers who were selected in the same examination and joined as Examiners in 1992. They are now Assistant Commissioners of Central Excise.

      January 13, 2011 at 10:25 pm

      Dear Ramachandran, that is why I am proposing Merge the cadre of Preventive officer and Examiner with Inspector of Central Excise and that of Appraisers and Superintendent of Customs with that of Superintendent of Central Excise retrospectively. If this proposal is accepted by CBEC then there will be no sch cases of disparity in future. Other Departmental officers were considered for comparison to show the step motherly treatment of 6 Pay commission & also of review committee.

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