7th Pay Commission – Blunts IAS Edge – But the IAS Still Gets to Decide

7th Pay Commission – Blunts IAS Edge – But the IAS Still Gets to Decide – IAS being the premier civil service in the country, flowing from its unique role and responsibilities. There cannot be an iota of doubt in this matter – Vivek Rae

On 13 November, Rathin Roy, the economist member of the VIIth Central Pay Commission tweeted about medals being burnt by Indian veterans unhappy with the one rank one pension (OROP) package. “If I were not on the Pay Commission,” he rued from @EmergingRoy,”liberated in a week and shall comment freely on OROP .. Watch this space.”

This morning, even as the media was busy digesting the Pay Panel’s executive summary, Roy fired another bullet. “Today’s ET CROSSWORD clue is from Pay Commission report: “Edge easily got over without intellectual pretension.”

He chirped his own comments in the report: “With respect to the Edge, my view is that there exists no compelling reason to give an edge to any specific All-India Service or Central Service. I do believe that under the present administrative arrangements, the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) has a multi-dimensional leadership role to play and that often means that in specific jobs, such as that of District Magistrate/Collector, officers occupying such positions must be able to exercise overall leadership and be primus inter pares vis-a-vis other district officers such as the District Chief of Police or the District Forest Officer. Such is secured by showing leadership qualities backed by administrative affirmation. Simply granting two increments does not bestow such leadership or affirmation.

Roy’s fellow-panelist Vivek Rae, a retired IAS officer, used the dissent note. He also threw in the bogey of state chief ministers and even the Supreme Court of India. “It is clear, that the matter regarding the edge for the IAS over the other All India Services and Group ‘A’ Services has been deliberated at length by Central Pay Commissions over the last six decades and also by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, and there has been repeated endorsement about the IAS being the premier civil service in the country, flowing from its unique role and responsibilities. There cannot be an iota of doubt in this matter.

No new factors have emerged for the Seventh CPC to conclude that the edge enjoyed by the IAS should be removed and the IPS and Indian Forest Service brought on par with the IAS. The objective reality in fact points in the opposite direction. It may be noted that the financial edge enjoyed by the IAS over the IPS and Indian Forest Service is essentially at the State and field level and State Chief Ministers are key stakeholders who need to be consulted for taking a well-considered view in the matter. No such consultations have been held by the Seventh CPC with the political leadership at the State level,” Rae stated.

Not that the dissent tool hasn’t been used before. Suresh Tendulkar distanced himself from the Vth pay panel where he was member. But there he was the economist and MK Kaw, the redoubtable IAS official, had chairman justice SR Pandian firmly on his side.

In contrast to Pandian, justice AK Mathur, chairman of the VIIth pay commission, wasn’t just anti-caste. Instead of smashing it, he got the lesser gods included! “The Chairman is of the view that the fundamental principle of remuneration for any position is that it should be based on the complexity and difficulty of the duties and responsibility of the job in question. The criticality of the functions at the district administration level holds good equally for the IAS, IPS (Indian Police Service) as well as the Indian Forest Service. Therefore, some additional remuneration, in the early stages of their career indeed is justified not only for the IAS but also for the IPS and Indian Forest Service,” he recorded.

So, the ultimate recommendation of the pay panel via Para 7.2.19 is: “Therefore, the edge presently accorded to the Indian Administrative Service at three grades mainly Senior Time Scale, Junior Administrative Grade and Selection Grade may continue in the form of two additional increments @ 3 percent each in the proposed pay matrix. The same is being recommended for Indian Police Service and Indian Forest Service as well. In so far as the Indian Foreign Service is concerned, the existing dispensation shall continue.

Para 7.2.19 is the very first time in the history of Pay Commission reports that the ghost of the “proverbial edge” of the IAS (and correspondingly) the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) have been buried. In earlier Pay Commissions, the incursions had to be from the “lesser services”. For example, the IVth pay commission gave a scale of Rs 7,300-7,600 (equivalent then to additional secretary) to chief secretary, DGP and principal chief conservator of forests in small states. For large states, the chief secretary was pegged at Rs 8,000 (like any full secretary to GOI) and DGP and PCCF of those states were given a lower scale of Rs 7,600 (fixed). A robust series of memorandums had to be mounted by the IPS before the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) and the DGP of big states was grudgingly a different scale, Rs 7,600-200-8,000. The caste system had won! A similar battle erupted after the VIth Pay Commission withheld the edge of chief secretary, now given a salary of Rs 80,000 (like a GOI secretary). The DoPT, with a gentle nudge from then prime minister Manmohan Singh, allowed one DGP and one PCCF in each state to be pegged at Rs 80,000 too. But even as many IAS officers other than chief secretary in each state got the Rs 80,000 scale, any other DGP or PCCF stayed one level lower at Rs 75,500-annual 3 percent increment-80-000).

Justice Mathur has attempted to settle the matter decisively: “On the ‘two year edge’ the Chairman does not agree to the demand and finds no justification for according the two years gap. He feels that the Indian bureaucracy has come of age and various Central Services are now discharging distinct and valuable functions in the overall governance of the country. The two year edge is an archaic concept in the present realm. Following Kothari Commission’s recommendations, even the recruitment to all the All India Services as well the Central Group ‘A’ services is through a common exam unlike earlier times. The jobs and responsibilities of IPS and Indian Forest Service officers are very arduous and challenging in the present time. Recent events where, while maintaining law and order many IPS and forest officers have also lost their lives. Therefore, the Chairman does not recommend continuance of the two years gap for empanelment in the Central Staffing Scheme and feels that the two year edge that has hitherto been maintained between the IAS and other services should be abolished.“Predictably, Mr Rae has dissented.The sting lies in the tail. DoPT – not Roy or Justice Mathur – led by an IAS officer, will pilot the cabinet note. Cabinet secretary, another IAS officer, will process it. The prime minister’s principal secretary, a former IAS, will brief the boss.

In the entire chain hereon, only the PM who is a non-IAS!

PS: (Does not represent the views of gconnect) Unedited Republish of the article from : Wikinews India