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'sguiding 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'sassessment 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'ssurvival attracted the Pay Commission'sattention? According to the Pay Commission'sappraisal 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.