Inclusion of IAS officer in 7th Pay Commission challenged in Delhi HC

The inclusion of a senior IAS officer in the three member 7th Pay Commission has been challenged in the Delhi High Court by a group of retired officials from various other central services, including a former defence officer.

The retired officials, in their plea, challenged the notification to constitute the 7th Pay Commission alleging that there was an inherent bias in the recommendations of the commission towards IAS officers, who get a higher pay scale than their contemporaries in other services. The HC Tuesday issued a notice to the Centre on the plea and sought its response within six weeks.

According to the Finance Ministry’s notification issued in February, Vivek Rae, retired secretary-level officer in the IAS, was made a member of the panel along with a retired judge and the Director of the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, Rathin Roy.

The petitioners argued that an IAS officer could not be appointed as he would be “by necessary implication, directly interested in and affected by the recommendations of the pay commission.”

“No person who has ever been a member of any of the services, whose pay or pension is under fixation should be on the commission,” the plea said.

The central goverment counsel Jatan Singh said there was no scope for bias since recommendations of the commission were a “collective decision,” of the three members.

Recommend interim relief to govt employees: NMC

National Mazdoor Conference today urged the chairman of the newly-constituted 7th pay commission to recommend 20 per cent interim relief in favour of both central and state government employees. “We urge the chairman of the 7th pay commission that it should recommend to the new Central government (after the election) to accord the interim relief in favor of both central and state government employees and pensioners to the tune of 20 per cent interim relief in basic pay,” NMC president Subash Shastri said in a memorandum sent to the chairman of 7th pay commission.

These recommendation should be made soon after lifting up Model Code of Conduct, he said.

He also demanded merger of 50 per cent DA with the basic pay-pension and enhancement of retirement age of 62 years in case of central government employees.

Shastri emphasised that whenever the recommendation of the commission are submitted to the Central government, the Commission should extend these recommendations to the state governments in general and Jammu and Kashmir in particular.

He batted strongly for commencement of the negotiations with representatives of Associations, unions and Federations of Central government employees and pensioners so that report could be submitted within stipulated period.

“Since twenty months left to complete pay commission report, it has been urged to the chairman and other members of the 7th pay commission to pay visit to all states of the country to obtain views of state governments employees and pensioners organisations,” he said.

Shastri also urged the chairman to formulate National Pay policy for both central and state government employees and pensioners, adding that the 7th pay commission should be declared as the National pay commission.

Can govt salaries attract good talent, 7th pay panel asks

Amid a widening gap between the salaries offered by private sector companies and the government pay-scales, the Seventh Pay Commission has set the ball rolling on the process of implementing a new pay package for over 50 lakh central government employees by sending a missive to all central ministries eliciting views on whether the current remuneration packages are sufficient to attract talent to the prestigious civil services.

In a four page questionnaire, the pay panel wants to know how attractive is the annual increment, ways to reward good performance and the changes introduced by the Sixth Pay Commission such as pay bands and pay grades.

“A questionnaire seeking the considered views of stakeholders is enclosed… so as to enable the Commission to take them into account as part of its examination of the issues that it is mandated to address,” said the missive by the pay panel, requesting all replies by May 10.

The panel has also sought comments on determining the basis for pay fixation at the highest and lowest levels, variable pay, the effectiveness of the annual increment on July 1, retirement benefits under the New Pension Scheme as well as experiences of government departments with outsourcing of jobs.

Significantly, the pay panel has a dedicated section on issues relating to the defence services seeking views on how to evolve parity between salaries of civil and defence personnel. It is also expected to review benefits to war widows and disabled soldiers.

The pay panel that was, one of the last pre-poll bonanzas announced by the UPA was approved by the Cabinet on February 28 and is expected to submit its recommendations within 18 months.

Headed by former Supreme Court judge Ashok Kumar Mathur, it was asked to finalise its recommendations while “keeping in view the economic conditions in the country” and fiscal prudence.

The Sixth Pay Commission was set up in 2006,and gave its report after 18 months in March 2008, costing the Exchequer an additional Rs 26,035 crore in the first year and is considered one of the main reasons why the government missed its fiscal deficit target.

Accordingly, the Seventh Pay Commission that is looking into revising salaries of over 50 lakh central government employees and remuneration of 30 lakh pensioners has asked for ideas on how to address the rising expenditure on defence pensions.

It has also sought views on how to limit the impact of its report on state governments. “The recommendations of the Pay Commission are likely to lead to similar demands from employees of state governments…to what extent should their paying capacity in devising a reasonable remunerative package for Central Government employees,” said the questionnaire.

The panel has also sought views on the payment of bonus, which is one of its terms of reference. Additionally, it has asked for comments on the pay structure of sectoral regulators.

Union Cabinet today gave its approval to the Terms of Reference of 7th Central Pay Commission( 7th CPC)

 The Union Cabinet today gave its approval to the Terms of Reference of 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC) as follows:-

 a)      To examine, review, evolve and recommend changes that are desirable and feasible regarding the principles that should govern the emoluments structure including pay, allowances and other facilities/benefits, in cash or kind, having regard to rationalization and simplification therein as well as the specialized needs of various Departments, agencies and services, in respect of the following categories of employees:-

            i.    Central Government employees-industrial and non-industrial;

            ii.     Personnel belonging to the All India Services;

            iii.     Personnel of the Union Territories;

            iv.    Officers  and   employees   of  the   Indian  Audit  and   Accounts Department;

            v.      Members of regulatory bodies (excluding the Reserve Bank of India) set up under Acts of Parliament; and

            vi.     Officers and employees of the Supreme Court.

 b)      To examine, review, evolve and recommend changes that are desirable and feasible regarding principles that should govern the emoluments structure, concessions and facilities/benefits, in cash or kind, as well as retirement benefits of personnel belonging to the Defence Forces, having regard to historical and traditional parities, with due emphasis on aspects unique to these personnel.

  c)      To work out the framework for an emoluments structure linked with the need to attract the most suitable talent to Government service, promote efficiency, accountability and responsibility in the work culture, and foster excellence in the public governance system to respond to complex challenges of modern administration and rapid political, social, economic and technological changes, with due regard to expectations of stakeholders, and to recommend appropriate training and capacity building through a competency based framework.

 d)     To examine the existing schemes of payment of bonus, keeping in view, among other things, its bearing upon performance and productivity and make recommendations on the general principles, financial parameters and conditions for an appropriate incentive scheme to reward excellence in productivity, performance and integrity.

 e)      To review the variety of existing    allowances presently available to employees in addition to pay and suggest their rationalization and simplification, with a view to ensuring that the pay structure is so designed as to take these into account.

 f)       To examine the principles which should govern the structure of pension and other retirement benefits, including revision of pension in the case of employees who have retired prior to the date of effect of these recommendations, keeping in view that retirement benefits of all Central Government employees appointed on and after 01.01.2004 are covered by the New Pension Scheme (NPS).

  g)      To make recommendations on the above, keeping in view:

  i.         the economic conditions in the country  and need for fiscal prudence;

 ii.        the need to ensure that adequate resources are available for developmental expenditures and welfare measures;

 iii.         the likely impact of the recommendations on the finances of the State Governments, which usually adopt the recommendations with some modifications;

 iv.    the prevailing emolument structure and retirement benefits available to employees of Central Public Sector Undertakings; and

 v.       the best global practices and their adaptability and relevance in Indian conditions.

  h)      To recommend the date of effect of its recommendations on all the above.

The Commission will make its recommendations within 18 months of the date of its constitution.  It may consider, if necessary, sending interim reports on any of the matters as and when the recommendations are finalised.

The decision will result in the benefit of improved pay and allowances as well as rationalization of the pay structure in case of Central Government employees and other employees included in the scope of the 7th Central Pay Commission.

 Background

Central Pay Commissions are periodically constituted to go into various issues of emoluments’ structure, retirement benefits and other service conditions of Central Government employees and to make recommendations on the changes required.