The much awaited Seventh Pay Commission report has been submitted after long drawn deliberations with stakeholders. The media is agog with the word that the employees await a bonanza which will be repeated till the Government decides. Thereafter, it would again hit the headlines as and when the decision is taken and later on implementation. The net result is a market hype that a large sum is dished out to the employees. In this background, the essence of the report was to be seen dispassionately.
The Government had not merged the Dearness allowance as recommended by the Sixth Pay Commission on it reaching the 50% mark thus depriving the employees of a benefit but it is a travesty of justice that this Pay Commission has also merely adopted a lacklustre approach of laying a multiplying factor without considering any of the anamolies that had arisen in the last six pay commissions report implementation.
In the Fifth Pay Commission, the existing employees sacrificed their increments for pay fixation as part of the austerity measure. This has not been restored rightfully either by the Sixth Pay Commission or the present Commission. A glance at the matrix adopted shows that this does not need a massive documentation of nearly 900 pages nor the time taken. The Commission needs to be held accountable for the public money that has been spent by it without doing its duty it states to be that of improving the pay structure to attract better talent and competence.
Let us examine this matrix which has been laid out. Persons who are graduates compete in competitive exams to enter the portals of Government service at the levels indicated at 4, 7 and 10. In fact, for the exams taken are common for levels 4 & 7 and the ones with higher scores are selected for level 7. The personnel at level 4 are on completion of 3 years eligible for promotion to level 6 on availability of posts. As per the projected matrix the person at the beginning of the 4th year of service at level 4 would be eligible for basic of Rs 27,900/-. On promotion to level 6 he would be eligible to draw a sum of Rs 35,400/- which is the beginning of the scale for discharging the same work.
Compare this with the person who has been absorbed on higher merit at level 7 directly. On completion of minimum 3 years he is eligible to move to level 8.
At the end of 3 years he would be drawing a basic pay of Rs 49,000 and on promotion to level 8, the starting point is fixed at Rs 47,600 which he was drawing the previous year, thus entitling him for a princely increment of Rs 1,500/-. This would make it clear that the first two points in Level 8 are virtually redundant.
Contrast this with the hike of Rs 7,500/- or 26.88% for continuing to discharge the same work. It will be all the more astonishing that for this increment he takes the responsibilities of a Gazetted Officer too. If the Pay Commissions are to lead one to believe that better and competent talent would be attracted by such brilliant packaging, it could only spell administrative doom. This is coming from the pen of a judge who preaches the principles of equity and natural justice to all and quotes the preamble of the Constitution in his foreword!
Let us see what happens to this young man who moves upto level 9 after 4 years. As he commenced his tenure at Rs 50,500 mark his pay will be enhanced from Rs 55,200 to Rs 58,000 an increase of Rs 2,800 for discharging the same work. Thus, the Commission believes that when one gets a promotion to a higher post he needs to be compensated lesser but if he successfully completes a tenure then it should be more compensation. This cruel joke comes after "Analysis" over years speaks volumes about the justice system.
The career progression ahead could also give much fodder for the cartoonists of the day. Level 9 to Level 10 means the movement to the Civil Services cadres. The Sixth Pay Commission believed that it was no great deal and hence retained the Grade Pay at the same level to cut the benefits to a single increment. The Seventh Pay Commission merely uses its multiplication skills. As per norms, a person who has completed 3 years at Level 9 shall be eligible for the benefit of a promotion to the cadre of Level 10. At that stage he would be drawing a salary of Rs 63,300/-. No such person is promoted at that stage but even theoretically if he were to be promoted at that stage he would draw a pay of Rs 67,000 an increase of Rs 3,700 which is nowhere near the largesse for the movement with the same level of duties to be discharged. Does the Commission wish to retain the talent attracted at all is the million dollar question.
The career progression of the person who is directly recruited at Level 10 however is taken care of by ensuring that there is a direct jump at the time of each progression. The following table would reflect it
Level 10 to 11 from Rs 63,100 to Rs 67,000
Level 11 to 12 from Rs 76,200 to Rs 78,800
Level 12 to 13 from Rs 88,700 to Rs 1,18,500
Even here the levels 10 and 11 discharge the same type of work while level 12 is actually the next level in the hierarchy. Level 12 and 13 are the same functionally. This is again puzzling.
The media and corporate honchos with the economists would also have some explanation when they know that the persons moving from levels 9 to 10 at the time of implementation would appear to gain whilst those who had been promoted one year earlier would also draw the same pay as them. The arithmetic of all these could explain the indices adopted, the meetings held but whither is the concept that talent needs to be attracted and retained, competence needs to be rewarded for motivating enhancement. Will someone do some soul searching?