Sunday, November 22, 2015


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?

Sunday, November 15, 2015


Saturday morning was a rude shock as the airwaves were ruled by the ghastly accounts of the attacks on Paris. As the news slowly sank in, the stark contrasts emerged clearly. The Western world was shaken and it was therefore an "Act of War" while India had been counselled over the years to bear the brunt of terrorists attacks while ammunition found its way from China and US for the strategic balance to be maintained. Phrases such as "Non State Actors" had been coined to explain the menace away. It is time the world woke up to reality.

Let us understand that a well guarded bank can be robbed. A compound wall can be scaled. CCTV cameras can be escaped. Bugs can be evaded and intelligence agencies can be fooled. But the one loud message these attacks over the years have failed to send to our visionaries is that "United we stand, Divided we Fall". The billions who are unarmed need to stand up together. We need to insulate our spaces by interactions. Let us note that there is no attack on any village. This is due to the very rustic culture of identifying the stranger and working on him in a non intrusive manner but always keeping a guard. The network functions without any need for tipping off. No Government teaches them the need for survival. They do it by instinct.

In the urbane world, we wear privacy on our sleeves. Unless introduced we would not venture to talk. A stadium or a cafe or a concert hall or a railway station wherein the terrorist will be easily outnumbered does not act in cohesion but reacts as being terrorised. We succumb to a bully due to our naivety. Let us wake up and get back to our roots. The roots instil in us a survival instinct. We will not entertain an intruder. We could make him uncomfortable and feel endangered. The weapons will fall and terror would be a "past" word in the dictionary.

Will we really rise upto bell the cat which is strolling around as a maneater?

The media also needs to highlight the courage of the people and not play up the terror aspect. It needs to term the entire act as cowardly and not dastardly. It should stop riling the security forces for failure but should focus on the fate of the aggressor if the crowd had nabbed him. They should realise that media is also followed by these entities which would feel victorious in the manner we cover and should be made to thirst for victory. We need to resist the temptation of identifying the organisations but should merely term them as ragtag associations which style themselves under a banner. The thirst for attention would thus remain unquenched. The media glare on the good rather than the bad would make people feel better to be in the good camp. The fencesitters would bid goodbye to such acts. Will the media world over come together for this act or prefer to rake in the moolah for some primetime coverage is a question only time can answer.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


It is raining return gifts for all persons who have awarded and rewarded various persons for their accomplishments and achievements. The veterans of war have also turned veterans at war and are willing to return their gallantry medals for pension. Let us look at it dispassionately. On the day of their felicitations, the dignitaries were different, the persons who desired that they be feted were different and the felicitations were applauded by a different audience. Years later is it befitting for one to toss the much revered award or reward back at a different set of persons to drive home a point of theirs.

Imagine a person who was adjudged the best cadet of his alma mater returning the title years later when he felt that the institution did not match his expectations. Could it be called a revolt or disillusionment or desperation or sheer frustration to press home a point? Should the heroes of various wars desecrate the decorations they received to press home the precise One Rank One Pension version they desire? Have the issues got muddled to such an extent that the treasured gift by one friend is tossed out at the other without realising that though this act may draw blood, the earlier friend has been left humiliated. Is it fair to thus humiliate the one who honoured you?

Well, veterans may be in need of dignified pension scheme but what is the peeve of the littérateur? Their peeve is that secularism as they see it is being strangled. But if someone came to even rob their house would they have allowed him to pick the trophy without a fight? Then why are they hurling at a person who they feel have hurt the secular fabric? Are they really persons who could have changed the destiny of the society with the might of their pen? Is it their dream that a person who destroys the social fabric will be morally traumatised by the return of their awards? 

These queries could in reality have been raised through a literary piece which could have stirred the society's conscience or altered the route it took. All these persons require to reflect. Did Nelson Mandela not receive the Nobel alongwith De Klerk? Did he not fearlessly press for reconciliation without resorting to tokenism? Did the Mahatma return his title to stop the violence at Naokhali? Did Tagore not gracefully accept the Nobel but still motivated the heroic figures of the Independence Movement? Did Rajaji not step down as Governor General, float his own party but never return the praises he was a recipient of? Did the Sardar sacrifice his title to coerce the Congress and the Muslim League to see his point? 

While the world rues according to the positions it takes, yours truly painfully rues that today we are lacking men of stature who can hold their own, fight the right causes as well as gracefully accept the rights of the opponent too. Is this the change we wished to see- a million dollar question for the persons who have returned or contemplating to return their felicitations. Non acceptance is one thing and returning is another thing, gentlemen. Stop and introspect. Differences can be ironed out not hammered in should be our motto.