Public Services Bill 2007: Magna Carta for public servants in India

The Public Services Bill 2007 which is expected to be taken up by the Indian Parliament in the current session is a manifestation of the struggle of the Indian bureaucracy for devising a mechanism which could ensure efficiency and efficacy of public services . The proposed legislation attempts to set up a regulatory and protective framework for making the civil and police officers perform in a competitive atmosphere without interference and without fear of persecution for being upright and impartial. It covers All India Services namely the IAS, IPS and Indian Forest Services. State Govts. have the option to extend it to respective state public services.

The bill visualizes setting up of a Central Public Service Authority as the apex agency responsible for coordination, control and monitoring of various structural changes visualized in the proposed enactment. The matters relating to the constitution of the Central Public Authority are dealt in Chapter VI of the Bill.

The Authority is to be headed by a person of eminence with at least 25 years expertise in dealing with public service matters. However the bill prohibhits appointment of a MP or MLA or a person connected to any office in a political pand India’s arty to this post. The authority shall have between 3 to 5 members in addition to the Chairperson.

The appointment of Chairperson and members is to be done with approval of the President of India based on recommendations of a selection committee comprising of the Indian Prime Minister , Leader of Opposition, and India’s  Home Minister with  the Cabinet Secretary in the Govt. Of India as the convener. The salary and conditions of service of the Chairperson  and the members shall be at par with the Chief Election Commissioner of India and Indian Election Commissioners respectively. The tenure of appointment is proposed as five years or till attaining of age of 65 years.

The Central Govt shall have to compulsorily consult this Central authority on various matters of public services including evolution and monitoring of a Public Service Code and matters relating to ethics in public service as well as the performance management startegy for public services.

The Public Services which shall be covered by the scheme visualized in the Bill have been defined as below:

Public Services” means the All India Services, the Central Services and any other Service and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union notified by the Central Government;

The principles to be followed in the matter of recruitment to public services are contained in Chapter II which highlights that such appointments shall be on basis of merit and open and fair competition.

Chapter II of the bill deals with certain idealistic concepts such as Public Service values and Public Service Codes. Central Services and All India Services have been so far covered by Conduct Rules which have over the years become a patch work quilt of instructions related to behaviour expected of public servants and need restructuring. The bill proposes to reformulate the approach to these matters .

The Public Service Values projected in the new legislation are coined in more poetic language referring to patriotism, and allegiance to law of the nation while simultaneously making reference to other practical aspects such as integrity, honesty,  transparency etc. for the public services.

The bill seeks to ensure preparation of a Public Service Code with the objective of setting standards of good governance for ensuring that public services are carried out with integrity and efficiency. Any breach of public service ethics shall be subject to punishment as per sanctions prescribed in the law.

Chapter IV of the Bill concerns Performance Management and Accountability for the public services .For this purpose a Performance Management Code is to be evolved by the Central Authority .This code will help ensure that the Public Services function as per developmental and management requirements of the State and objective evaluation of performance is facilitated. The code is expected to inject elements of accountability, neutrality , integrity and professionalism of approach in public services.

Chapter V concerns the conditions of service and protection offered to public servants.

The bill proposes to retain the existing jurisdiction and functions of statutory bodies like Union Public Service Commission, Central Vigilance Commission and assigns several responsibilities to cadre controlling authority which include formulation of service rules and a grievance redressal mechanism for public servants.

In course of discharge of it’s mandated functions , the Central Authority can seek public opinion on policy matters . It has to also submit an annual report to Govt. on various functional  issues including cases of non consultation or non compliance of it’s directions.

The scheme of governance conceived in the bill if accepted and sincerely implemented could metamorphose the picture of public services . Besides offering protection and performance based encouragement it could create a mechanism which is committed to deliver while taking away the interference and pressure tactics which reduce the bureaucratic performance. This will mean depriving the politicians of the unfair advantage which they enjoy today. It is to be seen whether the lawmakers would approve of the suggested changes. Let us keep our fingers crossed.

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Sixth CPC Report:(vi) Sample Calculations

As per promise some calculations are attempted below in respect of employees & officers covered under various categories. Calculations are based on the assumption that any advance increment would not be available at the time of pay fixation,.In other words the minimum benefits have been calculted. The calculations are for pay only. Employees will also get other benefits which would be dealt with in susequent posts. Any errors may kindly be notified.Calculations are based on old DA Rates and may be subject to change if new rates effective wef 1/1/06 are applied.(Also there is a typographical  error in Col.4 Row 11.Please  read 1/1/07 in place of 1/1/06)

(i) The Top Brass

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(ii ) The Middle Order

 

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(iii) The Gangadeens

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Sixth CPC Report:(v) Calculation of benefit in pay


The uppermost question in everyone’s mind is about the quantum of benefit which would accrue for respective categories of staff. As a starting point the increase in basic pay and arrears payable based on that may be discussed. The final benefits would be subject to approvals and modification by the Government.

A number of calculators are already available on the net and calculations made by them by and large approximate to the expected benefits. However a step by step calculation is attempted here for understanding the process.

For this exercise the following issues can be taken as settled:-

 

(i) The benefit would be admissible from 1st Jan. 2006 . Whether the whole amount is paid in cash or is transferred to savings would be subject to decision by the Central Govt.

(ii) The rate of dearness allowance payable (on date of pay fixation ) shall be equal to the difference between the rate of DA on 1st Jan. 2006 (24%) and rate as admissible on date of pay fixation. DA as on date is admissible @ 47% . The difference as on date is 47-24=23%

(Warning :Subsequent comments on this post indicate that this assumption may not be correct and a new formula based on a new index may be adopted, which will reduce the quantum of benefits)

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(iii) The dearness allowance under the new scales shall be payable on basic pay +grade pay .

(iv) Arrears shall be calculated taking into account six monthly increases in DA for the intervening period as shown in the table above.

 

(v) The report visualizes accrual of increment on 1st July 2006 , 2007 & 2008 and one increment should accrue due to pay fixation from 01/01/06. Therefore minimum of three increments (=7.5% of basic pay as fixed on 1st Jan 2006) would have become due at the time of pay fixation.

(vi) Since increments are to be released @2.5% of the basic pay annually ,an increase of 7.5% (three increments) may be expected due to accrual of increments at the time of pay fixation.

(vii) For the purpose of pay fixation the calculations are to be made by cross matching the basic pay being drawn with the pay and grade pay which would now be admissible with the help of table 2.2.2 shown at page 54 -70 Chapter 2 of the Report of Sixth CPC .

An illustration may be considered.

Let us consider the case of an officer in the pay scale of Rs.14300-18300 /- who is having basic pay of Rs.15500 /- at present. On 01/01/06 his basic pay would be Rs. 14700 /-. The table applicable to officers in the scale of Rs. 14300-18300 /-corresponds to Pay Band PB-3 which covers Gr. A Services of this category .

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Salary under the old Pay Scales:Since at present the officer would be drawing basic pay of Rs.15500/-.Dearness Allowance calculated @47% on (Basic pay + Dearness Pay) would be payable . DA thus calculated is Rs10927/-.

Total pay on 01/01/08 under old Scale would be (15500+7750+10927)= Rs 34177/-

Salary under the new Pay scale:

As per the above table on 1st Jan.2006.the officer would be entitled to basic pay of Rs. 25580/- and grade pay of Rs. 7600/-in the new scale which would total to Rs 33180/- Increments @ 2.5% (Rs. 830/-)each would be due on 1st Jan. 2006 ( for pay fixation) , 1st July 2006 & 1st July 2007 .

Pay hike due to increase in rates of DA shall be @ 5% wef 1st July 2006 , @6% wef 1st Jan 2007, @ 6% wef 1st July 2007 and 6% wef 1st Jan 2008, Totaling to 23% on date.The following increase may be assumed in the pay of the employee

(i)Basic Pay + grade pay in new scale as on 01/01/06 =Rs. 33180/-

(ii) Adding three increments @ 7.5% (Rs.830/- eachX3)=Rs. 2490

(iii) Pay after adding increments =Rs. 36670/-

(iv) Increase in DA as payable @ 23% =Rs.8434/-

(v) Total Pay on Date in new Scale of Pay = Rs.45104/-

The monthly increase is coming in the range of Rs. 11000/- per month which appears to be a bit unrealistic. If any corrections are suggested, the same would be welcome. At this rate the arrears payable may be in the range of{ Rs.8000/- (average. diff in pay) X 30} which accounts for intervening two and half years.

(If we take only two increments in this period then the jump as on date may be in the range of Rs.9000/- pm only and average increase may be Rs.6500/- pm). Those desiring exact amount of arrears may wait for some time till reliable calculators are available on the net.

Alternatively by following the above method and calculating increase based on six monthly increase in DA and annual increment in pay details can be worked out .

Some Exceptions

(i) Promotion or change of Scale of Pay between 01/01/06 and fixation of new pay

Such employees would be allowed choice of refixation of pay from the date of subsequent change in the scales of pay and would get benefit of matching pay & grade pay.

(ii) Cases of new recruitments: Pay & Grade Pay of such employees shall be fixed at the lowest pay and grade pay in the corresponding pay band. However they will get benefits of increments. For calculating the number of increments the number of years required to move from the entry grade post in the pay band to the stage of pay in the recruitment scale shall be calculated as per DOPT OM Dt. 25/5/98 (or any amended instructions applicable on the date).Number of increments shall be equal to number of such years . (If it is a bit confusing pg.52 of Chapter 2 in the report may be accessed.)

Next post : Sample calculations for Gr. B,C & D employees.

Sixth CPC Report:(ii) Benefits for All India Services

Chapter 3.2 of the Report deals with All India Services. The three All India Services namely Indian Administrative Service (IAS) , Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service (IFS) owe their origin to the mandate given to the Parliament under Article 312 of the Constitution. The recruitments for IAS & IPS are made by UPSC based on competitive examinations held annually. The Recruitment for IFS is made through separate All India Examination. The Commission’s report has given due appreciation to the importance of All India Services and observed that innovative measures are necessary for ensuring that these services are able to deliver to the best possible extent.

The Commission has observed that the supremacy of IAS over the other All India Services has to continue as per the trend which started from the times when the First Central Pay Commission submitted it’s report. It has noted that the Fifth CPC had also held the same views in this context. While coming to this conclusion it has taken note of the wide ranging exposure to challenging assignments that the officers of this service experience over their career.

Regarding the competition with private sector salaries the Commission’s observations are that despite the difference in pay package the IAS due to it’s unique status in the scheme of governance continues to draw the best talents. A large number of young men and women who join the service are professionally qualified and have in many cases given up economically rewarding jobs to join IAS because of the challenges and prestige attached to the service. The IAS officers have been given an edge in the pay scales at the entry stage in view of the tough and challenging atmosphere that they have to encounter from the initial stage of service. The edge given by the Fifth CPC in different pay scales had in monetary terms ranged from Rs.650/- to Rs.800/-. In the recommendations for the Sixth CPC the grade pays recommended for IAS have been made slightly higher in comparison to grade pay for other services by Rs.400/- for Senior Time Scale, Rs. 900/- for Junior Administrative Grade and Rs. 700/- for NFSG (Non functional Selection Grade). The benefit would continue throughout their career due to proposed nature of pay scales known as pay bands.

For the Indian Police Service a major recommendation is for up gradation of posts of Director Generals (DGs) in all the five Central Para Military Forces (CPMFs) to revised scale of Rs. 80000/-. The Commission feels that this step would ensure continuity in the Services and create an atmosphere conducive to planning for long term reforms in these forces . For the Indian Forest Service (IFS) up gradation of similar nature has been recommended for the Post of Director of Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy (IGNFA).

The most popular demand raised by the IPS was for removal of the post of DIG which is covered by Super Time Scale of Rs.16400/-.Commission noted that the post of DIG is a functional post in most of the States as well as in CPMFs. In several States the range is headed by DIG. It has recommended that the post be continued. The officers in the Forest Service had made a similar demand for the Post of Conservator of Forests. The demand has been found unacceptable on similar grounds. Commission has also recommended that the relative hierarchical structure recommended by the previous CPC should continue in the IFS.

Jab Jodhaa met Akbar

In every civilized society which cares for individual sentiments there is some law for protection of certain heritage sites and buildings since these are considered to be the collective property of the humanity and there is a recognition of the fact that every one has a right to share the unspoilt beauty of an architectural monument or a natural formation in an unaltered fashion. Unfortunately there is no legal protection in respect of an icon of history whose image cultivated over generations is mercilessly butchered by a buccaneering film producer unrepentantly and with the simple excuse that it is merely a work of fantasy and has no historical basis!

Aushutosh Gowrikar of Lagaan fame has done precisely that to the image of Jodha Bai a Rajput Queen of middle ages and the Mughal King Akbar who is remembered as one of the few benevolent despots who have given this country a symbol of administrative reforms and spirit of religious tolerance .

Having failed to meet success at the oscar nominations for his period film Lagan , Gowrikar has come out with a more calculated assault on the Oscar battlefield through Jodah Akbar romance which the film claims is not reported in history ( the name of the princess and her relation ship with Akbar is also doubted) but the expensive film with lavish squandering on objects of visual pleasure appears to be attempting to become a historical magnum opus. Nobody wishes to join the issue of historical credibility with Mr. Gowrikar but pray Mr. Gowrikar why did you thrust this plastic beauty of Indian screen to wipe out the memories of Jodha Bai so powerfully projected by the legendary Durga Khote. And your Akbar…although young , but can he ever be expected to adorn the throne occupied by powerful personae of Prithviraj Kapoor in Mughal-e-Azam which is etched in the memory of generations of cinegoers .

A good documentary for Rajasthan Tourism or chalu stuff for a good tear jerker TV serial to be watched by Saas Bahus in the afternoon , or a modern presentation of Vikram Betal stories is what you have produced Mr. Gowrikar with so much fanfare. Your bundle of mini stories of religious hysteria , Saas bahu tussle ,wimpish Rajpoot princes , plotting brother-in-law, fanatic ulemas and incognito visits of young emperor to see the status of his praja could have created a long running TV serial because each episode is a mini thriller but not the part of a story of any interesting substance. The only tears which come to the eyes of an intelligent cinegoer are due to strain of spending 200 minutes in the theatre for witnessing your mediocrity.

And there was a feeling of relief after coming out of the hall for one more reason. That was for the realization that the romantic excitement of Madhubala, Dilip Kumar pair in Mughl-e-Azam would remain beyond the reach of producers for all times and the movie would remain the true Moughal amongst the movies as tribute to the genius of it’s producer and Director.

Madam Ashwarya Rai may now try her luck with some other fake piece of history because this one again seems to have floundered like remake of Umrao Jaan…despite the hidden support of dad-in-law by way of unworthy praise of a dance sequence filmed on Hrithik Roshan. Cinegoers having seen the Mughal movies like Anarkali and Mughal-e-Azam will have to recall the emotional thrill of “Pyar kiya to darna kya “ dance number performed so tantalizingly by Madubala and the Quawalis of the films produced in sixties when they want to think of a piece of art which is highly entertaining and also intellectually satisfying , while the likes of Aishwarya and Aushotosh will fade away from the scene in no time.

And now last but not the least, the latest news  reports say that Mayawati Ji Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh has chosen this occasion to garner some votes from Rajput community by placing a ban on the movie (just two days after the MP High Court quashed a ban of similar nature and under full realization that hers would also be a short lived ban). The scenario is a bit  comical in the sense that Akbar the great warrior of middle ages has come to the rescue of another damsel in distress in modern times by helping her recover some popularity in Rajput community .

Thank God the Series is on

Cricket fans rattled by the name calling controversy in Indo Australian cricket series for Border Gavaskar trophy finally have something to cheer about. The series will continue and Harbhajan will perhaps be allowed to continue for the team. The fact that a match of Cricket -the gentleman’s game could raise so much of heat and dust is a disturbing trend and all possible efforts should be made to check the declining standards of players’ behaviour. The recent incident has shown that ignorance over cultural background and sensitivities of the rival teams can lead to very unpleasant developments on field and off the field also. It was seen as to how an act of small indiscretion can pose threat to the series and could have cost both the countries heavily by way of financial losses . There is thus a definite need for grooming the players on behavioural aspects . The silver lining in the entire episode was that Australian media was impartial and supported cause of fairplay.

Benazir, Rajiv, Indu we miss you !

Matrix trilogy a series of films which brought to the viewers a glimpse of future controlled by computer generated soft wares is among my all time favourite movies . The thrill of imaging the unlimited potential of a computer controlled virtual world however concludes with certain philosophical observations . One such conclusion or lesson which emerges from the movie is that even the best computer programme can go horribly wrong . In the movie a virtual character in form of humanoid created through a computer programme named as Smith develops an instinct to reproduce itself in order to overpower it’s opponents. Smith subsequently in the process becomes a threat to the virtual world known as Matrix and it’s creator.

While watching a rerun of the movie it suddenly occurred to me as to how close the storyline fitted with pattern of events which have occurred in this subcontinent in last several decades . I do not know whether politicians like Benazir Bhutto get an opportunity to see such movies. Rajiv Gandhi and Indira Gandhi were victims of their own Smiths much before the Movie was released. But one can wonder just wonder whether any political leader ever contemplated the possible effects of the Smiths created by them becoming a threat to themselves. Off course CIA regularly eliminates it’s Smiths once they appear to be over stepping their limits.

But how sad it is to see the common thread running through the ghastly elimination of three top leaders of Indo Pak subcontinent. Indira Gandhi the shrewdest prime minister that India had after Nehru, failed to foresee the risk of backing certain aggressive elements in the Sikh community and therefore ended up antagonizing the whole community at one stage. Rajiv Gandhi champion of cause of Tamils in Sri Lanka and darling of crowds in South had to pay for his misjudgment for the Sri Lankan misadventure . And now Benazir daughter of East who overlooked the resurgence of hardliners during her regime as Prime Minister seems to have been made to pay for the indiscretion when the seeds nurtured during her rule seem to be overtaking every thing under militant form of religion.

I wish these charming and sophisticated leaders , of modern era , although lacking the formal training into school of political science could have been sincerely and forcefully advised by other mature politicians around them in such sensitive matters. These leaders had the capability to understand repercussions if they were properly guided. Sadly it could not happen and the world lost three extraordinary humans with so much potential untapped. The political scenario in the Sub Continent would have been so much richer with their presence.