Sixth CPC:Is the controversy over supremacy of IAS relevant

Before and After the release of various reports of pay commissions, the responses in the society follow a set pattern. Initially there is a dreamy atmosphere in anticipation of benefits . All those who are connected  to  Govt.  sector directly or indirectly relish the predawn signs on the horizon (news leaks on anticipated increase in pay) anticipating that their lives are henceforth going to be dfferent and a royal future awaits round the turn.

Their happiness is however short lived. There are a number of dependent sectors lead by owners of private educational institutions and stretching up-to the presswalla in the back lane who  swoop upon the respective consumers in the entire society and start demanding respective pounds of flesh (sometimes at rates which are quite disproportionate to expected gains) without the flow of benefits having started and without any consideration of the fact as to whether the target group is going to benefit from any pay increase for Govt. Servants. The state of dreaming starts giving way to a state of uncertainty.

Thereafter the  Press and TV follow  up with insulting and insinuating headlines. All civil servants acquire the image of fat and lazy Babus comparable to a gang of bandits who are out to suck the life blood of economy. Screaming headlines announce doubling of pay packets for these suckers. Although the pay hike is for several other categories like armed forces, doctors ,engineers,nurses and technicians but it is the bureaucrat whose obese pictures adorn the covers of magazines as guzzler of currency notes. Dreams turn into despair when benefits are actually calculated and the jump in pay is found to be quite less than anticipated.

Another oft repeated scenario is that of berating the IAS for having again retained it’s so called supremacy over other services. The service is projected in a dim light as unpatriotic for having deprived even the uniformed forces  the  reward of supremacy, ignoring  their courageous performance against heavy odds. Media also reports on ( only a handful of ) cases of resignation from other services out of disgust (which may in fact be due to better retirement benefits offered by the pay commission). Although the various pay commissions despite reiterating the unique position of IAS  have given ample financial benefits across the board to all categories including Army and professionals yet the news reports highlight only the so called favoritism shown to IAS.

The question which comes to mind is whether the controversy is at all relevant. In six decades of it’s life span the Indian democracy has faced challenges of insurgency, natural calamities and elections  with combined efforts of IAS, IPS, Army and professionals with dedication and single minded determination. Issues like who is superior to whom have never clouded the visions of the courageous men representing various organs of State at times of need .

While engaged in task of day to day governance the Government does need a nodal agency to coordinate efforts of various agencies and at that stage the generalist service whether IAS or State Civil Service has to shoulder the responsibility due to it’s outreach, linkage and  exposure over various fields. But this does not imply that these services assume the  role  of tyrant or dictator or the other services resent their so called superiority. Experience has shown that contrary to the media projections  officer in various services do have a healthy feeling of mutual respect for other services and who is above whom is not a  issue of long term significance.


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.