Do all human beings survive on opiates

Recently one of the leading magazines in India published an article which brought out the fact that gossiping was a favourite pastime of most of us human beings and it added to social networking abilities of human race. While social networking may be one the fallouts of this activity the reason for the indulgence into gossip seems to be something beyond this analysis. Close analysis of day to day human behaviour appears to lead to the inference that human brains appear to need regular dose of stimulation in order to keep us in a state of positive thinking and survive against ups and downs of our struggle for survival in a harsh world. Different members of human species have in the process developed our respective opiates on which we depend for doses of happiness   or excitement .

Take the case of cricket lovers. Nowadays since the game is on round the year in one or another part of the world and innovations like the T20 format of  cricket offer instant results, the cricket lovers seem to have  evolved a continous source of stimulation in shape of ball to ball commentary,  accompanying fanfare and analysis . Other joys and sorrows of day to day life have secondary importance in life of a genuine cricket fan whose brain cells are regularly  tickling with the details on tumbling  records and updates on fluctuations in fortunes of teams and the men who toil between the performance of cheerleaders.When it comes to minute to minute account , another breed of human beings are those interested in ups and downs of share market index. Far too many of us keep track of online tradings without having any worthwhile stakes in the share market.The thrill of being a part of speculation keeps a good proprtion of us glued to laptops when life becomes less exciting for a while.

Not close behind in the reliance on stimulants are the human species practising the avocation which is branded as last refuge of scoundrels. Sheltered behind dignified terminology of politicians these men and women need continuos injection of ego inflating monuments and statues which give  them a temporary impression of towering over ordinary mortals. Take away the stonelaying ceremonies and public felicitations from a politician and the person sinks into depression , becomes  social anarchist and tends to attack everything within sight whether it is a railway budget or a photographer taking snaps.

Religion -another widely used source of stimulation offers allurement  of having higher quality of life after death or in rebirth. That keeps so many of us professing different religious beliefs, busy in continous process of offering our prayers to whichever power we consider to be supreme. In practical terms it gets translated to sporting prominenetly one  religious symbol or other and considering religious duties as something which should take precedence over our professional commitments and social responsibilities. But it does surely keep a large chunk of humanity in state of contentment and sometimes also busy in dreams of conquering all other religions to establish a supremacy of our own religion.

This discussion cannot be complete unless we think of those for whom pay revisions , promtions and transfers are the opiates which keep their minds and hearts preoccupied on 24X7 basis. The Govt. servants  of all hue survive   on calculation of pay benefits,  discussion over supremacy of respective service over others  and the unfair treatment meted out to them by the employer . Hoping for a better posting, anticipating release of next installment of DA or awiting the meeting of Departmental Promotion Committee keeps our brother hood in a state of intoxication which makes them tick in a otherwise treachorous environment.

Bloggers have their own galvanising force.When I statred blogging, the first thing which I usd to do in the morning was to check the hit counter and accordingly would feel happy or depressed if hits were too many or too few during the night. For months together I kept analysing the statistical details to find out as to which readers came from where and read which posts. Thank god I ultimately  realised the absurdity of all this analysis and gave up blog writing for a long time in order to become deaddicted to hit counter.Things are back to normal now i.e. I am more preoccupied with routine addictions of Govt. servants mentioned above.

While  opiates certainly seem to have taken a firm grip over our intellectual behaviour, this situation  has thrown up  some complications and  challenges too.  The recent tragic end of a famous Pop star has exposed the risks involved in  taking of too many anti depressants  since the combination produces unpredictable outcomes.The same complication sometimes occurs when a peron gets addicted to more than one  opiate like a govt servant getting interested in politics or a politician becoming deeply religious .The system and society has to then put in extra efforts to survive the mutants.

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Sixth CPC Report :(xiv) Recommendations for medicos

Chapter 3.6 of the CPC Report covers organnised medical services namely Central Health Services (CHS), Indian Railways Medical Services and the Ordinance Factories Health Services as well as others including Army Medical  Corps and other Paramilitary Medical Corps.

CHS constituted in 1963 presently comprises of General Duty Medical Officers(3139),Teaching and Non  Specialists (638+780) & Health Specialists(078). There are 13 posts in Higher Administrative Grade.

In matter of promotion, presently ACP Scheme with two promotions at 12 and 24 years is in place for isolated posts. For CHS and other organized Services the Scheme of Dynamic Assured Career progression (DACP) is in place. DACP involves change of nomenclature at promotion stage and is considered more attractive as compared to scheme of ACP. The Sixth CPC has made a major recommendation of extending the DACP for other categories of doctors also. The doctors in other streams of Indian Medicine viz. Ayurveda, Yoga,Unani,Sidhaand Homeopathy shall also get similar benefit if the recommendations are accepted.

The rates of conveyance allowance payable to doctors have been doubled. These shall henceforth be as given below. One important recommendation is to link this allowance to Consumer Price Index and make the same  subject to annual revision as per he DA formula.

The pay for Junior residents (present scale: 9000 fixed or 9000-9550) and senior residents (present scale: 10325-10975) shall be fixed in pay band 3 (15600-39100) with grade pay of Rs.5400 and 6100 respectively . Benefits proposed for doctors  have also been recommended  to dental surgeons.

NPA payable to doctors is already discussed in the post on other allowances on this blog. Sixth CPC has rejected the demand made by Para Medics for simsilar allowance.

 

 

Sixth CPC Report (xiii):Engineering and Scientific Services

Chapter 3.4 of the CPC report deals with Engineering Services which are spread over several Ministries and hence the service conditions vary from one end of the spectrum to other. While considering the case of Engineering Services the Commission has noted that the demand pertaining to better accessibility to higher posts is substantially settled if the recommendations made in other chapters for opening of higher posts to officers from all services is accepted. Therefore any new recommendations have not been made in that regard.

Report has also not agreed to the demand for payment non practicing allowance (NPA) to engineers on pattern of medical services as well as the demand for field duty allowance on the ground that such demands have not been accepted for other services also. However a concession has been made in the rates of Designing and Planning Allowances payable to Engineers in Designing and Planning Wing. It has recommended for 100% increase in these allowances.

Some crucial recommendations pertain to Subordinate Engineering Services. For the posts open to diploma holders in direct recruitment, for members of subordinate engineering services (who were granted minimum pay scale of Rs.5000-8000 by the Vth CPC ) the VIth CPC has recommended PB-2 of Rs.8700-34800 with grade pay of Rs.4200/-. The grade pay admissible to posts where the direct recruitment prescribes qualification of degree in open recruitment the recommended grade pay is Rs.4600/- .  It is expected that this arrangement would settle certain cases where benefits of recommendations of Vth CPC were somehow not given. The above two cadres would provide feeder cadres for the PB-3 which corresponds to the entry grade posts corresponding to Group A services.

The Commission has not agreed to the demand for change in hierarchal structure of the Engineering cadres (on CPWD pattern) on the ground that the scheme for ACP recommended  in report will ensure mobility to higher pay bands on a continuous basis. The recommendations also include suggestion for abolishing the system of separate quotas in promotion posts for degree and diploma holders in future, since this has been found to be  creating imbalances in certain cases.

Scientific Services have been considered in course of discussions for respective Ministries. In Chapter 3.5 detailed discussions have been confined to Flexible Complementing Scheme (FCS) for Scientific Services . This scheme initially confined to certain Ministries and autonomous bodies carrying out research and developmental activities for persons with meritorious abilities provided for assured time bound upward mobility to distinguished scientists . Vth CPC had modified the Scheme and restricted it to Gr.A Scientific services in R&D organizations and excluded personnel posted in Secretariats of the Ministries. It had also laid down a comprehensive and fair mechanism for evaluation of personnel before promotion besides recommending certain residency period prior to promotion. These recommendations were accepted by the Govt. with several modifications and not extended to certain key scientific Departments.

The VIth CPC has recommended for continuation of existing scheme for FCS with the exception of Deptt. Of Atomic Energy, Space and DRDO where merit based promotion schemes in vogue may continue. It seeks to streamline the system of identifying genuine scientific organizations engaged in R&D activities and evolving of new technologies  for coverage under the scheme. The upper limit for promotion is recommended to grade pay of Rs.9000/-. However in case of Deptt. Of Atomic Energy, Space and DRDO it is fixed up to grade pay of Rs.11000/-. The performance assessments boards should be objective and independent comprising of majority of outsiders.

For scientists of proven merit the Commission wants the Departments to have sufficient autonomy in pay fixation and merit being given due weightage. It has suggested that contractual appointments for 3-5 years with option of joining regular Govt. Service may be offered at the time of renewal of contract. The Scheme of Performance based incentives should also be applicable in above mentioned cases.

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 (xii):Retirement benefits for civilian employees

The subject matter concerning more than 38 lakh pensioners ( Defence 19.4 Lakhs, Railways 10.18 Lakhs & Civilians 5.83 Lakhs) with financial liability at current rates being Rs. 30000 Crs. has been dealt with in Chapter 5 of the Sixth Central Pay Commission (CPC) Report. Contrary to expectations the Pay Commission has not suggested any change in the retirement age which would remain at 60 years.The recommendations also do not affect the employees having joined after 1/1/2004 since they are covered under the New Pension Scheme. The said scheme is also flexible in the sense that an employee can assure for himself higher retirement benefits by making contribution at higher rates and hence any additional benefits to the members of the new scheme were not found due.

Regarding the quantum of benefit ( Para 5.1.32) the recommendation is for retention of the existing formula of calculating pension as 50% of the average emoluments. However the Commission has felt that the existing system of payment of full pension only after completion of 33 years of service needs to be changed , since under this system an employee wishing to switch over to alternative employment continues to hang on to Government job merely for the purpose of ensuring full pension on retirement . It has suggested that an employee having rendered qualifying service of 20 years should be entitled to full pension . The pension should be fixed @ 50% of the average pay for last ten months or the last pay drawn whichever is higher.

For the existing pensioners the CPC has proposed additional pension being added  @ 20% of the basic pension on attainment of  age of 80, 85,90, 95 and 100 years.

For payment of commutation amount the Commission has noted that various factors suggest that the procedure of restoration of commuted amount after 15 years appears to be more than fair. However the Commission has recommended the a new table (Annex.5.1.2) for calculation of commutation values.

Commutation Table

                                                            (New Commutation Table)

It has also suggested that the business of commutation be passed on to PSU Banks/ Institutions as a routine financial activity. Commission has also suggested periodical review of commutation formula based on market interest rates and mortality rates.

For payment of gratuity the recommendation is for raising of pecuniary limit of Rs. 3.5 Lakhs to Rs. 10 Lakhs.

For leave encashment the recommendation is for allowing encashment of half pay leave (HPL) @ 50% of admissible leave salary also without any consequent reduction in pensionary benefits. However overall combined ceiling of 300 days for encashment of Earned Leave  & HPL shall continue.

For family pension formula any changes have not been suggested except for the recommendation that the pension at enhanced rate would be paid for 10 yrs. (instead of 7 Yrs. for others) in respect of employees dying in harness. The admissibility ceiling of 25 years of age for unmarried daughters has already been removed. Further for medical benefit in respect of family pensioners the dependent children of widowed/ unmarried daughter shall be considered as part of family. The widowed daughter would also enjoy primacy of first category for benefit of family pension. Another major change suggested is that a childless widow shall continue to receive family pension even after her remarriage till her income from all sources exceeds the minimum pension payable in Central Govt.. This progressive gesture has been made to remove the factors which act as impediment in remarriage of such widows.

For cases of employees having accquired (100%) disability a provision has been made for payment of salary for constant attendant on pattern of Army Pensioners.

Amount of Ex gratia payable in case of accident in course of performance of duty has been doubled to Rs. 10 Lakhs and to Rs.15 Lakhs when the casualty is in an International war or due to natural disaster/acts of terrorism in a hard posting area.

The fitment benefit offered to existing pensioners would be 40% of the pension after excluding the merged portion of 50% dearness relief/dearness allowance . In the Table contained in Annexure 5.1.1 details of fitment benefit are available.

Later:The  Finance Ministry have notified the recommendations for Pensioners as accepted by the Govt. along-with the details of conversion table. Click here for accessing the same,

Next Post: Is the debate over  supremacy of IAS justified or of any relevance ?

Sixth CPC Report (xi): Other allowances

Regarding Allowances other than Deraness Allowance, the Commission has offerd a mixed bag of benefits and also recommended some cuts in existing package .

(i) For City Compensatory Allowance which was being paid @ Rs.90-300/- for A-1 Category cities and at lower rates for A (Rs. 65-240/-), B-1 (Rs.45-180/-) & B-2 (Rs.25 -120/-) category cities to compensate for higher cost of living in these cities, the Commission has noted that the benefit provided is too low (1% to 5% of BP)  and the criteria followed is not  scientific enough to justify it’s  continuation. It has noted that Housing and Transport are two major expenditure heads in larger cities but these are being compensated enough under HRA & Transport Allowance. Abolition of CCA has been recommended.

(ii)There are several other Compensatotry allowances / Special Duty Allowances (SDA) payable to employees serving in difficult areas such as hill / border/tribal/ remote / hard / project areas  and also payable to the employees serving in North East, Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshdweep Islands, Sunderbans and Gandhinagar and even a bad climate allowance for certain areas. The Commission has recommended for rates which are approximately twice of of the existing rates . Allowances for border area and Gandhinagar were found to be without justification and recommended for discontinuation. (pg. 234 Chapter 4).javascript:mctmp(0); . The SDA for North East would be payable to all categories of employees irrespective of the fact whether they have All India Service liability or not. Concessions of similar nature has also been recommended for Central Govt. employees serving in Ladakh reigon. Islands Special Duty Allowance (ISDA) presently payable to employees in Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshdweep Islands @ 12.5% and 25% shall continue to be paid at the same rates however from now onwards all employees would be entitled for the allowance irrespective of the consideration as to whether they have all india service liability or not. Employees serving in Nicobar Islands and Lakshdweep would get Hard Duty Allowance @25% over  in addition to ISDA referred above.

(iii) For travel on tour and transfer the following scale of admissibility have been recommended:

For travel outside the country the travel entitlements would remain the same. However the Commission has recommended that the benefits of mileage points earned by the government servants on official tours would be transferred to the respective departments (for utilisation for official tour of other employees). Utilization of these mileage points by the respective government servant for private journeys would invite disciplinary action.

For travel by road by means of public transport reimbursement to the extent of entitled class train fare is recommended.

(iv) The Commission has noted that the present rates for reimbursement of daily allowances for officials on tours are grossly inadequate. The recommendations are as follows

(v)The findings are similar for composite transfer grant payable to employees on transfer involving change of residence in public interest. It has been noted that some of the rates presently adopted are illogical and cause financial hardship to employees. The following rates have been recommended in order to rationalize the structure.

For employees serving in Andaman & Nicobar Islands any further concessions are not found admissible.

The Commission has made the rates for both the above cases dynamic i.e. the rates would increase by 25% whenever the the DA payable on revised pay increases by 50%.It has also suggested that in future the budget for travels should be kept to minimum and unnecessary travels should be avoided.

(vi) In respect of Transport Allowance the following revised rates are recommended to compensate for the increase in fuel cost.

The employees staying in official accommodation within proximity of workplace would also be entitled for this allowance. For the physically challenged employees the rates remain double of the rates subject to minimum of Rs.1000/- pm. The Officers in PB=4 have the choice to avail Transport Allowance @ Rs.7000/- pm on condition of giving up the facility of using official transport for traveling between home and workplace .

(vi) The  Non Practicing Allowance (NPA) presently paid to Doctors in  Govt. Service to compensate for loss of private practice has been recommended to be continued for historical reasons and also for the reason that the entry into govt. service is at a relatively late stage for medical professionals and also due to the reason that the working conditions are comparatively difficult. NPA shall be paid @ 25% of sum total of band pay +grade pay subject to ceiling 85000/- on this amount (BP+GP). NPA has not been found admissible for any other category of government employees.

(vii) For considering the demands for increase in House Rent Allowance (HRA) the Commission has taken note of increase in rental values in smaller unclassified towns and attempted to mitigate  sufferings of employees  on this account by clubbing unclassified towns  with Gr. C towns. The rates of HRA recommended are as below.

(viii) Commission has recommended for merger of Children education allowance with Tuition fees reimbursement. Henceforth reimbursement is permissible up-to Rs.1000/- for education and upto Rs.3000/- pm for hostel charges   per child subject to ceiling of two children.

(ix) For employees in hazardous posts involving health risks ,the risk allowance has been discontinued and the employees are now proposed to be covered by free medical insurance ranging from Rs. 5 Lakhs to 10 Lakhs depending on respective category at govt cost .The insurance cover is proposed to be dynamic subject to 50% increase whenever DA increses by 50%.

(x) For Uniformed forces the revised rates of initial grant for uniform allowance shall be Rs.14000/- (Rs.16000/- for coast guards) against earlier rate of Rs.6500/-.Renewal is recommended every three years (instead of earlier 5 years)  @ Rs.3000/- (Rs.5000/- for coast guards) .The rates of kit maintenance allowane for all other categories are also proposed to be doubled.

(xi) For all other allowance such as cycle, washing, cash handling, machine, Night duty, Split duty Allowances the rates are recommended to  be doubled and shall be dynamic being linked to increase in DA as for other allowances mentioned at sl.no.(v) above.

(xii) The rates of Deputation (Duty) Allowance and Central (Deputation On Tenure) Allowance shall continue to be paid @ 5,10 & 15 % of the aggregate of pay and grade pay without any limits . However aggregate of grade pay and Deputation allowance should not exceed Rs.39,2000/- which is the starting pay for PB-4. The Central (Deputation On Tenure) will continue to be  be payable only up-to Director level posts.

Next Post: Retirement benefits

Sixth CPC Report (ix): Central Services Gr A:(i)

Central Group A Services comprise of Organized and General Group A Services. The Organized Services cover Technical, Non Technical, Medical and other Services including Scientific Services. Taking an overview of the organisational structures the Commission has taken note of the fact that the pyramidical structure of the hierarchy in these services restricts the pace of upward mobility at the top stages leading to stagnation at Higher and Senior Administrative Grades (SAG/HAG) despite of several instances of cadre review and restructuring and consequential induction of several senior level posts in these organizations.

An important recommendation for taking care of this difficulty is for decadring of 20% of the posts in SAG and above ranks by all recognized services which would be allowed be filled up by Govt from any source . The Services would in turn be allowed to operate equal number of non functional posts in Senior or Higher Administrative Grades  to be filled up with officers with minimum length of service as per the laid down procedure. Benefit for promotion to HAG shall be available from 1st January of the year when promotion became due irrespective of the date of DPC. On regular posts being available the officer could be inducted there in without any further procedural delays.

The major demands from Central Services before the Sixth CPC related to parity with IAS, better entry grades scales  and  allocation of posts under Central Staffing Pattern in fair proportion and through a transparent process. Against this demand the Commission has recommended restriction of gap in batchwise parity in Central appointments to the extent of 2 years only. In practical terms this implies that on posting of an IAS officer of a particular batch to a particular grade pay in pay bands PB-3 or 4  in Center, non functional pay scale of higher nature  should be made available to Central Services officers with seniority higher by two years or more as personal scale. The officers would however get substantive postings when vacancies are available. Also for promotion to SAG common policy is recommended to be followed by all the Central Services in order to remove disparities. In order to ensure fair play in process of selection for SAG posts the involvement of UPSC has been recommended. Above measures are expected to remove the  anomalies in career advancement prospects in these Services.

Responding to the demand for higher pay package at the entry grade the Commission has increased the same uniformly for all the Central Services on pattern of All India Services. It has however not agreed to cadre review or restructuring for any service. These are the common issues. Individual service specific recommendations covered  in the next post.