Amid the battle between the IAS and other All India Services over pay parity, the Seventh Central Pay Commission has recommended that the “edge” enjoyed by the IAS, both in terms of pay and promotion, should be removed. It has also said that the central staffing scheme for competition between IAS and other All India Services — which includes the Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service (IFoS) — should be opened to give all an equal chance at top posts at the Centre.
The report is likely to come as a disappointment for the IAS fraternity which has pushed for retaining its “edge”, not only before the commission but even in the open fora of social media. As many as 200 IAS officers wrote letters to the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) against any move to grant parity to other services with them. In the last few weeks, as other services hit back at this move by the IAS, the battle took an ugly turn on social media with regular exchange of jibes.
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IAS officers are typically promoted two years earlier than their counterparts in other services, receive two additional increments, and are empanelled for positions in central ministries far earlier in their careers. The other services are seeking parity, saying they have specialist skills the IAS does not.
“The criticality of functions at the district administration level holds good equally for the IAS, IPS as well as the IFoS…Therefore, the edge presently accorded to the IAS may continue in the form of two additional increments in the proposed pay matrix. The same is being recommended for IPS and IFoS as well,” the panel has held.
Rejecting the IAS demand for retaining the “edge” in promotions, the report says, “On the ‘two year edge’, the chairman does not agree to the demand and finds no justification for according the two years gap. He feels that the Indian bureaucracy has come of age and various central services are now discharging distinct and valuable functions in the overall governance of the country. The two-year edge is an archaic concept in the present realm.”
Both the recommendations have been opposed by panel member and retired IAS officer Vivek Rae with his dissent note running into several pages.
“We are still examining the report. We are of the view that parity of pay should be extended to all India services and organised Group A services. Equality of opportunity for competing for the central staffing scheme post which has been upheld by the majority decision is a welcome development. We are sincerely looking forward to a favourable government decision,” said IPS Central Association secretary PVR Sastry.
Sanjay Bhoosreddy, secretary of Central IAS Association, refused to comment saying he was yet to go through the report.
In response to demands made by various Group A services on equal opportunities to seniormost posts in various ministries, the panel has said there are two parts to the problem — first, there are very few officers of the central services being empanelled; second, because there are so few empanelled officers, the senior positions occupied by the central services are very few.
To tackle this, the panel has recommended that all officers of the All India Services and Central Group ‘A’ Services participating in the central staffing scheme who have put in 17 years of service should be eligible to apply. The panel has recommended that vacancies may be notified, or advertised well in advance, along with an indication of the domain expertise required.
In his concluding views on the matter, panel chairman Ashok Kumar Mathur said: “The main cause for resentment among services is that over a period of time IAS has arrogated to itself all power of governance and relegated all other services to secondary position… It is time that the government takes a call that subject domain should be the criteria to man the posts and not a generalist.”