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Response of All India Customs Preventive Service Federation

1. Comparison with public/private sectors

1.1 Should there be any comparison/parity between pay scales and perquisites in Government and the public/private sector?

Ans. Yes. Though the nature of duties of Government servants cannot be compared with those in public/private sector, there is a strong case for parity of pay amongst them. Value of work cannot be evaluated with mathematical precision for affording comparison. But the point worth pondering is that, traits of involvement, sincerity, devotion, punctuality, accountability, competency and efficiency needs to be nurtured in Government servant, for ensuring good governance without which general prosperity will remain a myth. Essential functions of the Government like tax collection, maintenance of law and order, defense, etc. are mostly spear-headed by Officers of Group - B & A. Their efficiency, responsibility and stress in discharging these functions are much higher than their counterparts in public and private sectors. The oft repeated complaints about delay, red tapism, etc. in Government machinery are attributable to the system failure and not to the efficiency and competence of the Govt. employees. Hence, the general principle ought to be that where the functions and responsibilities are comparable, their pay scales and perks should also be comparable. Here, a pertinent point is that pay scales in the public sector, which is already higher than in the Government, is slated to be revised w.e.f 01.01.2007. Hence, the prevalent disparity will be further compounded till implementation of this commission's recommendation.

1.2 Is it possible to quantify all other benefits, excluding pay, derived by employees in Government and the public and private sectors from security of tenure, promotional avenues, retirement packages, housing and other invisibles? In view of these benefits, can there be any fair comparison between the salaries available in the government vis-a-vis the salaries in the private sector?

Ans. Yes, benefits wherever tangible can be quantified and compared. At the same time we wish to stress that, 'Invisible benefits are an exception and not a general incidence'.

Further, with the concept of accountability increasing by the day with the introduction of Right To Information Act and Vigilance Mechanism under the supervision of CVC, security of tenure is a mere myth. Although, Constitution of India safe guards the tenure of Government servants, yet there are number of provisions built into the Service Rules, which empowers the Government to do away with inefficient or incompetent Government servant at any point of time. As on date, Promotional avenues especially for Group 'B', 'C' & '0' cadres in the Government service, are very tardy as compared to the private sector. Residential accommodation is a good facility but in no terms can it be termed a benefit. Besides, an officer of Public or Private sector within 10 years of joining employment affords a house on ownership basis. But, this is not possible in Govt. service, even after a lapse of 20 years despite House Building Advance. With respect to retirement package, pension was the only notable benefit to the employee which has under gone changes recently. Quantum of Gratuity after 35 to 40 years of service is not commensurate. Hence, a retirement benefit in the Government is not at all attractive any more.

Thus, as of now, the so called invisibles are at much higher level in the Public/Private Sector in comparison to Government service.

1.3 In order to ensure a fair comparison based on principles of equity and social justice, would it not also be appropriate to take into account the economic conditions of large sections of the community that are less privileged than Government employees and many of whom live below the poverty line?

Ans. The principal term of reference to this commission is to decide on the structure of pay etc. for the central govt. employees on the basis of employment categories. Hence unemployment of masses and statistics of those living below the poverty line etc. cannot be appropriate factors in determining the pay scales. If that were so, Prices of Kerosene, Electricity tariff, Fares of Railway, Govt. Bus etc. could never have been raised so steeply.

More importantly, the very thought that economic condition of the deprived and those below the poverty line can be improved, by denying the legitimate dues to the Govt. Servants, is not only amusing but is also a wishful thinking. On the contrary, such a course will be detrimental to the cause of such deprived classes, on account of lower resource mobilization leading to ineffective administration of various Laws and Schemes and finally ushering in overall faulty governance. The Govt. has already evolved number of policies to alleviate poverty and achieve social justice. This goal can be attained only with a committed and efficient Administration, for which morale of Officers In Government needs to be maintained at an exalted level. In this context, the following opinion is relevant "Economic growth overall is achieved by having a nation's best performers lead; and economic growth overall is the most powerful force for lifting the poor out of grinding poverty. India must not lose sight of these larger goals by drowning in the minutiae of smaller problems." (Source: Article in the Times of India of 13/12/06 titled 'The world cannot be just flat: it should be a straight line' by Mr. Danny Quah, Head of Economics Dept., London School of Economics & political Science)

Besides, general economic condition in the country, especially with reference to better endowed section needs to be considered, as these are having a salutary effect on Govt. servant's mind and consequently on their productivity.

2. International comparisons

2.1 Some countries have raised civil service pay scales almost to levels prevalent in the private sector on the hypothesis that a well-paid bureaucracy is likely to be honest and diligent. To what extent would such a hypothesis be valid and how far would such a course of action be desirable?

Ans. Honesty and diligence are directly linked to standard of living. It has been observed that, corruption is less in countries where the standards of living of Government officials are comparably at higher level.

Besides, C.C.S (Conduct) Rules has sufficient checks, to enforce devotion to duty, integrity, etc. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the State to maintain the Govt. servants reasonably well, in the prevalent competitive society.

On this issue, one should be guided by the wisdom of our ancestors which says 'Dharmo Rakshati Rakshatah'. The above maxim means 'Law, when protected, protects'. It squarely applies to the extant issue i.e. 'Government Servant, when protected, will protect the Govt. and people'.

In view of the above reasoning, there is a strong case for an affirmative answer to the question posed.

3. Impact on other organizations

3.1. Salary structure in the Central and State Governments is broadly similar. The recommendations of the Pay Commission are likely to lead to similar demands from employees of State Governments, municipal bodies, panchayati raj institutions & autonomous institutions. Their paying capacity is considerably limited. To what extent should this factor be considered in devising a reasonable remuneration package for Central Government employees?

Ans. On the reasoning, similar to that mentioned at Ans. to para 2.1, above, the interests of State Govt. Employees also needs to be protected. The question regarding resources of State Government cannot and should not be used to scuttle the prospects of good governance. Here, it will be pertinent to note that such issues are never considered while deciding on the pay scales for Public Sector Undertakings.

Another important fact that needs to be considered here is that, the so called resource constraints will automatically vanish, when both at the Centre and State level, the Government restricts itself to the Core areas of Governance such as protection from external aggression, maintaining Law & Order, providing a strong and vibrant economy and markets, encouraging education, etc. etc. In fact, this was exactly the prescription that our beloved Mahatma Gandhi (Father of the Nation) made, in lines with the 'Withering away of State' as in the Theory of Socialism by the renowned and revolutionary economic thinker Karl Marx.

We wish to emphasize that, the pay and perks in some States and certain autonomous institutions are better than that prevailing in Central Govt. Services.

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