Response of All India Federation of Central Excise Gazetted Executive Officers

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?

Yes. Parity in pay scale between Govt. & PSU/Private Sector is an essential requisite. Because, it will reduce a feeling of discrimination and inferiority complex or negligence which triggers unhealthy competitiveness for aggrandising more & more. Equitable fixation of pay & perks will provide stability to the system and will be able to create a fair, equitable standard without clash of interests. Although personnels in Govt. sector are shouldering far more responsibility and contributing a lot for making of a harmonious society by implementing Govt’s policies, translating Govt’s vision into reality & creating revenue for the development of the country, yet an egalitarian society is advocated for betterment of all. So, even if each one has one’s own justification, nevertheless an equitable system is the most preferred one in the interest of nation.

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-à-vis the salaries in the private sector?

It is fairly possible. All such benefits are very much measurable parameters and can easily be quantified to a flawless degree. A profit making PSU or Pvt. Firm is paying more. Surprisingly, some are allegedly giving lucrative allowances on various grounds. These are disturbing factors in the sense that the whole process is ultimately pushing the delicate balance of purchasing power resulting in disorder & inequality. Either such activities should be stopped or Govt. officers should be made at par with them, otherwise it will not only demoralize Govt. Sector but also make them poorer in terms of money and mind. But unfortunately Govt. employees have been neglected in comparison to PSU. For example their pay revision is carefully considered in 4 years while Govt. employees have to wait for about 12 years or more for that much awaited pay revision.

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?

Ours is a country with socialistic structure. It is of paramount importance to look at the economic conditions of millions and that has always been there right from the day our Republic took birth. The basic tenet in the socialistic society is the economic upliftment of people without much economic gap amongst them. Needless to say that Govt. employees have all along been treated in this fashion. Govt. gives them the amount for a decent living and restrict their vertical movement within limit. Govt. employees are not fairly compensated for the responsibility they undertake. Their living standard is in no way better than any individual professional or businessman. Hence, Govt. employees are not much privileged if compared to common people. Moreover, comparison is generally made between same classes of people such as worker-worker, serving people with serving people etc. for discussing parity in their incomes. No comparison can be made between a business magnet with a supervisor or a lawyer with a worker. Such variations in society are unavoidable and will become possible only in a classless society. A happy Govt. servant will render tremendous service to the “Am Admi” while discharging his govt. duty which is basically aimed at the amelioration of the lot of the “Am Admi”. Some countries have adopted such method and have been successful also.

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?

It is true that some countries have experimented and tested this dictum quite successfully. Happy bureaucracy has proved to be diligent, honest & responsive to the public. All out effort should be made to make the Govt. officers happy by allowing them a modest but decent living at par with other sectors so as to make them useful, responsible & responsive.

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?

The basic tenet of our federal structure is the federation of states with a strong Center. Center cannot be equated with states in all works. Moreover, Center is responsible for imparting a sense of strength to the whole nation. This has made the Center apart from states. It gives direction and assistance to all states in matters ranging from finance, law & order, social justice to implementation of acts in right perspective. Hence, the jobs and responsibilities of employees of Center are distinguishable clearly from the nature of works of employees under control of states. There is no reasonableness in drawing a parallel between Central Govt. employees and State Govt. employees. More prosperous states grant better prospects to their employees. That has never been a cause for resentment by the Central Govt. employees. There has been no such discussion on the issue by the states prior to 4th CPC. Most of the states have granted higher HRA, more holidays, better housing facilities, leave salary etc. to their employees, which Center has not granted to their employees. But these facts have so far remained in the domain of states. Hence, there is no point in bringing into fore the discussion that grant of reasonable remuneration will agitate the states. By raging such controversy, the Commission will help them to create furore. This should simply be brushed aside and need not be taken into consideration at all. The 6th CPC should look into and confine the recommendations for amelioration of Central Govt. and Central Govt. employees.

4. Salaries

4.1 How should we determine the salary to be paid to a Secretary in the Central Government? Please suggest an appropriate basic pay for a Secretary? Can appointment to this post be made on a contractual basis where salaries and tenure are linked to the performance in terms of achieving defined targets?

This point is the absolute discretion of the 6th CPC.

4.2 What should be the reasonable ratio between the minimum and the maximum of a pay scale?

B, C & D grade employees of the Central Govt. form large chunk of the total Central Govt. workforce. The greatest goods for greatest numbers is the basic principle of a democratic state. Removal of huge gaps in the salary structure of the various strata will reflect cohesiveness & happiness of the system and make the system more effective and responsive. As such, the ratio between the highest & lowest should be 5:1 considering the present-day environment of high cost education, housing and other living standards.

4.3 Is it necessary to persist with a pre-determined minimum-maximum ratio on ideological considerations? Or is it more important to ensure efficient administration by preventing flight of outstanding talent from Government?

Pre-determined minimum-maximum ratio is ideal judgment. That will automatically take care of flight of outstanding talents from Govt. These are complementary and supplementary in nature by all considerations. Non consideration or wrong consideration of the ratio will imbalance the structure itself causing frustration, deprivation and non-rewarding.

5. Relativities

5.1 Employees in the Secretariat and analogous establishments are entitled to higher pay scales than the corresponding field functionaries. This was supposed to compensate them for the loss of certain facilities available to them in field assignments and the extra effort required for decision-making at the policy level. Are these factors valid even today particularly in the context of decentralization and devolution of administrative powers? Is this discrimination between field and secretariat functionaries even justified today?

Secretarial or policy decision-making staffs play a vital role in shaping the destiny of a democratic set-up. Field staffs take part in implementation of law and different facilities available in the field. Since Secretarial staff study the circumstances and inbuilt loop holes in the system & take corrective measures to improve the standard for benefit of the people at large, leaving only mechanical implementation by the field staff, they should not be placed at disadvantageous position in respect of career making and emoluments vis-à-vis their field counterparts. There would not be any discrimination either way. The duties and responsibilities performed by Superintendent of Central Excise are much more arduous and hazardous than that of any other officer of Central Govt’s departments.

6. Group-A Services

6.1 Is there a case for a Unified Civil Service, merging therein all Central (both technical and non-technical) and All India Services, allowing vertical and horizontal movement? Or should there be two distinct streams, one embracing all the technical services and the other for non-technical services?

It would be beneficial for affording effective service if two streams i.e. technical and non-technical are separated and made distinct and independent of each other.

6.2 Do you feel that the pattern of pay scales for all Group A Services should be redesignated so as to attract candidates of the requisite caliber? Keeping in view some of the compensation packages being offered to fresh professionals by the private sector, what emoluments would you suggest for an entrant to a Group-A Service in Government?

The proposition carries weight in the changing scenario. Grand realities demand that better pay package be offered to keep the fleet tight in the face of the fact that private sectors are offering better inscriptive packages to attract talents. This proposition need not be confined to only Group ’A’ services but across the board to all cadres. The whole Department knows that the Cadre of Superintendent of Central Excise & Customs under CBEC, is the backbone of the Department. In spite of several judicial pronouncements, higher administrative enquiry and the resultant findings that the cadre is carrying high responsibilities & risk, the Govt. has not meted out justice to the rank and discriminated the cadre by creating disparity in pay structure. The detailed position of facts is mentioned in the Memorandum. It is earnestly prayed before Hon’ble VI CPC to take into consideration the cited facts and place the same on record and remove the anomalies.

7. Professional personnel

7.1 Should there be a higher compensation package for scientists in certain specialized streams/departments like Department of Space, Department of Atomic Energy? If so, what should be the reasonable package in their case?

Better package may be offered to scientists of all the specialized streams. It is very much necessary in the interest of the nation. Their unflinching efforts bring glory to the nation in world arena. Besides providing technical skills & innovation in important areas of growth & development, they have important role in maintaining of balance of power & ensuring safety & security of the country.

8. Classification of posts

8.1 Presently, civilian posts in the Central Government are classified into four Groups (‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ & ‘D’) with reference to their scales of pay. The Fifth Central Pay Commission had recommended their reclassification into Executive, Supervisory, Supporting and Auxiliary Staff. Would you suggest any changes in the existing classification or should the classification recommended by Fifth Central Pay Commission be adopted with/without modifications?

Content is more important than form. Rose does not loose fragrance if it is called otherwise. Hon’ble Commission may consider keeping the same classification as was done by 5th CPC. Hon’ble Commission may attach more importance to qualitative changes in pay structure, performance and contribution to the nation rather than the concept of embarking on certain cosmetic changes merely for the sake of it. The Superintendent of Central Excise is required to be declared as Gr.A/Executive.

9. Restructuring of Group ‘C’ & ‘D’ posts

9.1 Should all lower Group ‘C’ functionaries in the Secretariat be replaced by multi-functional Executive Assistants, who would be graduates and well versed in office work, secretarial skills and use of modern office equipment including computers? Should similar arrangements can be evolved for Group ‘C’ posts in other organisations of Government?

Better skilled people to the same post is naturally preferred to lesser skilled ones. Skilled and computer knowing Executive Assts. are thus preferred to Gr-C functionaries in the Secretariat. But total replacement will bring within its ambit other social, economical problems but for which a nation is regarded as happy. A gradual replacement of such staff in phased manner by skilled staff will prove useful. It will create congenial condition without any trace of strain. This is all the same for other organizations also.

9.2 Should a similar regrouping of Group D staff into fewer categories capable of performing diverse functions also be carried out?

Similar approach may be made for categorizing capable personnel for diverse functions but with due care for their upliftment by way of rewards & incentives.

10. Pay Scales

10.1 How should a pay scale be structured? What is a reasonable ratio between the minimum and maximum of a pay scale?

The pay scale should be on across-the-board basis as has been recommended by Hon’ble Gupta Marain Committee & Prakas Tondon Committee. Each category of posts in all organizations should be awarded same scale. No discrimination should be made in this front. Favour to the same cadre in a particular organisation creates anomaly and breeds frustration in the same cadre of other organisation and in its wake brings hosts of problems. There was a traditional parity in the pay scales of the Superintendent of Central Excise & Customs and that of Dy.SP of CBI right from the first pay commission till fifth pay commission. But in utter disregard of the recommendations of the 4th pay commission for equal pay, Central Govt. by a Notification dated 8.2.06 granted higher pay scale to the cadre of Dy.SP of CBI/IB than the pay scales of Superintendent of Central Excise & Customs. The deliberate disturbance or lowering in pay scales, when duties and responsibilities of Superintendent of Central Excise has been held to be more hazardous and arduous in nature than that of Dy.SP of CBI/IB created frustration in the cadres of Central Excise and the matter was referred to CAT which finally settled the matter in favour of Central Excise cadres. Nevertheless, Central Govt. is not paying due attention to the dissimilarities in the pay structure of the Superintendent, which should by all considerations be made equal with the Dy. SP of CBI. All the relevant facts and positions pertinent to this issue are placed on record in Memorandum, for bringing it to the kind notice of the Hon’ble VI Pay Commission. As regards ratio between maximum and minimum, factors like skill, professionalism & responsibilities may be taken into account. Less ratio will demoralize high professionals & administrators which may cause stress on the system as a whole. But unfortunately, they are also given other fringe benefits. All these benefits may be taken into consideration for fixing ratio 1:5 which appears to be a reasonable one.

10.2 The successive Pay Commissions have progressively reduced the number of distinct pay scales. The number of scales has therefore come down from more than 500 scales at the time of the Second Central Pay Commission to 51 scales before Fifth Central Pay Commission, which was brought down to 33 scales by the Fifth Central Pay Commission. The reduction in the number of pay scales brings in attendant problems like the promotion and the feeder grades coming to lie in the same pay scale, etc. Do you feel whether the existing number of pay scales should be retained or increased or decreased or whether the same should be replaced by a running pay scale?

Number of pay scales has been reduced by each successive pay commissions. The process has yielded good results since it has removed lot of anomalies along with extensive hierarchical system. A compact and concise system has worked effectively. But squeezing of number of pay scales has resulted in cropping-up of other problems on promotion front. Horizontal expansion has drastically restricted vertical upliftment. Large number of people are rotting in the same cadre for long to go to the next cadre on promotion. Even good numbers are retiring in the same cadre. A system for promotion basing upon performance may be introduced to counter the situation. The cadre of Superintendent of Central Excise or Gp ‘B’ is the worst sufferer in the present system. 10515 Nos of Supdts. are working in this cadre. 790 posts are there in the next cadre i.e. Gr-‘A’. 50% is distributed in the proportion of 6:2:1 among Superintendent of Central Excise, Appraiser of Customs and superintendent of customs (preventive). Out of the posts meant for Superintendent of Central Excise, 5% go to Supdts. (Expert) who are recruited directly. The number of posts of Asst. Commissioner in Central Excise is proportionately more because of its size and functioning compared to Customs & Preventive. So, it is natural that retirement, resignation & death will be comparatively more resulting in vacancies. Such vacancies are again divided in the ratio of 1:1 for direct recruitment. The other portion meant for promotion is distributed in 6:2:1 ratio amongst Superintendent of Central Excise, Appraiser of Customs & Customs (Preventive) Supdts. as laid down by the Hon’ble’ Supreme Court. This has put the cadre of Supdt. in Central Excise Department at highly disadvantageous position and has created clear imbalance. The formula adopted is neither rational nor balanced. Hon’ble VI Pay Commission may consider a moratorium for 10 years to stop direct recruitment to the post of Asst. Commissioner. This will help improve the acute stagnation in the rank of Supdt. There is no effective Span of Control in CBECs administration. A clear picture as to how the cadre of Supdt. in Central Excise Deptt. has been rotting without a little ray of hope for promotion, is given in detail in the Memorandum.

11. Increments

11.1 What should be the criteria for determining the rates and frequency of increments in respect of different scales of pay? Should these bear a uniform or varying relationship with the minima and/or maxima of the scales?

The quantum of increment to a particular cadre is at the total discretion of the Hon’ble pay commission. But it should be weighed with care. Because the amount of increment is getting nullified over a period of five years only. Central Govt. employees are waiting for a revision for about 12/13 years at a stretch without any change in the pay structure unlike Banks/PSU employees who are getting this revision at 3-4 years interval. So amount of increment for the Central Govt. employees be fixed keeping in view the 3 (three) revisions that is to be effected by Banks/PSU during this period. The weighted average of three increments that may be given in case the structure goes for revision at 4 years’ interval will be the fairest from all angles. As regards frequency it should be annually as it is existing now. Uniform rate of increment for long years may not prove good always. Employees feel rewarded if a little more is given after few years. This assumes more importance in the unhealthy scenario of stagnation.

12. Revision of pay scales

12.1 Is there any need to revise the pay scales periodically especially when 100% neutralization for inflation is available in form of dearness allowance?

It is absolutely necessary to make periodical revision of pay scales. First of all by initiating revision, several anomalies found in different types of scales are removed and a corrected set of pay scales emerge. The concept of 100% neutralization of inflation in absolute terms is a myth. Factually it is not neutralizing the inflation because of the fact that it is based on Wholesale Price Index and not on Consumer Price Index. Moreover, the general living standard depends on the later and not the former. Fixed allowances like HRA, CCA lose their relevance over a period of few years. Moreover the Central Govt. employees came under huge pressure due to short term revision of pay structures of Banks and PSUs. In the result, it would be realistic and scientific to go for a pay revision every 4 years or so, as in the case of Banks and PSUs.

12.2 How should pay be fixed in the revised pay scales? Should there be a point-to-point fixation? If not, please suggest a method by which it can be ensured that senior personnel are not placed at a disadvantage vis-à-vis their juniors and due weightage is given for the longer service rendered by the former.

Yes, there should be a point to point fixation in pay scale instead of the bunching formula as has been followed earlier. This would result in placing the seniors at their right places compared to their juniors.

13. Compensatory Allowances

13.1 Is City Compensatory Allowance a sufficient compensation for the problems of a large city? If DA and HRA provide full neutralization, do you think CCA should continue? Is there a need for changing the basis of classification of cities and the rates of CCA? If so, please suggest the revised basis and rates.

No, it is awfully insufficient to compensate the price spiral. As already explained against 12.1 above, it is not hundred percent neutralization at all. Moreover, there are other factors which are not covered under the DA and HRA which are taken care of by the CCA. Yes, the classification of cities have to be updated based on the demographic and other parameters like cost of living etc. It is suggested that the CCA be made “City Specific” in place of “Class Specific”.

14. Pay and perquisites for Armed Forces

14.1 What should be the basis for determination of pay scales for Armed Forces Personnel? What percentage weightage should be assigned to (i) parity with civil services, (ii) comparison with private sector, (iii) special and hazardous nature of duties, (iv) short career span and (v) restricted rights?

No comments.

14.2 How should the pay of a soldier, sailor and airman be determined? How should it relate to the minimum wage in Government and the pay of a constable in paramilitary or internal security forces?

No comments.

15. Abolition of feudalism

15.1 Should all vestiges of feudalism in the country like huge residential bungalows sprawling over several acres, large number of servants’ quarters, retinues of personal staff, bungalow peons, use of uniformed personnel as batmen or on unnecessary security or ceremonial duties etc. be abolished? Please make concrete suggestions.

Yes, the symbols of colonial legacy should be abolished at the earliest as it is anachronistic to the present times and an anathema to the welfare state like ours.

16. Specific proposals

16.1 In what manner can Central Government organizations functioning be improved to make them more professional, citizen-friendly and delivery oriented?

Professionalism can be ensured by way of granting extra increment, early promotion and creation of conducive environment in the work place. The two other objectives can be achieved if the govt. servants become professional. Parity in pay and promotion should be maintained. Recruitment Rules should be framed properly.

16.2 Please outline specific proposals, which could result in:

(i) Reduction and redeployment of staff,
(ii) Reduction of paper work,
(iii) Better work environment,
(iv) Economy in expenditure,
(v) Professionalisation of services,
(vi) Reduction in litigation on service matters,
(vii) Better delivery of service by government agencies to their users.

The question of reduction of staff does not arise at this juncture since the work is being managed by inadequate staff strength.

17. New concepts

17.1 Do you think the concepts of contractual appointment, part-time work, flexible job description, flexi time etc. need to be introduced in Government to change the environment, provide more jobs and impart flexibility to the working conditions of employees?

Contractual appointment or part-time work is not at all beneficial to the interest of Govt. departments especially Revenue Departments like Central Excise & Customs. Because such employees will have no commitment for the purpose but will simply act like a quick fix or short cut.

17.2 For improving punctuality/introducing new concepts like flexi time, should biometric entry/exit be introduced?

No comment.

17.3 What steps should be taken to ensure that scientists, doctors, engineers and other professionals with sophisticated education and skills are retained in their specialized fields in Government? Should they be appointed on contract with a higher status and initial pay, advance increments, better service conditions, etc.?

No comment.

17.4 Should there be lateral movement from Government to non-Government jobs and vice versa? If so, in which sphere(s) and to what extent?

No. Lateral movement from Govt. Sector to non-Government Sector won’t be helpful in the better functioning of the Government at all. That will only dilute the effectiveness of Govt. works and will imbalance the decision making process. This is because Non-Government people will try to achieve their objectives within their short tenure but Govt. employees may reexamine the decisions taken by them, may be by attributing some motives in certain cases.

17.5 It has been suggested that existing Government employees should be encouraged to shift to employment on contract for specified periods in return for a substantially higher remuneration package. Would you agree?

No for the reasons as at 17.1 above.

18. Performance Appraisal

18.1 In what way should be present system of performance appraisal be changed? Should be ACR be an open document?

Appraisal system should be open with no ACR to be written at back. It has become even more necessary in view of the R.T.I in force. Performance appraisal should be objectively made with laid-down parameters and not left to the whims and fancies of the person writing ACR.

18.2 How far has the introduction of self-assessment helped in the process of appraisal?

No. Self-assessment would not be fruitful at all. It will end up in egomania & the entire exercise will be reduced to self-praising document.

18.3 Should appraisal be done for an entire team instead of for individuals?

Individual wise assessment is the preferred choice as it provides enough scope & opportunity to utilize one’s full potential & be recognized or rewarded in individual capacity. Individual excellence may not get due recognition in a teamwork. The fear of getting lost in the crowd is always there which cannot be simply wished away.

18.4 In what manner can Government employees be made personally accountable for their acts of omission or commission, without any special safeguards? Would you recommend any amendments to Article 311 of the Constitution, Section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, Section 17 and 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and various rules relating to conduct of Government servants and disciplinary proceedings?

No comment.

19. Holidays

19.1 Kindly comment on the appropriateness of adopting a five-day week in Government offices when other sectors follow a six day week. Please also state whether the number of Gazetted holidays in Government offices should be reduced? Please also comment on the appropriateness of declaring Gazetted holidays for all major religious festivals.

Five days week was introduced after long deliberations and examination. Most of the countries in the world are following this practice. It is so because five days week gives one-day off i.e. Saturday to employees to attend to their personal chores since they are not getting time on weekdays. This is why number of holidays has come down drastically to only a few i.e. 14(fourteen) in all. So there appears no need to reduce it further. However it is at the discretion of Hon’ble Commission to adjudge the scenario.

19.2 What do you think is the state of work ethics and punctuality in Government offices? Kindly suggest ways of improving these.