Response of Indian Foreign Service Association

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. To ensure that the higher Civil Services remain an attractive option for the best talent and to maintain high degree of motivation.

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?

While it may not be possible to fully quantify invisibles like job security, other perquisites should be monetized in order to accurately determine cost to Government for an employee. This should be compared with monetary and non-monetary compensation in the private sector. Further, the question of job security should also be contrasted with the performance-based monetary rewards in the private sector, which also provides opportunities for lateral movement, particularly at middle & higher levels, and invariably results in recognition and financial benefits.

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?

Higher salaries for Government employees, particularly in the higher civil services, are a necessity from the point of view of attracting competent personnel to the Government and retaining them. The salaries need to be calibrated to the social realities, not necessarily by comparing them to the poor and underprivileged but also to the other sections of society with whom a Government servant interacts. Thus, salaries of Government servants should be reflective of the job opportunities available to talented individuals in the economy at large. The economic conditions of large sections of the community that are less privileged than Government employees is dependent on job opportunities and productivity and a better performing Government would help in facilitating this.

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?

Such a hypothesis would be valid and relevant for India as well. Higher scales at higher levels ensure motivation and that the systems operates allowing the supervisor to be effective as a supervisor.

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?

Pay scales should be determined taking into account opportunities available to the personnel in non-Government sectors. Questions of economy and budget neutrality should be de-linked from salary of higher civil servants as it deals with attracting and retaining suitable expertise and talent.

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?

Given the responsibilities shouldered by a Secretary to the Government of India, his salary should be comparable to a CEO of any leading private sector company. For senior civil servants such as Secretaries appointments cannot be on contractual basis as the person has already been subjected to high level of selectivity in rising to such a position. Further there are questions of security as well as intangible outputs of the job, which cannot be quantified. Case for Secretary General: A position of Secretary General existed in MEA for quite some time after independence and was found functionally useful as there are a large number of Secretary level officers in MEA. This may be revived in the rank of Principal Secretary to the Government of India.

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

There should be no pre-determined ratio between the highest pay scale and the lowest pay scale in the Government. Instead, pay scales should be determined for each grade in a manner highlighted in items 1 and 2 above.

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?

Fixing the highest pay scale in the Government as a ratio of the lowest pay scale does not take into account the differential opportunities available in non-Government sector at a particular level. In particular, while total emoluments at Group ‘D’ levels are currently comparable between the Government and the private sector, there is no comparison in the higher civil services, where pay scales in the private sector are much higher. Accordingly, it is essential to ensure efficient administration by preventing flight of outstanding talent from Government, which is best achieved by substantially higher pay scales in the Group A posts, without being constrained by ideological considerations.

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?

In the case of MEA, headquarter postings are in metropolises. Emoluments for headquarter assignments should take into account the higher cost of living in such areas.

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?

No. Indian Foreign Service is a specialized service. It was created by Pandit Nehru keeping in mind the need for specialist diplomats.

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?

As highlighted earlier, compensation package for Group A services need to be revised the maximum. Emoluments for Government of India personnel abroad is now paid on the basis of a “basket of representative goods and services” of an average family which is then indexed to the cost of living of a particular city. Presently the UN retail index is being used ( As per this index (New York is at 100), New Delhi is at 79 if housing is included in the emoluments and 85 if housing is excluded, as per figures of September 2006. A similar system of “basket of representative goods and services” could be devised for GOI employees at all levels and this could be indexed to the cost of living based on the CPI of Indian cities. In the Fifth Pay Commission Report, special pay scales for IFS / IAS had been specifically recommended. This needs to be maintained.

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?

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?

The classification suggested by 5th Central Pay Commission should be adopted.

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?

Yes, the suggestion is valid and should be earnestly implemented. Group 'A' officers are expected to be multi-skilled. Similar expertise and classification in Groups 'B & 'C' would make it easier to deploy them interchangeably across posts and increase overall efficiency in the Government. Special provision should also be drawn up for existing personnel to ensure that they are not adversely affected.

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


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?

Pay scales should be structured keeping in view the number of years a Group A officer spends in each scale before being promoted such that there is no stagnation in the basic pay. Further, that on promotion there should be a upward revision of his basic pay. For eg an officer spends on an average 10-12 years as Joint Secretary whereas he spends only 4-5 years as Director. Therefore the pay scale of the Joint Secretary should be broad enough to accommodate the stay of 10-12 years as well as some additional years (to accommodate stagnation).

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?

Standardization of pay scales should be implemented. Mere reduction in number of levels of promotion would only lead to stagnation. However, the concept of running pay scales, with rank pay, may be more appropriate and should be examined. Special case of IFS: The IFS has a functional 'Director' level pay scale (Selection Grade) at Rs. 15100 - 18300 after 13 years of service and a super-time scale of Rs. 18400-22400 after 17 years of service. However, it is actually taking 20 years for promotion to JS level (super time scale). On the other hand, IAS officers are getting their super time scale immediately on completion of 16 years in the States. Thus, IAS officers on deputation to the Centre are being given higher pay than their IFS counterparts, even though both may be Directors. In the case of IPS, it is understood that the super time pay scale of Rs. 16400-20000 is given in 14 years. This creates an anomalous situation where IFS officers in the Director rank draw pay well below their IAS and IPS counterparts. (e.g. an officer from the 1990 batch of IAS / IPS on Central deputation would be drawing a pay of Rs. 18,300, while his IFS counterpart would be eligible to draw a pay of only Rs. 16300). It is therefore proposed that IFS officers be allowed the super time scale on non-functional basis immediately on completion of 16 years. Alternatively, the selection grade (i.e. Rs. 15100-18300) should be upgraded to the super-time scale of the IPS (i.e. Rs. 16400-20000).

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?

As mentioned above, annual increments should be at least 5% of the minimum of the scale.

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?

As mentioned earlier, pay and allowances need to reflect the employment opportunities. Thus, even if pay scales are inflation indexed, this does not take into account the overall growth in the economy i.e. increase in per capita GDP which is reflected in the increasing prosperity and pay packages across all walks of life.

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.

There should be a point-to-point fixation in pay scales, since this ensures that juniors do not end up drawing same pay as their seniors. Further, this also avoids unduly benefiting officers who have just been promoted to a higher scale vis-à-vis those at the top of the pay scales. Alternatively, an uniform percentage increase to all officers could be considered, and the pay fixed in the next higher stage in the revised pay scale.

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.

For a Ministry such as MEA where most of the posts are located in the metros, CCA is an important element of the salary as there is a large difference in the purchasing power of the rupee between cities and rural areas. Therefore CCA should be increased substantially, particularly for 'A' class cities. It should further be indexed to CPI to prevent its erosion.

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 suggestions.

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 suggestions.

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.

It does not apply at all to the Foreign Service. Officers of the rank of Joint Secretary/Additional Secretary are occupying accommodation, which are entitlement for Deputy Secretaries and Directors. Secretaries in the MEA are forced to C-II occupy accommodation which is meant for Joint Secretaries. Further, officers are forced to spend longer periods of time in the officers hostel as accommodation is not available to them. In the case of India’s diplomatic representatives abroad, the case is different as more than being a residence of for e.g. an Ambassador, an important question of the image of the country is involved.

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?

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.

1. Reduction of staff cannot be uniform across all organizations – it should be linked to their role. Greatest impact would come from reduction in organizations with large establishment. Improved exit options through VRS, etc. should be considered. In the case of MEA, consequent upon India’s rapidly growing international profile and the increased needs of the contemporary international interaction at various levels, an increase in size needs to be considered separately. 2. Reduction of staff cannot be uniform across all organizations – it should be linked to their role. Greatest impact would come from reduction in organizations with large establishment. Improved exit options through VRS, etc. should be considered. In the case of MEA, consequent upon India’s rapidly growing international profile and the increased needs of the contemporary international interaction at various levels, an increase in size needs to be considered separately. 3. Facilities like air conditioning, mobile phones, laptops, wi-fi connectivity, etc are no longer luxuries and need to be ensured, perhaps by availing central air conditioning. (iii) Economy in expenditure, (iv) Professionalisation of services, (v) Reduction in litigation on service matters, (vi) Better delivery of service by government agencies to their users. (vii) Computerisation of government business and independence in functioning with concomitant fixation of responsibility.

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?

Yes, this are essential and should be implemented with suitable legal backing such that employee organizations cannot obtain stays or contractual employees do not seek permanent employment. Lack of suitable personnel and difficulty of recruiting employees has severely handicapped government functioning.

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

Yes new technology should be introduced.

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.?

Special packages should be in place to attract talented people to government departments. These measures could also include increased opportunities for creativity and professional growth.

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?

Lateral movement should be allowed with suitable checks and balances. They should be allowed particularly in think tanks, NGOs and organizations with public-private partnerships. Movement to Universities should also be allowed.

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?

18. Performance Appraisal

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

The final grading should be shared with the officer reported upon. There should be clearly defined work objectives, division of labour, grant of sufficient authority and fixation of responsibility.

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

It is imperative for performance appraisal as it achieves the objective of a review of an employee’s work, aimed at improvement of efficiency and effectiveness.

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

No. It would lead to diffusion of responsibility.

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?

Officers need to be protected for their regular work unless there is clear malafide established.

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-day week is appropriate at present, as this is the international norm. In case more work hours or additional days work is deemed necessary, it should be based on incentives. Gazetted holidays could be reduced, with an increase in number of restricted holidays at the choice of the Government servant.

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