Saturday, February 9, 2008

The outlook for Babus, as visualized by the Department of Personnel Chief Satyanand

The gulf between the salary structures of the private and government sectors is likely to continue even after the implementation of the next pay commission, if one is to go by the views of Satyanand Mishra, Secretary of the Department of Personnel and Training.

Satyanand Mishra, interviewed by the G Files, argued against comparing the salaries of government officials with those in the private sector. He said: “In the private sector, every activity of every individual is monitored in monetary terms. In government, such a system does not exist. Here, work is work.”

He pointed out that the fundamentals of private and government jobs differ. “The government is socially oriented while private entrepreneurs are profit-oriented. After implementation of the Fifth Pay Commission, the pay structure has changed considerably. The Group A-service officers get transport, accommodation, telephone and job security,” Mishra added.

As the Sixth Pay Commission is due to submit its report in March. Satyanand Mishra, in a meeting with the Commission, has presented the major concerns of government officers.

“The Sixth Pay Commission will submit its report in March. We were the first to interact with the Commission. I told them what my colleagues feel. Our present pay scale is incremental. But, when you start your career you need more money for marriage, old parents and growing children. Ironically, when the requirement is high, the money is less. After 30-40 years of service, you have money but the requirement is less.”

Satyanand Mishra reflected the government’s concern over increasing number of officers wanting to shift to the private sector. He pointed out that on November 28 last year a circular was issued to the effect that no IAS officer can work in a company registered under the Companies Act. Now all that Babus can hope is to work for Public Sector Undertakings and semi-Government organizations. One reason put forward for this was that when the government official returned to his desk in the Government there was a ‘sense of mistrust’. The clock has been put back.

The government is also concerned about ‘political victimization’ of civil servants. Satyanand Mishra says “The Prime Minister himself is concerned”. The only answer is to provide for a two-year tenure for all the cadres.

But how to implement them is the concern of all. The recent controversy when some young IAS officers were suspended became a subject of public exchanges between the Governor of the State and the Chief Minister. The Department of Personnel is asking the State Governments to record justification of transfers before the two year term ends.

Meanwhile, as Satyanand Mishra accepts, “more officers are going on leave and rejoining” The officers, who leave, say that they want job satisfaction, to stay at one place, and to give better education for children

Do not expect any dramatic change in the present system, even after the next -- that is the Sixth-- Pay Commission submits its recommendations. As another article in the issue points out the Fifth Pay Commission gave its recommendations on the eve of Parliamentary elections and even the Left Parties wholeheartedly supported the implementation of the recommendations.