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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Bureaucrats may get stints in India Inc

Pay panel likely to suggest institutionalising this practice.
Bureaucrats may be allowed to serve significant stints outside of government in private sector companies to allow mid-career officers to pick up new skills and build a nest-egg as a bonus.
Government officials suggest the Sixth Pay Commission is likely to recommend that this practice be institutionalised in administrative rules.
Currently, civil servants can go on deputation to various multilateral bodies and non-governmental agencies in India and abroad. They can also take extended time off after putting in a minimum number of years in service for further studies subject to government approval.
Officials said private sector stints could also be considered some sort of compensation, since government salaries will continue to lag private sector compensation despite the Sixth Pay Commission award due March 31.
This will be particularly true for senior government servants whose salaries cannot be pegged to the massive compensation paid to private sector executives in comparable positions. “The impact of the award is likely to be felt more at the lower levels of bureaucracy than the highest levels,” officials said.
In reply to a Commission questionnaire, the Indian Administrative and Civil Service (Central) Association has demanded pay scales at market rates.
The Sixth Pay Commission was constituted last year by the United Progressive Alliance government and is chaired by Justice B N Srikrishna.
The central government is preparing for a fiscal impact of around Rs 21,000 crore on account of the award, though the likely expenditure has not been provided for in the Budget.