Saturday, April 12, 2008

Irked by pay panel, IPS men petition PM

Infuriated over the ‘unfair and unjust’ treatment meted out to them by the 6th Pay Commission, police officials have asked the government to address their concerns and place them on the same footing as IAS officers. This comes against the backdrop of the Union Cabinet forming an empowered committee on Friday, to be headed by Cabinet secretary KM Chandrashekhar, to study the panel’s recommendations.

An emergency GBM of the IPS Officers’ Association held here on Thursday saw their anger boiling over, with suggestions ranging from taking out a protest march to the PMO to the return of police medals being dished out by the participants. In the end a 7-point memorandum containing their demands was finalised. This will now be presented to prime minister Manmohan Singh.

The government’s proposal to have their grievances looked into by a committee of secretaries was rejected outright by the association on the ground that secretaries were, after all, IAS officials, and hence could not be expected to take an objective view of things. They asked for a group of ministers (GoM) be formed.

The members made it clear that they would not be satisfied with anything less than a complete parity in terms of pay, pension, promotion and service conditions with the IAS “at all levels”. The IPS officers were particularly miffed at the pay panels recommendations on their salary-structure and the discrepancies with the IAS in terms of promotion. They want the government to remove these anomalies.

By all accounts, the GBM was a stormy affair, especially the younger members, pressing for radical measure to get their voices heard. With the pay panel’s recommendations triggering a heated debate, especially among the police officials, central para-military and defence forces, attendance for the Thursday meeting was unusually high. While past meetings were graced by not more than 30-40 members, the latest gathering saw as many as 200 officials.

The churning going on within the police fraternity on the issue is also evident from the fact that their group website ( has registered a dramatic surge in its membership since the controversy surfaced. While its membership had remained static at 50 when it was formed four years ago, it registered a dramatic increase, with as many as 400 new members joining the group. “Everyday, 10-20 new members are joining the group,” an official told ET.

And officials are not just joining the group, they are posting mails in hundreds everyday, giving vent to their anger and outrage over the injustice inflicted on them by the pay commission. With the police officials going on the warpath, chief ministers of various states have been forced to step in by seeking the redressal of their grievances.

As of today, chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir (Ghulam Nabi Azad), Uttar Pradesh (Mayawati), West Bengal (Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee) and Tamil Nadu (M Karunanidhi) have assured them that they’d take up their cause with the prime minister.

The police officials want the government to recognise their role in maintaining national security and development, and accord due respect and dignity to them. They’re also pushing for complete transparency in the procedure to be followed by the pay commission.

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