EVERYBODY—from multi-tasking staff (MTS) to the Cabinet Secretary—is waiting for the 7th Pay Commission report to be tabled on December 31. The 7th Pay Commission recommendations are expected to be implemented from January 1, 2016. Apart from outlining the rationale for a pay hike for 55 lakh government servants, the Pay Commission’s mandate is to recommend “the framework for an emoluments structure linked with the need to attract the most suitable talent to government service, promote efficiency, accountability and responsibility in the work culture, and foster excellence in the public governance system to respond to the complex challenges of modern administration and the rapid political, social, economic and technological changes, with due regard to expectations of stakeholders, and to recommend appropriate training and capacity building through a competency based framework”. The paradox is that everybody is focused on how much hike the 7th Pay Commission will recommend. As for work culture, efficiency, training and capacity building, it’s just an academic discussion!
The report by Narendra Kaushik on the 7th Pay Commission says, “2015 is not 2006. There will be some changes but don’t expect a huge increase”. gfiles did a cover story in 2007 on the 6th Pay Commission in which Chairman Justice BN Srikrishna said, “We believe performance should be incentivised. … The underlying idea is that good performances must also carry pecuniary reward”. This idea has never been implemented and it has been re-coined in the terms and references of the 7th Pay Commission as capacity building. Capacity building can’t be achieved without performance and performance has to be imbued within the system. That is missing and the Prime Minister is clamouring for it. Another controversial issue is that of retirement after 33 years of service or 60 years of age, whichever comes earlier. It is to be seen what the 7th Pay Commission finally recommends. Else, on January 1, 2016, as many as 406 IAS officers will be out of a job. Is Modi looking for a more enthusiastic and younger bureaucracy? Or is the effort to ensure that likeminded bureaucrats man the services?
The gfiles September issue also highlights the controversy on Question Hour in Parliament and the ongoing imbroglio over One Rank One Pension (OROP). There is an intense debate among parliamentarians about Question Hour. Veteran BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi believes that “the future of Question Hour will remain bright… Given the manner in which Question Hour was shifted to the later part of the day in the Rajya Sabha, I am worried that it might be relegated to six o’clock. Then the only people remaining would be the MPs who put the questions and the ministers concerned, with the House remaining almost deserted. The best time for Question Hour is the beginning of the day, the position as obtains today in the Lok Sabha”.
MG Devasahayam writes on the OROP issue and notes that “now, even if the OROP issue is financially resolved, the wide civil-military hiatus caused by senseless procrastination for long years would continue and could even get worse if the message reaches serving personnel. This would directly impact the country’s security and sovereignty and needs to be addressed urgently”.