Officers of the elite Indian Administrative Service (IAS) want their pay scales to be determined on the basis of prevailing market rates, quite like what happens in the private sector.
However, they are not ready to give up the substantial perks they enjoy, like palatial bungalows in city centres, number of attendants, guards, drivers and other assorted facilities.
In its reply to a questionnaire from the Sixth Central Pay Commission, the Delhi-based Indian Administrative and Civil Service (Central) Association has said, “The basic pay of a Secretary to the Government of India should be such that he can afford to take at least one international private trip per year with his family and travel long distances within the country for social cause, without seeking any obligations or favours from any private or other agencies.”
The Commission is in the process of finalising its recommendations on pay hikes for central government employees. Its report is expected by March next year.
The association has held that higher salaries would keep the morale of IAS officers high and motivate them to perform their duty more diligently.
IAS officers are at the top of the government’s salary structure. Non-IAS officers take more time to reach similar levels of responsibility and are paid lesser in comparison.
However, babus are not ready for any cut in their perks or accept posts on a contract basis.
In response to the Commission question on whether it is possible to quantify other additional perks enjoyed by IAS officers, like security of tenure, promotional avenues, retirement packages and housing, the association said, “There is no need to compare the perks provided to a civil servant in view of the unique and complex nature of public service which is entirely different.”
Analysts, however, feel that IAS officers cannot have their cake and eat it too.
“Secretary-level officers get on a par or even more than a person with similar experience in the corporate sector, when one takes into account the additional perks they enjoy. At a prime location like Chanakyapuri in New Delhi, the rent of the bungalows they reside is not less than Rs 3-5 lakh per month,” said Amit Azad, head of operations and finances at HR consultancy Finesse PR.
However, Azad agreed that civil servants do not have the same savings (and investment) potential as compared to persons with equal experience in the private sector.
“Hence, they do not enjoy the same lifestyle when they retire,” he added.
The Sixth Pay Commission was constituted last year by the United Progressive Alliance government. It is chaired by Justice B N Srikrishna.