Friday, December 04, 2015

Commentary: Central Pay Commission recommendations for Government of India

In India, to have a ‘government’ job has been and is the ultimate fantasy for the vast majority of the population. The reasons are not too difficult to unearth. Under the ‘socialist’ leadership in the initial decades after attaining freedom, generating employment was the biggest challenge. And the government started the charity at home, by making government jobs the cushiest and safest among all jobs in the market. 

Successive governments tried to bring some method in the madness. But employee unions, irrespective of leanings, have been vociferously shameless in making the jobs sacrosanct beyond description. The recommendations of the seventh pay commission are out. And as usual, both the sides are out shouting shrilly; one side claiming the suggestions are not enough to instill efficiency, the other side claiming that the suggestions are impractical and inhuman. 

This article by M. Vijayanunni, ex-Chief Secretary, Kerala, tries to take a sober and practical look at the suggestions and how to implement them on ground. On the opposite side, this article by M. S. Raja, the employee representative voices the ‘concerns’ of the employees. The article by Mr. Raja is quite entertaining. He quotes a decision of OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), without mentioning that India is NOT a member of OECD! He further tags “23.5% increase in monthly emoluments” as a blatant lie. He of course doesn’t quote the ‘correct’ figure, but jumps to criticizing the central government in general terms (The influence of the government of the day is very well visible in the report of the 7 CPC throughout). 

These two articles actually bring out the imbalance – a tentative attempt at sobriety versus a deliberate and vicious attempt to stay dogmatic. This article, by N. Prasanth, a serving UPSC recruit, doesn’t bring much succor. He gets into an academic debate of ‘it is not exactly useful, but not entirely useless’ variety. He moots an idea of 360 degree appraisal, without spelling out any details about how to make it work. He seems to be taking the other approach – if you can’t defeat them, confuse them!

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