Days after the Modi sarkar firmly claimed that the National Sample Survey Office’s (NSSO) labour survey report was a mere “draft” and not the final word as is being widely reported, labour and employment minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar stated in the Lok Sabha that the National Statistical Commission (NSC) had approved the report.
Rather awkward for the government. The labour minister seemed to endorse the views of two members of the NSC, who had resigned citing displeasure with the government’s decision to hold back the report, which stated that unemployment rate was the highest in 45 years. The report requires the NSC’s approval after which the NSSO is supposed to make it public.
Babu observers were bemused. Why would the labour minister make such a comment, which contradicts the government’s stated stance? Some speculate that Mr Gangwar was possibly misled by the babus in the ministry. That perhaps is the safest assumption. The other of course is that perhaps there is dissension in the Cabinet which is now beginning to surface!
About pay parity
The Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) have won a hard-fought battle for pay parity with their Indian Police Service (IPS) and other “Group A organised services” counterparts. The Supreme Court has granted “non-functional upgradation” to officers from the CRPF, CISF, BSF, NSG, etc. the order grants automatic financial upgradation to those officers who have been unable to move up the hierarchy due to lack of vacancies. The disparity was a long-standing point of dispute with the IPS.
Sources say the problem originated in 2006 when the Sixth Pay Commission recommended that officers from services other than the IAS should be given a financial upgradation everytime an IAS officer two years junior to them gets a promotion to avoid financial stagnation. Oddly, while the recommendation was accepted for all central civil services in 2009, the government denied it to the CAPFs, which it said were not “organised services”. But the Apex Court has now ended the disparity.
However, the CAPFs are now focused on another ongoing battle with the IPS — to prevent IPS officers from dominating the senior positions in the paramilitary forces. So far, each CAPF is headed by IPS officers. The matter is also in the Supreme Court.
U.P. babus’ demands
At its annual gathering, the Uttar Pradesh IAS association has called for transparency in empanelment of IAS officers for postings at the Centre, besides allowing them to work in municipal bodies to give them exposure in the urban development sector.
Earlier, the appraisal of officers was done on the basis of the annual confidential report and what mattered was the opinion of the boss about the officer. The empanelment committees would select civil servants for top jobs based on their annual progress reports or confidentiality reports. These reports were generated by just one person: the immediate boss of the officer under review.
The Modi sarkar introduced the 360-degree feedback tool in 2017 for officers on the threshold of becoming additional secretaries or secretaries. Now, it also matters what your subordinates think of the officer and stakeholders. The aim of the new policy was to bring in behavioural changes and enable better assessment of each officer. The 360-degree review policy caused a stir in the bureaucracy as the view of the boss or the ACR ceased to be the sole criterion for empanelment as additional secretary.
The association also demanded that young IAS officers should also be considered for posting as municipal commissioners as seen in some states, including Delhi.