Pay panel wants merit rewarded, complacency derided

New Delhi, Nov 20 (IANS) Even as it has recommended substantial hikes in the emoluments drawn by government officials, the 7th Pay commission also wants complacency to be dealt with adequately, as much as it wants merit to be rewarded beyond annual increments.

“This commission believes that employees who do not meet the laid-down performance critera should not be allowed to earn future annual increments,” said the panel in its 88-page report that was submitted to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Thursday evening.

“The commission is therefore proposing the withholding of annual increments in the case of those employees who are not able to meet the benchmark either for the MACP (Modified Assured Career Progression) or a regular promotion within the first 20 years of their service,” it said.

“The remuneration package is such that employees would feel they are valued and they are fairly paid and their remuneration is not less than the person who is similarly situated in another organisation.”

The panel said this will be a deterrent for complacent and inefficient employees, and added that the government could also give such staff an option to leave service on similar terms and conditions as prescribed for voluntary retirement.

The panel, however, said the frequency for such an incentive must continue to be administered at 10, 20 and 30 years as before, since some inherent issues in the existing pay structure that had caused widespread resentment were being set right.

In the case of defence forces, the appraisal will continue at 8, 16 and 24 years as before.

“There is, however, one significant aspect where this commission feels that a change is required. This is with regard to the benchmark for performance appraisal for MACP as well as for regular promotion,” said the panel, wanting the existing “good” to “very good” criteria to be enhanced.

“In addition, introduction of more stringent criteria such as clearing of departmental exams or mandatory training before grant of MACP can also be considered by the government.”

The panel said the benefits of its recommendations on this aspect were manifold. among them, it said, employees can traverse both vertically and horizontally within the same level by way of an annual progression and through the recommended incentives.

“This will enable him/her to visualise the career path across levels and span of service.”

Bringing cheer to an estimated 47 lakh serving central government officials, including defence personnel, as also the 52 lakh pensioners, the commission on Thursday recommended a 23.55 percent hike in salary and perks. The move will entail an outflow of Rs.102,100 crore from the exchequer.

The revision, based on what the government decides, will take effect January 1 next year.

The panel is chaired by former Supreme Court judge, Justice Ashok Kumar Mathur, with Vivek Rae, a bureaucrat, and Rathin Roy, an economist, as members, and Meena Agarwal, an officeer of Indian Railway Accounts, as secretary.

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