Published On: Wed, Jul 29th, 2015

Rly Minister goes seventh pay commission to bat for higher pay for his officials

New Delhi: The government backed for higher pay scales for rail officials, as Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has written to the seventh Pay Commission recommending that the top layer of the railway bureaucracy be elevated. While the demand is not new, getting a minister to make the recommendation is unique.

Rail Minister Suresh Prabhu

Rail Minister Suresh Prabhu

In the letter, Prabhu has strongly endorsed to make the GM’s post equal to that of a state’s chief secretary in pay and to give the Railway Board Chairman the same pay scale as that of the Chief of Army Staff and Cabinet Secretary.

“Every ministry gives representations to the pay commission. I have forwarded the one related to GMs and Chairman of Railway Board,” Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu told The Indian Express.

Prabhu’s move, unprecedented by a railway minister, would give fresh ammunition to other cadres — principally the IPS and IRS — in their pitch for rewards commensurate with the members of the IAS. It could potentially lead to an increase in the Centre’s salary bill, in addition to what the commission’s recommendations would have caused otherwise.

The IPS and IRS associations have approached successive Pay Commissions with similar demands in the past, but with limited or no success, partly because these demands have never got endorsed by the ministers concerned. The differential Grade Pays for IAS and non-IAS officers brought in by the sixth Pay Commission only widened the disparity.

The IPS cadre, manned by people immediately following those selected for IAS and IFS in the UPSC rank list, has less than 10 posts equivalent to secretaries to the central government, while an IRS official can never be a secretary, with the topmost positions reserved for the cadre — that of chairpersons of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and Central Board of Excise & Customs (CBEC) — are of the special secretary level, a notch below the secretary’s.

During the first pay commission, the Commissioner of Railways enjoyed the highest pay scale among bureaucrats. It was only after the third pay commission that this changed.

Now, although the Railway Board Chairman is an ex-officio principal secretary to the government, his payscale is equal to that of any other departmental secretary.

If the demand to raise the pay scale is accepted by seventh pay commission, the top post will get a Rs 10,000 raise in pay band and the post will reflect the stature of being a top bureaucratic position.

Inputs with the Indian Express

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