Monday, March 15, 2010

Merger of cadre of IPOs and ASPOs

The decision taken by the general body of Karnataka Circle association during the circle conference held on 24-01-2010, regarding merger of cadre of IPOs and ASPOs

Recently, Ministry of Finance vide OM F.No.1/1/2008-IC dated 13.11.2009, has granted the grade pay of Rs.4600 in the pay band PB-2 in revised pay structure to the posts that existed in the pre-revised scale of Rs.6500-10500 as on 01.01.2006 and which were granted the normal replacement pay structure of grade pay of Rs.4200 in the Pay band PB-2. Accordingly, the Grade Pay of Inspectors of CBDT/CBEC and analogous posts in other department except in the department of post are upgraded to Rs.4600. It is to mention that Inspector Posts was brought on par with Inspectors and analogous posts in CBDT/CBEC and pre-revised pay scale of Rs.6500-10500 was given w.e.f 01.01.2006 by Govt. of India as per the recommendation of the VI pay commission.

It is a matter of pleasure to mention here that, at last , the department of post which was earlier telling that the duties of Inspector post and Income Tax/Central Excise/CBI were not comparable and that they did not have linkage or parity, is now accepting that the grade pay of all inspectors should be same. Therefore, the Department has recommended Grade pay of Rs.4600/- to IPs, Grade pay of Rs.4800/- to ASPOs and Grade pay of Rs.5400/- to Group B Officers to maintain balance in the hierarchy.

The further developments in the above case revealed that the Finance Ministry has not agreed to the proposal made by the Department of Post, stating that the Grade of Rs.4800/- is now uniformly given to the Group B officers of all Central Ministries and if this is disturbed by granting grade pay of 5400/- to the Supdts. in the Department of post, at the entry stage itself, it would have cascading effect on other Department/Ministries. It may also be pointed out here that the cadre like ASPOs which is not an all India cadre, but a cadre, perhaps created by the department itself for accommodating senior IPOs with a promotion. Hence, it can be deemed that the cadre of IPs and ASPOs is almost equal and even the duties discharged by the officers of the cadres are almost equal . This set up is not prevailing in other central departments. Hence, in other departments, an Inspector gets promotion as Supdt., with grade pay of Rs.4800/-.

Our circle proposed to suggest the following pertinent points for seeking common grade pay of Rs.4600/- for both IPs and ASPOs.
1. We can retain the identity of both IP cadre as well as ASP cadre without disturbing the status presently held.
2. There would be no harm if both IPs and ASPs are given Rs.4600/- because the duties discharged by IPs and ASPs in their capacity as appointing authorities, disciplinary authorities and as regards exercising financial powers, are on equal footing.
3. We can retain the gazetted status presently conferred on ASPs which has been given in recognition of seniority and experience in the cadre.
4. The promotion for an IP will be confined to change in status i.e. he would get gazetted status at the time of promotion into the cadre of ASPOs without extra monitory benefit.
5. This gazetted status will give a unique identity to ASPOs cadre for entrusting additional responsibilities like financial powers, passing of bills and granting of leave etc. Similarly, this will also enhance the social status of the ASPs.
6. In the accounts cadre, the AAOs and AOs had different identities with pay different pay scales in the pre-revised scale. In the sixth pay commission they have been given same grade pay retaining the original identities. The cadre of IPs and ASPOs can be retained on similar lines with the grade pay of Rs.4600/-

Technical problems which may arise, if the cadres are merged and if not bracketed.
1. Question of nomenclature : It would be very difficult to find a common nomenclature, as the senior IP promoted as ASP wants to be recognized with a unique status by virtue of his being kept in ASP cadre. Hence, common nomenclature of cadre would be unacceptable to the seniors. If the present nomenclatures are continued this will not disturb the status.
2. As is followed now, the IPs should be classified as non gazetted group B and ASPOs as Gazetted Group B. whenever an IP is promoted as ASP he will be conferred with gazetted status and his services can be utilized for managing the sensitive and responsible posts in divisional office and RO .
3. If both cadres of IPs and ASPOs are merged then the question of renaming of cadre may arise. The merged cadre cannot be named as Inspector of post because this will amount to a feeling of demotion for an ASP who is already possessing the nomenclature as ASP.
4. Further, vacancies of Inspectors of central Ministries and departments (including our department) are filled up by staff selection commission through a common notification. If the nomenclature of merged cadre of IPOs is changed as ASP or any other common name, this will have a technical problem for direct recruitment process by staff selection commission.
5. In the present set up, promotion to the cadre of ASPs from IPs is different in different circles. For example In Delhi circle an IP gets promotion to the cadre of ASPOs immediately after 3 years, where as in Karnataka circle it is more than 12 years. This will naturally cause heartburn to senior IPos. Hence, seeking common grade pay to both the cadres will mitigate this disparity and thereby, seniors will get their due hike through MACP after 10 years from the date of promotion to cadre of IP itself and not to the promotion to the cadre of ASP .

Benefits of keeping separate identities with common grade pay :
If we retain the present status of two separate cadres of IPs and ASPs with same grade pay, we can enjoy the following benefits.
1. The IPs will continue to enjoy the benefits of bonus till they are promoted as ASPos which is a gazeted status.
2. The status by virtue of service seniority can be maintained by nomenclature itself.
3. If common grade pay of Rs.4600/- is sought for, there would not be any harm for ASPs in view of introduction of MACP . As the promotion from IP to ASP will not have any change in grade pay, except gazetted status, this promotion would be ignored. Now, after 10 years of service in the IP cadre or IP and ASP put together, the officer is eligible for next grade pay of Rs.4800/- and after 20 years, officer will get grade pay of Rs.5400/-. Whereas, in the present setup the IP is getting his promotion to group B cadre after 25 years of IP service, with grade pay of mere Rs.4800/-. Hence, our demand for seeking higher grade pay of Rs.5400/- to Group B will be solved automatically. Further, the senior ASPos after getting their 5400/- can even chance to forgo their Group B promotion as this promotion involves moving away from parent circle. He can opt for retirement quietly in his comfortable zone.
4. Keeping unique identity of ASPos with gazetted status may help us to bargain for any other future benefits like special pay by virtue of their status and for bargaining further elevation in the future pay commissions.
5. At present there is no analogous post equivalent to that of ASP in CBDT/CBSE and their inspectors are getting promotion as Supdt. in the span of 08 to 12 years of service in Inspector cadre and in our department , we require 25 years to get promotion as Supdt. By elimination of separate grade pay to ASPos, we can put forth our grievance before the appropriate authority by comparing ourselves with inspector of CBDT and seek parity with them.

Any other proposal like merger of ASPs with P.S Gr. B does not appear to be a sound proposal as it involves functional disturbance and may create more imbalances and lead to arbitrary action by the Administration causing loss of status and also morale. Further the Officers Association also needs to be consulted and much to our agony, such a proposal would unnecessarily drag on, for an indefinite period without any fruitful result. Hence, the present proposal of merger of grade pay of IPs and ASPs with separate existence appears to be a sound proposition in the present context and the changed situation after 6th CPC. Seeking common grade pay for IPs and ASPs is the best solution in the present scenario as there would not be any technical hurdle to the department to accept this proposal as there is no question of changing nomenclature, defining and assigning duties and responsibilities for which the department and Ministry of finance may readily agree .

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