Date:26/03/2008 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2008/03/26/stories/2008032659380400.htm
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Tamil Nadu - Chennai

Salary hike recommendation welcomed, but some proposals draw flak

City Bureau

Replacement of ad hoc bonus with performance-related incentive scheme flayed

— Photo: M. Vedhan

MIXED REACTIONS: The Sixth Pay Commission report was the topic of discussion in many government offices on Tuesday. A scene showing Secretariat staff leaving for home at the end of the day.

Chennai: The Sixth Pay Commission’s recommendation to increase salaries of Central government employees has evoked a rousing welcome from government employees here but some of the recommendations have not gone down so well.

Many employees said the increase in salary would attract more people to join government service. However, proposals such as the replacement of the ad hoc bonus with a performance-related incentive scheme and suggested corporatisation of some agencies were met with disappointment.

Employees of the Regional Meteorological Centre, Chennai, said the 40 per cent average hike recommended was given in the basic pay rather than the gross salary. With the Central government stopping recruitments for a few years now, there is an increase in vacancies in various departments and young people are unable to join, said an employee.

Fillip to employees

Neenu Ittyerah, Chief Public Relations Officer of the Southern Railway, described the recommendation report as an “absolute plus” that gave a fillip to government employees. Rajesh Lakhoni, Chennai Corporation Commissioner and IAS officer of the 1992 batch, said he welcomed the proposals as they would motivate employees to perform better.

However, Tamil Nadu Housing Board Chairman and Managing Director Ram Mohan Rao, an IAS officer of the 1985 batch, said the recommendations would make it difficult for authorities to find and attract talent at the entry-level and retain them, particularly in the case of administrative, engineering and economic services.

Those who are in the middle level bureaucracy such as the Secretariat services would be pleased with the proposals, Mr. Rao said.

Performance debate

The Commission’s recommendation for a performance-linked incentive scheme in place of the ad hoc bonus scheme has drawn flak from the All India Defence Employees Federation.

In a statement here, the federation’s general secretary C. Srikumar also criticised the proposal for corporatisation of 41 ordnance factories.

“The Commission has created a division among group D employees in the name of qualification. While the qualified junior group D employees will be given a minimum pay of Rs. 6,660, the senior group D employees will be given only Rs. 5,740,” Mr. Srikumar said. An employee at the Southern Railway said that several grades have been merged that would have both senior and junior level staff in the same cadre.

Top consultants in the human resources industry have, however, praised the performance related incentive scheme.

Ma Foi Management Consultants Managing Director K. Pandia Rajan said the proposal could be introduced in the case of higher level officials as it would be an excellent motivating factor.

The performance incentive scheme may not be possible to implement lower down the ladder as unions would fight it tooth and nail, he said.

Mr. Rajan also said that the increased pay for officer level employees may not necessarily stem attrition as finance was only one of the reasons why some IAS officers moved to the private sector.

“In any case, only about two per cent of top level officials have moved to the private sector in the last few years,” he said.

S. Karthick Kumar, an employee of an IT solutions firm, said he hoped the increase in pay packets would encourage all government officials to offer efficient and sincere service to the public.

(With inputs from Kannal Achuthan, K. Lakshmi and T. Ramakrishnan)

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