New Delhi: A war of words is going on in social media between officers of most sought-after Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and those belonging to other central government services like IRS over the issue of pay parity and career progression.
A group of about 200 IAS officers have written to Department of Personnel and Training, cadre controlling authority for their service, requesting it to stonewall any move that seeks to bring down the edge given to them over other services due to various reasons.
Many comments are pouring on social networking sites like Facebook and micro-blogging portal Twitter by various officers serving across the country on the issue.
Officers belonging to Indian Revenue Service (IRS), Railways and other central government services have sought pay parity and career benefits enjoyed by those in IAS, a move being objected to by those in the latter service.
"There is a lot of frustration and resentment among the young officers. They have taken a conscious decision of joining IAS after viewing their career options.
"Some of them have left very good private sector jobs abroad and joined the civil service. Most of them were selected in other services but they chose to sit in exam again to become an IAS officer. The merit of these boys should not be ignored," said Sanjay Bhoosreddy, Secretary of central IAS officers' association here.
He said many IAS officers have written to the association over the matter. "We will take a considered view, whatever is best for the country and for the service, on these representations," Bhoosreddy said.
The bitter fight has been getting support from politicians also. "Apartheid in payscales of AllIndiaCivilServices mustgo,for allto feel inclusive #parity4allservices #IASNoUsainBolt," tweeted Kiran Bedi, retired IPS officer and a BJP leader.
"Unaddressed apartheid inpayparity+service matters in AllIndiaCivilServices has hurt-performance. V need shared missionary zeal in AllIndiaCivilServices, not ongoing pay fissures," she said in different tweets.
Officers of IAS get empanelled to a Joint Secretary-
level post in 11 years while those belonging to IRS and other services get it after putting in at least 13 years of service. The early empanelment gives an upper hand to IAS officer, in terms of higher pay and other pecuniary benefits, as compared to their batchmate of other services.
The spar among the civil servants started after it was reportedly claimed that seventh Central Pay Commission (CPC) is considering to bring parity in all services, thereby ending supremacy of IAS officers over others. The Commission is yet to give its report to the government and there is no official confirmation on such move.
"If there is no place for merit, then many meritorious aspirants may opt out of civil services," Bhoosreddy said.
IPS officers' association Secretary P V Ramasashtry said a service can plead for how much pay it should get but not what others should not get.
"When the pay commission is yet to finalize their recommendations, the move triggered by some IAS officers was premature and avoidable.
"A service can plead for how much pay it should get but not what others should not get. One cannot understand how extra two increments can be the sole motivation factor and removal of the same thoroughly demoralises an officer who claims himself superior to others?," he asked.
Such attitudes work against inclusiveness and cohesion among the services and cause irreparable harm to esprit de corps, the senior IPS officer said.
"Leaving private jobs and coming to services is not unique to IAS but common to all the services. If you compare the educational qualification and previous experience profiles, they are identical across the board.
"Hallmark of superiority and merit is to outrun others in every competition and not to seek special status and lifelong concessions," Ramasashtry said.
A twitter handle #IASNoUsainBolt has been receiving good response in the social media. "It is all about merit, marks and exposure due to which we join IAS. Officers claiming that because of few marks they could not make to the IAS, then they should not forget that it is because of those few marks that thousands of students could not clear the civil services examination," a senior IAS officer said.
Officers of other central services like IRS are going to hold a meeting soon on the matter to decide their future course of action. "We want pay parity after all it is the same exam which we and those who become IAS qualify. Why there should be any discrimination on the basis of marks and services," a senior IRS officer said.
"End of apartheid in Indian civil services is the need of the hour for world class public delivery system.. #parity4allservices....," tweeted IRS officer Sudhanshu Rai.