7th Pay Commission: NFU dream of paramilitary to end; MHA moots withdrawal of tag

The home ministry is working on a proposal to do away with the 'organised services' status, which ensures timely promotion and salary hike of officers, and subsequently reject the demand for additional monetary benefits to officers of paramilitary and defence forces.

PTI| Last Updated: May 10, 2017, 18:44 PM IST
7th Pay Commission: NFU dream of paramilitary to end; MHA moots withdrawal of tag

New Delhi: The home ministry is working on a proposal to do away with the 'organised services' status, which ensures timely promotion and salary hike of officers, and subsequently reject the demand for additional monetary benefits to officers of paramilitary and defence forces.

At a high-level meeting chaired by Union home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi recently, it was mooted that as government officers were already enjoying "very high salaries", such a non-functional upgrade (NFU) should be reviewed and withdrawn in consultation with the 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC).

The meeting was held in the backdrop of a recent Supreme Court directive asking the Centre to re-think on giving monetary benefits to Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) such as CRPF, BSF, ITBP, CISF and SSB as was done in case of 'organised services', including the IAS and the IPS.

The apex court had in April this year asked the Centre to frame a response in this regard after it heard a batch of appeals, including one filed by the Centre against the Delhi High Court's September 2015 verdict asking it to consider all paramilitary forces as 'organised services'.

The high court had said officers of CAPFs should be given the benefits including non-functional financial upgradation, earlier available to 'Group A organised services', from 2006 in terms of the 6th Pay Commission.

Under NFU, if all officers of a particular batch cannot move up the ladder owing to lack of vacancies but only one does, the others will automatically get financial upgradation like the one who has been promoted.

"It was suggested that selective application of NFU is unsustainable, unjustified in view of the very high salaries in government and should therefore be withdrawn in accordance with the majority opinion of the CPC," the minutes of the meeting, accessed by PTI, said.

The meeting was attended by the chiefs of the CAPFs besides officers from the ministries of home and finance and the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).

"It was reiterated that the only long-term stable solution would be to withdraw NFU from all services, failing which, not only this case be lost, but it would spiral into a similar demand from the armed forces," the note said.

Senior CAPF officials said the move is aimed at "scuttling" the better chances of the cadre officers of these forces who are deployed in some of the most difficult and hard areas at the borders and in the hinterland countering Naxals, insurgents and terrorists.

"While the political leadership of the country has said that services of the armed forces and CAPFs are among the toughest and steps are being taken to make their services better and remuneration commensurate to their hard work, the bureaucracy is bent on depriving them these benefits owing to their vested interests," a senior officer in a paramilitary force said.

During the hearing in the apex court, Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, representing the Centre, had told that if the paramilitary forces were declared as organised group 'A' services, there cannot be any deputation and no one from the Indian Police Service (IPS) cadre could come on deputation to these forces.

"All the CAPF chiefs who are part of the panel to draft a reply to the Supreme Court directive are IPS officers. The conflict of interest is apparent?" another officer said.

The IPS officers form the core of the senior leadership of these forces and there is a division between them and the cadre officers for occupying the command positions in CAPFs.

The home ministry meeting was informed by the DoPT official that there are no "consistent parameters" for granting NFU to various services and hence the same was difficult to accept and implement for the CAPFs too.

The apex court had said it perceives that the CAPF personnel were grieved by the non-grant of 'equal pay for equal work', a benefit granted to the organised services, and if the conferment of monetary benefit can assuage their grievance, the government might think over it, the bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and M M Shantanagoudar had said.

The bench had granted 12 weeks to the Centre to deliberate upon the issue and the next hearing is scheduled for August 9.