top bureaucrats have quietly yanked up their take-home pay

In a season of austerity, some top bureaucrats have quietly yanked up their take-home pay. Senior bureaucrats have given themselves a massive, second salary hike just a year after their pay was revised under the Sixth Pay Commission - at a time when the government is cutting costs, swearing by austerity.

Additional secretary-level officers, second in the nation’s babudom hierarchy, have been placed in a pay scale that starts over 80 per cent above the range in which they were placed under the pay commission.

The new pay range means the basic salaries of senior additional secretaries could be more than that of vice-chancellors of central universities or directors of the National Institutes of Technology (NITs).

The personnel ministry has amended the Indian Administrative Service (Pay) Rules to place additional secretaries at a pay scale starting at Rs 67,000 a month, up from a pay band starting at Rs 37,400 a month. The Telegraph has a copy of the amended rules.

Ironically, the amended rules were notified just five days before the government snipped proposed salaries for IIT and IIM faculty, citing a shortage in central funds to meet demands of the teachers.

The amendment also comes in the middle of a drought-like crisis that has prompted the Congress party-led UPA to launch an ostentatious austerity drive with ministers vying to publicise steps they are taking to cut costs.

Sonia Gandhi has taken economy class flights, Rahul Gandhi braved stone-pelting miscreants in travelling by a Shatabdi train, and junior foreign minister Shashi Tharoor has faced reprimand for allegedly ridiculing the austerity drive.

The human resource development ministry yesterday issued a notification to all IITs, IIMs, central universities and other bodies under its control to cut expenses, minimise travel, and reduce subsidies offered to students.

Additional secretaries were sanctioned salaries starting at Rs 37,400 a month with a one-time rank-based increment - called a grade pay - of Rs 12,000 a month under the Sixth Pay Commission.

But under the amended IAS (Pay) rules, bureaucrats of this rank have been pushed up to starting basic salaries of Rs 67,000 a month.

They are to receive annual increments at 3 per cent, and their basic salaries - at this rank - are bound by a ceiling of Rs 79,000.

The basic salary of a central university vice-chancellor or the director of an NIT is fixed at Rs 75,000 a month.

Source : The Telegraph.