Pay public servants well but they must also do their job well

Promotions should strictly be based on performance evaluation and not on seniority to promote competence and an encouragement to deliver.

The federal government’s announcement of setting up a Seventh Pay Commission for central employees has spread happiness among eight million public servants and pensioners. The recommendations are expected to be implemented in 2016 and it is well-times as this will not lead to bunching of deficit payments. But the commission’s duty does not end at pay revision; the committee must also link this pay alteration with performance and productivity of employees.

The huge majority on the government’s rolls are low-skilled workers, waiting to be laid off with the stride of technology. Retraining them in fields that witness a sharp employee scarcity is a good idea.

The commission must consider of structural restructuring, including a leaner administration at the higher ranks, flexible lateral entry and market-referenced wages.

It makes logic to limit the number of posts, joint secretary’s and higher, instead of creating more posts to endorse every junior officer who gets on in years. In the Indian armed forces, promotion is not just on the basis of seniority or rank; merit and availability of posts are also noted. Many retire not rising even above colonel. The same procedure should be followed in civil services. Promotions should strictly be based on performance evaluation and not on seniority or rank. This will promote competence and an encouragement to deliver.

Public servants who fail to perform must be allowed to retire early with the remuneration of a full pension. This might also give them the opportunity of a second innings outside government.

At present, there is no incentive for high-quality performance and no fine for failing to perform and this must be changed immediately.

The Seventh Pay Commission must, once more, recommend guidelines of no transfers before the completion of a normal term apart from on grounds to be permitted and recorded by an apex committee and shifting from periodic pay commissions to a permanent one. The government should act on these points.

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