Treat the Disease, Not the symptoms
Since my joining this department, certain words like “Pay Parity”, “Seniority Promotion”, “Time Bound Promotion”, “Group A Status” etc. are vibrating on my ears. Its amplitude varied after implementation of every Central Pay Commission (CPC). After the bifurcation of Audit and Accounts in the year 1984, the Government has agreed to give higher pay and status to the Audit department at par with Central Secretariat Service (CSS). Fourth CPC extended parity to the Accounts side also. Immediately after that, the Government revised the pay of CSS cadre. Demand went on to the fifth CPC but when it was negated the audit staff approached the court of law. Our plea was upheld till the High Court level but denied by the Apex Court on paltry grounds. As per the decision of the Apex Court, “if post A and post B have been carrying the same pay scales, merely because the pay scale of post A has been increased that by itself cannot result in increase in the pay scale of Post B to the same level. It is entirely on the Government and the authorities to fix the pay scales and to decide whether the pay scale of post B should be increased or not. The judiciary must exercise self restraint and not encroach into the executive or legislative domain”.
After that, we have approached the sixth CPC which eventually equalled the pay structure of both IA&AD and CSS along with other organised accounting departments, but subsequently the Government revised the pay of CSS with retrospective effect from 1-1-2006. Again, these facts were presented before the 7CPC which severely criticised the action of the Government in revising the pay scales of the employees of CSS after implementation of the recommendations of each CPC and suggested downgrading of the pay scales of CSS staff to the level of the organised accounting departments in order to maintain parity. But ultimately, the Government rejected the proposal for downgrading of the pay of the CSS and sanctioned normal replacement of scales with respect to the pre-revised upgraded scales. Thus, once again the employees of Organised Accounting Departments attained parity with CSS through CPC but ultimately lost before the Government.
Similarly, the demands for Seniority promotion, Time bound promotion, Group A status to Sr.AOs etc. are still pending in the department. Apart from these demands, various other demands viz. Revamping of EDP cadre, streamlining of Official language Cadre, Parity in Stenographer cadre etc. of the employees in this department are pending with CAG. There is no uniformity in giving Promotions to employees in various cadres across the field offices. In some offices promotions were given as and when they are due as per the minimum requisite service conditions prescribed in the Recruitment Rule, where as in some offices it takes several years for want of vacancies. While there is severe stagnation in the lower-middle cadres in some field offices, there is acute shortage of staff in various cadres in many field offices. Though the situation narrated above is affecting the normal functioning of the field offices, the department is still expanding day by day by opening new offices and creating new posts in the Senior Administrative levels to enhance the promotion scope of IA&AS officers. Often funds were also re-allocated from field offices to cater the needs of these offices in the absence of actual budgetary allocation. The adverse remarks made by the seventh CPC in para 11.62.12 confirms that the IA&AS cadre is already having a higher promotional avenue than the other CSS Group ‘A’ cadres. Hence, the ultimate sufferers are always the group B and C staff of the department.
National Audit Federation has submitted a work paper on 21st March 2006 to the then CAG and demanded for Cadre Restructuring in IA&AD. It is only due to our persistent perseverance the CAG has ordered a comprehensive cadre review of Group ‘B’ and ‘C’ cadres. Accordingly, a cadre review committee has been constituted in March 2009 and also entrusted a work study to M/s Deloite Touche Tohmatsu India Pvt. Ltd. M/s Deloite has submitted their report in the year 2011 but still the recommendations of the work study has neither revealed completely by the CAG nor implemented fully. We have conducted certain agitation programmes viz. sending representations & Resolutions to CAG, observed black day, staged dharna before field offices/CAG office etc. in demand of cadre restructuring. M/s Deloite has recommended for doubling the cadre strength in IA&AD in order to make the offices more officer centric and to make more efficient.
It was circulated by headquarter office that the department is only having 48000 (apprx.) persons in position out of 68000 (approx.) sanctioned strength. It was also stated that CAG desires to double the strength by 2020 and to rationalise the cadres, new ratio (1:2:2.5) has also been formulated. That is for one AO/SAO, 2 AAO and 2.5 Auditor/Accountant/Sr.Auditor/Sr.Accountant. In order to achieve the above strength and to maintain desired ratio in the cadres, the department has started recruitment in the MTS/DEO/Auditor Cadres from 2012 and by 2016 started rationalising of cadres by truncating the lower caders. It was also proposed for the creation of certain posts (Data Manager, Non-IA&AS Group ‘A’ Posts etc.) in the higher level to increase the promotional chances of Group ‘B’ officers. These proposals were turned down by the Finance Ministry and hence shelved in the headquarters office. We have already communicated that these piece-meal proposals will not help to alleviate the maladies in the department. Instead, our demand for comprehensive cadre restructuring is the only remedy to revive the cadres in IA&AD.
While the employees were demanding for cadre restructuring, the department has initiated the process for cadre rationalising. The real intention behind rationalisation is only to reduce the existing sanctioned strength in department according to the revised ratio. Reduction of posts in the cadre of AAO/Auditor in many field offices resulted in huge stagnation in promotional avenues in the lower cadre and returned to a state where Audit department was in the period 1990-2000. Long waiting lists of SOGE passed candidates seeking promotion were seen in many of the field offices during that period resulted in stopping of SOG examination for the subsequent years. Stopping of SOGE and ban on recruitment resulted in acute shortage of AAOs in Audit department during 2000-2010. From our experience, it is noticed that whatever remedy suggested and implemented by the headquarters to alleviate the stagnation in cadre progression is worse than the disease.
National Audit Federation, time and again has strongly demanded for a comprehensive cadre restructuring right from the cadre of MTS to the Senior Audit/Accounts Officer cadre including supporting cadres such as Stenographer cadre, Official Language cadre and the EDP cadre. Unfortunately other federations in the department are keeping silence in the issue. Now, the time has come to join hands to strive for a better tomorrow. Let us demand together to treat the disease rather than the symptoms. Let us demand for a more scientific, comprehensive cadre restructuring in IA&AD to offer a better service condition to the staff to achieve much glory to the department.
L.S. Sujith Kumar,
8 – August – 2016
L.S. Sujith Kumar,
National Audit Federation.