As BSF chief awaits apex pay scale, his junior gets it as Bihar DGP

Rajesh Ahuja
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BSF Director General Pankaj Kumar Singh

BSF Director General Pankaj Kumar Singh (File photo)

New Delhi: On December 18, the government of Bihar issued an order appointing 1990 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Rajwinder Singh Bhatti as the new Director General of Police (DGP) of the state in place of SK Singhal who was retiring the next day. But Bhatti’s appointment has again brought back the focus on oddities in the pay rules of IPS officers.

Before being appointed as the Bihar DGP, Bhatti was serving as Additional Director General (ADG) in Border Security Force (BSF), the central paramilitary that guards Indo-Pak and Indo-Bangladesh border, on deputation. As ADG, he was reporting to BSF Director General Pankaj Kumar Singh, a 1988 batch IPS officer, who is retiring on December 31.

Now sample this: As per the salary rules of the IPS officers, Bhatti as DGP of Bihar will get a salary in the apex pay scale while his erstwhile chief in the BSF, Pankaj Kumar Singh, is yet to get the apex pay scale.

As per rules, all state police chiefs are entitled to get an apex pay scale while at the centre, only 13 IPS officers can be granted an apex pay scale at any given time.  

Just before the end of November this year, only 11 central IPS officers were entitled to get the apex pay scale in order of their “seniority”. On November 30, the government excluded the posts of Directors of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (IB) from the ambit of the “seniority” rule, thus increasing the number of apex pay scale posts from 11 to 13.

Apex pay scale is the salary granted to top bureaucrats - secretary or director general rank officers - belonging to Indian Administration Service, Indian Foreign Service or Indian Police Service etc. The current apex pay scale is fixed at Rs 2.25 lakh per month (fixed) excluding the allowances due. The country's top bureaucrat, the cabinet secretary and three service chiefs get a higher pay scale of Rs 2.5 lakh per month (fixed).

In 2016, the government decided to grant the apex pay scale by “seniority" to 11 IPS officers who held the rank of director general, the top post for IPS officers, at the centre. Before the 2016 amendment, the apex scale was tied to the posts IPS officers held at the centre. These posts included the chiefs of central police organisations like IB, CBI, CRPF, BSF, CISF or ITBP etc.

The 2016 amendment led to a huge peculiarity when Tapan Kumar Deka was appointed as the Director of IB. Since he was not among the top 11 IPS officers at the centre, Deka was not granted the apex pay scale despite the fact that the Director of the IB is considered the top police official in the country. While Deka, a 1988 batch IPS officer, was awaiting the apex pay scale, his junior, Parag Jain (IPS officer of the 1989 batch) in the external intelligence agency, Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW) was granted the apex pay scale. Hence, to rectify the oddity, the government brought an amendment on November 30 under which the post of Director, IB was excluded from the seniority rule and Deka was granted the apex pay scale.

“But this is piecemeal approach is not doing any good. Look at Bhatti’s case now. Bhatti is two batches junior to Pankaj Kumar Singh. But Bhatti is now going to get the apex pay scale as a state police chief while Singh, his senior in the IPS and boss till a few days back, hasn’t got the apex pay scale and going to retire without getting a top salary,” said an IPS officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The oddities do not end here. In IB, the salary of the special director (SD), the number two post, is governed by the seniority rule. If the special director rank official is among the top 11 IPS officers at the centre, he or she won’t get the apex pay scale while in the sister intelligence agency, R&AW, all special secretaries, equivalent to the SD rank in IB, are entitled to get apex pay scale.

“There is a need to have a re-look at all these peculiarities in the pay rules of IPS officers to rectify them in a comprehensive manner,” said another IPS officer who also wished to remain anonymous.