New Delhi: As Tapan Kumar Deka, the chief of the country’s domestic spy agency, Intelligence Bureau (IB) still awaits for apex pay scale, the highest salary a top bureaucrat gets in government, an officer a year junior to him in the external intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) has been granted the top salary scale, said people familiar with the development.
“Parag Jain, a Punjab cadre Indian Police Service (IPS) officer belonging to the 1989 batch and now working with the R&AW on central deputation, was recently granted the apex pay scale, while IB chief Tapan Kumar Deka is yet to get it despite belonging to 1988 batch of the IPS,” said a person privy to the development.
Denial of the apex pay scale to the Director of Intelligence Bureau (DIB) who is the top police officer of the country, by tradition and in practice for decades that go back to the pre-independence era, is being considered as devaluing the post of the DIB by the IPS fraternity.
The DIB chairs the annual conference of all police chiefs of the country as he is "considered the Head of the entire police family in India”. DIB is the only four-star police officer in the country, at par with the army chief.
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 Indian Police Service officers, at the centre. It meant that if the DIB was not among the top 11 IPS officers at the centre at the time of appointment, he would not be entitled to get the apex pay scale. Before that, 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.
But when Tapan Kumar Deka took charge as the Director of IB (DIB) on June 30 this year, he was not granted the apex pay scale because he did not figure in the list of 11 senior most Indian Police Service (IPS) officers at the centre.
Following Deka’s peculiar situation with regard to the apex pay scale, the government decided to rectify the situation by proposing to grant the top pay scale to the chiefs of IB and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is the anti-corruption probe agency of the centre, at the time of their appointment and irrespective of the seniority they held. But there has been no movement so far in this regard.
Apex pay scale is the salary granted to top bureaucrats, secretaries 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).
During the British raj, the DIB used to draw a salary of Rs 3500 per month (fixed) but after India got freedom, the salary was decreased to Rs 2500 per month (fixed) still, the DIB was the only police officer in the country to get this apex pay scale. This position continued till the 5th pay commission when the apex pay scale was granted to the Chiefs of Border Security Force and Central Reserve Police Force, the two paramilitaries of the country. So there were three IPS officers getting apex scale after the 5th pay commission.
Following the recommendations of the 6th pay commission, the apex scale was granted to heads of all central paramilitary forces and Chiefs of state police. These officers used to get the apex pay scale till the time they held the designated post. The position remained unchanged till 2016 when the government issued an order to grant the apex pay scale by way of seniority which meant if an officer was among the top 11 IPS officers posted at the centre only then he or she would be eligible to get the apex pay scale.
But in the R&AW, the situation was different despite many IPS officers in its ranks. In the external intelligence agency, all Special Secretary rank officers get an apex pay scale.
Now consider this anomaly, Special Directors in the IB are equivalent to Special Secretaries in the R&AW as only the Director General rank officers can get the two ranks, but the Special Directors are governed by the seniority principle whereas in R&AW, once an IPS officer is promoted to the rank of Special Secretary, he or she is granted the apex pay scale.
Hence, Parag Jain after his promotion to the rank of Special Secretary has been granted the apex pay scale while his batchmates serving elsewhere at the Centre are yet to get the top salary.
“There are already whispers in the power corridors that in the Modi years, the R&AW has triumphed over the IB and now it seems it has got kind of stamp of approval from the government as well as the DIB is yet to get the apex pay scale but his junior in the external spy agency is drawing a top salary,” said a senior IPS officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The officer added that when the seniority rule was brought in, it was with the understanding that the DIB would always be senior enough to be counted among the top 11 IPS officers at the centre. But when Deka was appointed as the DIB, he superseded half a dozen officials and therefore doesn’t figure in the top 11 officials to be entitled to the apex pay scale. Now, his position needs rectification.