Serious discontent is brewing among officials of the elite Indian Revenue Service (IRS) after being ignored by the Union Government for upgrade of pay scales, with many contemplating resignation and a switchover to the private sector. The Government’s reluctance to address the issue despite a recommendation by the 6th Central Pay Commission for the hike has angered the officials who feel they are being taken for granted.
In a strongly-worded memorandum to the Government, the Indian Revenue Service Association said the increasing disparity in the pay scales between IRS officials and their counterparts in other Central services was not justified in view of the organisation’s stellar contribution in filling central coffers.
A source said he expected Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who initiated the formation of a three-member panel to look into pay-related grievances of the defence forces, to also consider the IRS demands “equally sympathetically” as they had consistently received a raw deal.
The memorandum pointed out that there was not a single Secretary– or even a Special Secretary-level officer in the IRS (comprising 4,200 officers), whereas 4.2% of the nearly 5,000-strong Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officials were of the rank of Secretary or Special Secretary. Other Central services — like the IPS (1.21%), Indian Forest Service (1.23%), Indian Foreign Service (3.91%), Indian Audit and Account Service (1.30%), Indian Postal Service (1.49%) and Indian Civil Accounts Service (1.97%) — were also better off, the association added.
While emphasising the IRS’ growing popularity among top rankers of the civil services examination, the communiqué expressed fears that mass migration by disgruntled officials would rub the sheen off the service and asked the Government to do more than pay lip service in praising the organisation on its “consistently good performance”.
Officials said that since upgradation of posts of Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Director Generals of Police had created a “huge imbalance in the status and pay structure of Chief Commissioners of income tax”, the Government needed to urgently address the anomaly.
Among the demands made by the Indian Revenue Service Association are the placement of Member, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) in the pay scale of Rs 80,000, cadre-controlling Chief Commissioners of income tax at the revised Rs 80,000 (fixed) pay scale and other Chief Commissioners of income tax at the scales being worked out for General Manager (railways).
It may be pointed out that more than 50% of the total tax receipts come through the IRS and the total collection in 2007-08 touched a record Rs 3,14,000 crore.