A confederation representing thousands of officers of 20 civil services, including Indian Police Service (IPS), has petitioned Seventh Central Pay Commission complaining of "caste prejudice" and seeking job parity with IAS officers.
In a representation, it termed as "quite unfortunate" the attempts to "run down" members of other civil services by fostering a feeling of superiority among young IAS officers.
The move comes amidst ongoing war of words between officers of Indian Administrative Service and those belonging to other central government services on job-related benefits enjoyed by IAS officers. "No one disagrees that IAS occupies an important place and performs important function in the government. But claiming that contribution of others, who face no lesser challenges, is inferior and insignificant and the intemperate language used to castigate and disparage other services to prove their point, is not acceptable and deserves to be condemned. We have to submit with all responsibility and humility, that it displays a caste prejudice which has no place in a country which accords equal treatment to all. It is a regressive thought antithetical to the mainstream thinking of the twenty first century India, which our recently selected young colleagues represent," Confederation of Civil Services Association (COSCA) said in the representation.
When the country is facing multifarious challenges, creation of a wedge among young officers in the field which has potential to cause irretrievable damage to esprit-de-corps (a French term for team spirit) is totally against the public interest, it said.
Citing similar working profile, the confederation said officers of all India services (IAS, IPS and IFoS) and many central services early in their careers are posted in remote field areas and they interact very frequently. "Mutual trust and sense of camaraderie is sine qua non for successfully meeting the onerous challenges they face in their jobs. The fostering of feeling of superiority among young officers and attempt to run down members of other services, is quite unfortunate," it said.
COSCA comprises 20 services including IPS, Indian Revenue Service, Indian Forest Service, Indian Audit and Accounts Service and Federation of Railway Officers Association (representing nine railway services).
Further, choice of IAS as a first preference by many candidates is because of the artificial edge created and lifelong guaranteed superior treatment without the need to constantly prove their worth and not any inherent superiority sanctioned under statute, COSCA said.
"Such a scheme builds a sense of complacency among a pampered few and breeds non-compulsion to excel, and it would simultaneously build demoralisation and despondency among the rest. Neither is in the interest of good governance," it said.
A few days ago, nearly 200 letters from young IAS officers of two to four years seniority in the field, all similar in content and context, were addressed to the Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training, cadre controlling authority for their service, and the IAS Association Secretary, the letter said.
"The uncanny similarity of content and tenor of these letters is a testimony that this was not a spontaneous outburst of anger but a well-thought out strategy," it said, adding that it was a "pressure tactics" aimed at stalling any progressive recommendation.
IAS officers get empanelled to a Joint Secretary-level post in 18 years while those belonging to IRS and other services get it after putting in about 20-22 years of service. The early empanelment gives an upper hand to IAS officers, in terms of higher pay and other pecuniary benefits, as compared to their batchmates from other services.
COSCA appealed to the commission to ensure that officers of various services recruited through common civil services examination "will not be discriminated against". The 7th CPC is in the process of finalizing its report.