By Gaurav Sharma
Signalling a fresh confrontation, the Narendra Modi-led central government has rejected the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government’s decision to hike the salaries of its mid and senior-level officers.
In a letter, the union home ministry has expressed its displeasure over the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government’s decision to grant time-bound pay scales to Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Service (DANICS) officers, declaring it as “ultra vires”.
On August 11, the Delhi government had ordered that pay scales of DANICS officers be revised after they complete 13, 18 and 21 years of service which was not the case earlier.
Asked about the home ministry reaction, Kejriwal said that the central government did not want his government to work.
“They will not do good work neither will they let us,” Kejriwal told IANS, while confirming the information.
The home ministry, in its communication to Delhi chief secretary, asserted that it was the “competent authority to make any amendments in the DANICS Rules” and the Delhi government did not seek its approval.
“The prescribed procedure had not been followed and the approval of the competent authority has not been obtained. As such, it has become ultra vires,” the letter said.
“Further, the proposal relating to creation of all posts carrying Grade Pay of Rs.10,000 in Pay Band -4 and above are required to be brought before the union cabinet,” it added.
DANICS is a civil service whose officers are deputed to serve the middle level and senior level administration of the Delhi government as well as union territories like Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
The decision was taken to boost the morale of these officers who were unhappy over pay structures. According to officials, DANICS officers are eligible for promotion to the Indian Administrative Service after completing eight years of continuous service but this actually been taking on an average of 27-28 years.
The central government’s decree will come as a blow to over 200 DANICS officers who have long demanded parity in pay structure.
“It was after a long struggle that Delhi government had passed the order of fair revision of our salary scale,” a senior DANICS officer told IANS.
“There was no scope of promotion. The decision was aimed at removing disparity in salaries. Even the salary of a head clerk was equal to that of a DANICS officer,” he added.
The central and the Delhi governments are locked into a bitter battle over a host of issues.