ACPS-ADEQUATE CAREER PROGRESSION 6.1.15
Promotion policy exists to provide adequate career progression to the employees.
The Fifth CPC was of the opinion that the Government should formulate a promotion scheme that caters to the promotion aspirations of Central Government employees in general. They recommended the Assured Career Progression Scheme (ACPS) for the general employees in the Government. The Fifth CPC had also recommended use of cadre review mechanism to bring uniformity in the career prospects of Group A central services. Department of Personnel & Training (DOPT) was also advised to issue detailed guidelines for cadre reviews of posts belonging to Groups B, C & D so as to ensure timely review thereof.
The scheme of ACP recommended by the Fifth CPC envisaged three time bound promotions for Group A posts after 4, 8 & 13 years of service. For posts in Groups B, C & D, two time bound promotions were to be provided on completion of 8 & 16 years of service for Group B, 10 & 20 years for Group C and 12 & 24 years of service for Group D.
The Government accepted this recommendation in a modified manner and introduced the ACPS for Groups B, C & D and isolated posts in Group A where two financial upgradations were to be provided on completion of 12 & 24 years of service. The financial upgradations were to be in the next higher grade in the existing hierarchy.
Benefit of pay fixation under FR-22(1) (a) (i) was to be given at the time of these financial upgradations but no change in designation or functions accompanied such upgradation. The scheme, therefore, did not envisage a change in the status or rank of the employee who continued in the same post but only extended the next higher pay scale available in the hierarchy.
ACPS has, by and large, alleviated the problem of stagnation and also allowed higher rate of increments in the higher scale extended under it. However, it has given rise to many other problems, mainly because the financial upgradations in the extant scheme follow the existing hierarchy. This gives uneven benefit to employees existing in the same pay scale in different organisations with a different hierarchical pattern. Employees working in organisations having more intermediate grades suffer because financial upgradation under ACPS places them in a lower pay scale vis-à-vis a similarly placed employee in another organisation that has lesser intermediary grades. This, in a few cases also leads to a situation where the benefit of higher pay scale is not available because the next post in the hierarchy also exists in an identical pay scale. In such cases, benefit under ACPS is limited to increase in salary in the same pay scale on account of fixation under FR-22(1)(a)(i).
The Commission has received many representations seeking a uniform benefit under ACPS or seeking abolition of intermediary grades merely with a view to get higher jumps in pay scales under ACPS. While delayering of Government machinery is desirable and the Commission has made numerous recommendations to achieve the same, abolition of intermediary levels just to give better jumps under ACPS, even though the same are not desirable functionally, cannot be considered.
The only other way is to bring systemic changes in the existing scheme of ACPS so that all employees, irrespective of the existing hierarchical structure in their organisation/cadre, get same benefit under it. The Commission, therefore, recommends that the existing scheme of Assured Career Progression may, in future, be continued with two financial upgradations being allowed as at present with the following modifications:-
i) The scheme will also be available to all posts belonging to Group A - whether isolated or not. Organised Group A services will, however, not be covered under the scheme.
ii) Benefit of pay fixation available at the time of normal promotion shall be allowed at the time of financial upgradations under the scheme. Thus, an increase of 2.5% of pay and grade pay shall be available as financial upgradation under the scheme.
iii) The grade pay shall change at the time of financial upgradation under this scheme. The grade pay given at the time of financial upgradation under ACPS will be the immediate next higher grade pay in the hierarchy of revised pay bands and grade pay being recommended. Thus, grade pay at the time of financial upgradation under ACPS can, in certain cases where regular promotion is not between two successive grades, be different than what is available at the time of regular promotion. In such cases, the higher grade pay attached to the next promotion post in the hierarchy of the concerned cadre/ organization will be given only at the time of regular promotion.
iv) Financial upgradation under the scheme will be available whenever a person has spent 12 years continuously in the same grade. However, not more than two financial upgradations shall be given in the entire career as was provided in the extant scheme.
The scheme with aforesaid modifications shall be called modified ACPS and will ensure suitable progression uniformly to all the employees in Central Government. 6.1.16 Scientists and Doctors are presently covered under separate promotion schemes viz. Flexible Complementing Scheme and Dynamic Assured Career Progression Scheme respectively.
The Commission has considered these schemes in Chapters 3.5 & 3.6 of the Report. 6.1.17 Promotion channels are not very attractive for many posts in Groups B & C. Many times, highly qualified persons join these posts but get demoralized on account of prevailing stagnation. While running pay bands and Modified ACPS will address the problem of stagnation, the Commission is of the view that these employees need to be allowed a fast track promotion mechanism wherein the brighter employees will be able to get promoted faster, irrespective of their seniority, subject to their selection in the prescribed examination.
The Commission recommends that 10% of the vacancies hitherto filled by direct recruitment for all posts in Group B and C (apart from those in pay band PB-1 with grade pay of Rs.1800) will now be filled by Limited Departmental Competitive Examination (LDCE). All employees possessing minimum qualifications prescribed for direct recruitment shall be eligible for this examination irrespective of their present grade and the period of incumbency therein. Thus, even an employee in pay band PB-1 with grade pay of Rs.1800 will be eligible to appear in LDCE for a post in PB-2 with grade pay of Rs.4800 provided he/she possesses the necessary qualifications. This will be over and above any existing scheme of LDCE for filling up posts in various grades.