Tuesday, September 17, 2013

IAS/ IPS officers can now get medical treatment abroad!

I haven't seen any news item about the above, and I got to know about it when I read a great piece by Rama Baru in the Hindu:
The Government of India’s Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has decided to reimburse approved expenditure on treatment abroad, for a defined range of medical conditions, for officers of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Police Service (IPS). In doing so, it is extending to them a benefit available to Members of Parliament and officers of the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) when posted abroad. In addition, the travel and treatment costs for the officer and an attendant will be borne by the government. The order confers benefits over and above the entitlements under the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS).
The existing rules, according to Baru, are as follows: 

Existing rules permit civil servants to secure reimbursement for medical treatment abroad or at a private hospital in India based on what it would cost to secure the same treatment in a private ward at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi.

If the government wishes to reimburse treatment of IAS/IPS officers at actual rates at a private hospital in India (and not at the AIIMS rate), it would be understandable. Allowing officers to go abroad for treatment is a different matter. The move, alas, will only reinforce popular perceptions of the collusion between politicians and babus in appropriating the spoils of government. The conclusion that most people will draw is that now that the politicians have done the babus a big favour, they can count on the babus to help them out where required.

I do not know whether MPs have raised this issue in parliament; if they have not, that would not be a surprise. Netas already enjoy the privilege that the babus will now get.

PS: After writing the above post, I checked the news online. It appears that medical treatment abroad will be permitted only for certain complicated ailments, which are mentioned in the order. Presumably, these are ailments for which comparable treatments are not available in India. This point is not properly reflected in the article I have cited. I have had to tone done my criticism somewhat and have modified my original post accordingly. I am hesitant to take my criticism back entirely. Which ailment requires treatment abroad is a matter of judgement and  such judgement, in our scheme of things, may end up being exercised independently of the merits of a given case.

12 comments:

chandramouli said...

The bureaucrats (IAS officers) run the ministries in India. They pass the exam prescribed and are absorbed into the system without acquiring any specific specialization. They become part of the age-old colonial system of governance, which acquires authority automatically from such age-old system. They acquire lot of authority and discretionary powers without any accountability. They are a permanent feature in the system, while the minister changes every 5 years. The minister himself is elected and has no special qualifications or specialization in the field of his ministry and hence is totally dependent on the bureaucrats. Hence you are right in saying that it will not be a surprise if the MPs have not raised the issue raised by Mr. Ram Baru so far.

Anonymous said...

Oh god, so outrageous! These IAS/IPS officers could have employed themselves in some other, better earning jobs. They could be sitting in a plush corporate office, seeping coffee while dashing off an article for ET or the Hindu. But they had a mind to go for a government job and now they must manage in the peanuts they get for a salary. Many of the bureaucrats could have been successful doctors, lawyers, engineers, managers with plump pockets and could easily afford a treatment abroad. But as they were dumb enough to choose civil services as their career option, they better keep their mouths shut and not ask for more than what the journos decide for them. So true!

T T Ram Mohan said...

Anonymous,

I rather enjoyed reading your angry outburst. If it is any comfort to you, I have been a staunch defender of the civil services for long;I sincerely believe that the IAS is a force for national good.

I have modified my post after getting the correct details about the facility from news channels. I have no problem with IAS/IPS officers being well taken care of. However, it is wise to factor in public perception, which, you will appreciate, is quite hostile to civil servants as a class.

Let me now correct some perceptions you have about me:

i. I do not sit in a plush corporate office. I operate out of an utilitarian room in an utilitarian building of IIMA.

ii. I am not much of a tea or coffee drinker.

iii. My compensation, like yours, is within the Pay Commission framework. The differences with the IAS/IPS are that I do not have an office car or a retinue of servants paid for by government.

-TTR





Anonymous said...

Ttrmohan, what I do not understand is why do all Indians and yourself being an IIM Prof put up with this situation? Why can't you ask for better wages and perks when rest of the world asks for it? Wages are not the only reason to work but definitely a factor. Atleast a majority of us are under tremendous pressure of thinking about our wages constantly rather than concentrating on work. As a result quality of work depreciates. Productivity is lost. Why doesn't the stupid government and corporates think of it? Off course employer always likes to pay low wages but this attitude if not corrected slowly or immediately will hurt us in future.

us, uk and Europe would not be what they are today had they not worried about their employees. We Indians expect miracles but will never raise our hand and ask for Basic rights. The other day, I saw an advertisement on news channel, saying that they would a stipend of Rs 9000 per month for their hotel management students. Holy cow, forget about the cheap marketing strategy but the youth (majority) is getting convinced that Rs 9000 is a great salary for beginners. What standards are we setting for ourselves, that we deserve low wages?

When everything around us has inflated, the salaries remain stagnant. That is very unfair and definitely our development depends on quality work and not just quantity of work alone.

You guys at IIM should demand for it as you deserve it. Let there be change and let it be now.

I know at the end of it everyone would say "arey kuch nahi hota"

Anonymous said...

I am amazed at the outburst of the person, presumably an IAS officer, above. The post shows little respect for those who work in corporate offices. To assume that those who work for the government are the patriotic guys, and those who work for the private sector are self-serving men and women, is a gross over-simplification. The corporate job is one of the toughest. Today, India's best do not go to the IAS, they go to IITs and IIMs. I say this from my personal experience. Well the IAS still attracts good guys and the exam is very, very selective - even then my own experience is that new IAS recruits are definitely a notch or two below the best IIT brains. They are usually very hard-working, but not as brainy. Now do some IIT folks go to IAS? yes some do, but the very best among them go and join McKinsey or teach in the world's best universities. IAS officers should not compare themselves with other professions in the private sector. They are after all paid for by the common man. Why should they occupy the costliest bungalows in Delhi, flaunt the lal-batti status symbol, and have scores of personal staff? are they really serving the nation? I am very skeptical.

Anonymous said...

Well I am a common man and no IAS. My outburst is because why are skilled jobs paid so low in India. I am not talking about the creamy 10% (may be even lesser) that get the high wages but why not the rest too. Earning $50,000 in US is not a big task for a common man whereas in India to earn 1 lakh a month is a huge task even better a lifetime target for a common man in India. Everything inflates but not salaries. In developed countries everyone has access so many basic things. In India its always mud and muck. Real shame to be born here.

Anonymous said...

I was not talking about you - I was talking about the gentleman (or lady) who posted just below "Chandramouli's" post

Anonymous said...

well if you don't pay for administrators then how can you fix this country! poor salaries lead to poor standards of administration!

Anonymous said...

The point is do these Officers/netas not trust the medical facilities that they proclaim is so good that we even have medical tourism in this country.Instead of upgrading the facilities for everybody in this country they want to enjoy exclusivity for themselves and their family.very unfair.They choose the IAS, IPS fullly knowing all the perks involved not as some social service.No need to go on increasing it while the large mejority of indians are suffering.

Anonymous said...

You guys forgot talking about Indian Forest services

Anonymous said...

To MR.Chandramouli .. Your comment show ur lack of knowledge on Civil services.. An IAS/IPS/IFS officer after passing through the civil services exams are subject to 46 week training which earns them a degree called "Masters of Administration"(which u r not aware of), which is the spelisation or whatever u talked about.. after that they undergo field training as probationers for two years before they get their postings as SDM/DSP/DFO/.. Stop posting absurd and stupid comments without knowing the facts..

Vijay verma said...

Now this is the era of specialization. For example health secretary should be selected from the officers of indian medical services selected by UPSC and possessing doctorate in medical science and masters in medical administation. For example the director of AIIMS or PGI who holds the ranks equivalent to secretary GOI can better formulate health policies than an IAS officer who have no idea of medicine. The heads of departments should be chosen from the top level experts from that particular field with ample administrative experience. So far as perks are concerned, they must be provided as per necessity.