P’yat secretaries demand upgraded pay scale


 Stating that they play an important role in upholding the Panchayati Raj Act and perform numerous functions in a panchayat set-up, several panchayat secretaries have dashed off individual representations to the government demanding an upgraded pay scale.

One of the secretaries, on condition of anonymity, informed Herald that according to the Vth Pay recommendation, the pay scale of a secretary was fixed as Rs 3200-85-4500.

“This is almost akin to the pay scale of a panchayat clerk, which stands at 3050-75-3950-80-4500, which does not do justice to the nature of duties a secretary performs,” said the secretary.

The representation cites the role a panchayat secretary in the smooth functioning of the panchayat, besides acting as a cashier and custodian of panchayat funds and an accountant to maintain day-to-day income expenditure records of panchayat.

The representation further reads that the secretary also acts as an engineer whenever cases of illegal construction crops up and it is his duty to carry out measurement, draw sketch, write panchanama and prepare a report as engineer.

Further, it cites that the secretary is the custodian of panchayat records and is responsible for its safe custody and proper maintenance which is akin to the records maintenance work done by a Superintendent.

“The secretary acts as Registrar of Births & Deaths at the panchayat level as he is duty bound to register births and deaths within 21 days,” adds the representation, while also stating that a secretary functions as the nodal officer of a village in case of natural calamity.

The representation then goes on to highlight the important role played by a secretary in the implementation of the RTI Act as he functions as a Public Information Officer, while also acting as controlling officer of panchayat staff as he allocates work to staff, maintains their service records and also looks after their salary payment.

Citing that a secretary acts as official representative of panchayat in cases of legal matters, the representation states that a secretary is also designated as enumerator or supervisor in various census operations undertaken by the state and central government such as MNIC, NPR census, agriculture census, minor irrigation census, total sanitation campaign, etc.

Citing various other important roles, the representation states that panchayat secretary acts as crucial link for the government to carry out welfare measures, which has only increased the workload of the secretary.

Keeping in mind the multiple roles played by the secretary, the representation prays that the government should upgrade the pay scale of a panchayat secretary from Rs 3200-85-4500 to Rs 5500-175-900 (as per Vth Pay) which is equivalent to 9300-34800 (as per VIth Pay).

“The financial burden on the government would have been huge had it to appoint dedicated staff such as accountant, cashier, Superintendent, as recommended by a government appointed committee on Panchayat Raj,” the representation adds and concludes that since all these roles are handled by a secretary, there would be not much burden on the government exchequer. [H]