By Suresh Unnithan
Silent corruption mostly goes undetected by the larger system and the corrupt emerge powerful. The Prasar Bharati has been a victim of silent corruption, progressing under the pretext of Modified Assured Career Progression (MACP) Scheme introduced by the 6th Pay Commission. MACP Scheme is the modified version of Assured Career Progression (ACP) Scheme which was recommended by the 5th Pay Commission and existed till 2009.
As per the Department of Personnel & Training (DOPT) directions the MACP( Modified Assured Career Progression) Scheme was exclusively designed for Central Government employees who. As per the provisions of the scheme the financial benefits under MACP, the “up gradation” can only be extended to the Central Government civilian employees.
The DoPT OM No. 35034/3/2008-Esst.(D), dated 19.05.2009 stated that “the MACP is directly applicable only to Central Government Civilian employees. It will not get automatically extended to employees of Central Autonomous/Statutory Bodies under the administrative control of a Ministry/Department. Keepin in view the financial implications involved, a conscious decision in this regard shall have to be taken by the respective Government Body/Board of Directors and the administrative Ministry concerned and where it is proposed to adopt the MACPS, prior concurrence of Ministry of Finance shall be obtained.”
In fact, the financial benefit under MACP was for the “Central Government employees, in lieu of promotion facing stagnation” said a senior bureaucrat in Government of India. But ignoring the directions from the Government a section of ineligible employees was awarded hefty financial benefits under MACP. This was nothing short of a silent loot of the public exchequer, for the Prasar Bharati draws fiscal resources for its entire expense from the Consolidated Fund of India.
As mentioned above, “financial benefit under MACP scheme is only for the Central Government Employees, who are facing stagnation without promotion. It means those who got promotion as per the recruitment rules, in the cadre hierarchy, will not be eligible for financial up gradation under MACP Scheme” explains a senior official of from the Prasar Bharati.
The official further elaborated that “those who got first promotion in cadre hierarchy within the first 10 years of service are not entitled for the first financial benefit under MACP Scheme. Those who got second promotion in the next 10 years(i.e.20 years in total) will not get 2nd financial benefit under MACP Scheme and those who got third promotion in the cadre hierarchy will not get 3rd financial up gradation (i.e. total 30 years) under MACP Scheme.”
In fact the directions from DoPT are clear that “for extending MACP Scheme to the employees of the autonomous bodies, written consent of the Ministry of Finance is mandatory.” Being an autonomous body under the Government of India, the Prasar Bharati has to follow the directions of DoPT in the implementation/adoption of MACP Scheme. But the public broadcaster disregarded the directions of the Government and implemented the Scheme at will. This deliberate manipulation from certain high ranking officials of the Prasar Bharati has cost the national exchequer approximately Rs 16,800 crore, till this year and the draining of public money is still continuing unabated.
“While implementing the MACP Scheme, the Prasar Bharati being an autonomous body, had to obtained prior approval of the Ministry of Finance. But it did not. The Administrative Ministry- Ministry of I&B also did not give any approval” confirms an insider.
“The MACP Scheme has been intentionally manipulated by a team of clever brains within the organization to benefit their buddies. Those who got promotions as per recruitment rules in the promotion hierarchy were gifted 1st and 2nd financial upgrades for which they are not entitled.”
Another senior official who has been with the bureaucracy for decades said “In the case of subordinate engineering cadre – Assistant Engineers, Senior Engineering Assistants, Engineering Assistants, Senior Technicians, Technicians and Helpers- the pay has been granted in a higher pay scale more than their entitlement under regular promotion in the cadre hierarchy. This has jeopardised the government’s MACP Scheme and in effect inflicted heavy loss to the national exchequer.”
The documents available with PNI News explains that the MACP Scheme has been grossly manipulated and erroneously implemented within in the Prasar Bharati in the case of 11 categories of employees who are the beneficiaries of the higher pay scaled granted by the administrative Ministry vide its OM No. 310/173/97. B(D), dated 25.02.1999. And the national exchequer is still bleeding, thanks to extraordinary benevolence of some high ranking officials of the public broadcaster. The officials supporting and promoting this silent loot of public money are sitting pretty, enjoying pay and perks in plenty.