The aim is to improve governance, increase efficiency, transparency and accountability

Six weeks or so from now, civil servants in Central ministries and departments that signed on to the Results Framework Document (RFD), initiated by the Cabinet Secretariat, will, for the first time, begin receiving performance-related incentives, government sources indicated. These annual performance-related incentives will, of course, depend on whether the concerned civil servants have scored well over 70 per cent in the evaluation scheme, and there could be as much as 40 per cent increase of the basic pay for the top scorers, it is learnt. However, the payments will not require any additional financial allocations as they will come out of the savings made by the ministry or department itself.

When the scheme starts rolling later this year, it will be 22 years after the Fourth Pay Commission first made such a promise. The reason why it was not possible to implement this before, government sources said, was because there was no way to measure performance before the RFD scheme was designed. The RFD initially met with a great deal of resistance from the civil service as it would entail listing goals, then working towards achieving them and at the end of the year quantifying how those goals had been achieved through a weighted system evolved by the ministry or department concerned. Finally, the secretary of that department will have to justify the evaluation before a panel of experts before it is finalised.

Interestingly, when the government launches the scheme in the coming financial year, officials of some key ministries will be excluded from the possible benefits, because they have not as yet signed on to the RFD. These include the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministries of Finance, Home, Defence and External Affairs, among others. Government sources said they hoped that once the incentives began to be paid, these ministries and departments too would sign up.

The RFD's objective is to improve governance, increase efficiency, transparency and accountability — especially the last two, given the spate of financial scandals in the government recently — and the Performance Management Division of the Cabinet Secretariat will write to all ministries and departments to list three potential areas of corruption in the schemes they implement or areas they work in, as well as identify the discretionary powers that are enjoyed by the Minister or secretary concerned.