Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: In a first-of-its-kind move aimed at attracting expertise from outside the government, the Sixth Pay Commission on Monday sought to de-link regulatory bodies from the Central pay structure and recommended a marked increase in the salary of chairpersons of institutions like SEBI, TRAI and IRDA to up to Rs. 3 lakh per month.

In its report submitted to the government, the Commission headed by Justice B. N. Srikrishna suggested that apart from the chairpersons, the salaries of members of regulatory bodies such as the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) and the Competition Commission should be de-linked from government salaries.

The Commission has recommended that those appointed as members through the revised process should be paid a consolidated monthly salary of Rs. 1.50 lakh while the chairperson be paid Rs. 2 lakh a month if the total package includes a car and residential accommodation.

However, if these two are not provided, the chairperson should be paid a consolidated salary of Rs. 3 lakh per month and members Rs. 2.50 lakh.

“The proposed salary is considered adequate for attracting experts in the field, who, in the Commission’s view are not looking just at the monetary compensation but also at the prestige and the contribution which can be made by a regulator in the development of the sector and the economy as a whole,” the report said.

The Commission noted that the rates of consolidated salary should also be taken up by the government for periodical review so as to neutralise the effect of inflation.

Entailed in the higher salary package, however, is the recommendation on modifications in the process of recruitment of members on such regulatory Boards. The existing procedure, the report said, should be changed and applications should be invited through proper advertisements so as to ensure fair and transparent selection.

The process of selection, the report said, should be done by a committee on the lines of the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) for proper and detailed evaluation of the professional competence of the applicants in detail. In this regard, the Commission noted that being a stakeholder, the Secretary of the concerned ministry or department should not be a part of the selection board.

On the issue of a serving government employee being appointed as a member, the Commission noted that the official would be deemed to have retired from the post and could be granted the same package provided the selection is made through the same process.

The same recommendation has also been made for retired government employees.

Government employees could be considered for grant of the higher package provided they have not worked in the concerned sector during the preceding two years, it said.