BRIEF HISTORY OF MES
Public Works Department was originally created under Army. In 1881, its Military works Branch was segregated leading to creation of Military works Services in 1889. The Army in India Committee in 1921 placed Military Works of Indian Army under QMG.
Subsequently in1923, post of Engineer in Chief was created and The Miners and Engineers, which were earlier under Chief of General Staff, were placed under E-in-C. On 04 Dec 1923 Military Works Department was redesigned as Military Engineer Services (MES) under a Director General of Works (DGW) who was asked to report to E-in-C instead of QMG.
It was clearly mentioned that Army officers posted to MES should be borne on MES establishment and paid on MES rates.
Thereafter, in 1959, DGW again was asked to report to QMG instead of E-in-C. Subsequently, after conflict with China in 1962 when there was large-scale expansion of MES, DGW was again asked to report to E.in.C. Thus DGW (like CPWD) who headed MES was made to report to either QMG or E-in-C at different points of time.
In 1963 a large number civilian Group A officers were recruited through UPSC. E-in-C has been only holding additional charge of MES in addition to his own duties as Head of Corps of Engineers (earlier known as Miners and Sappers). It was at this point of time that E-in-C as head of Corps of engineers started asserting himself to treat MES as an integral part Corps of Engineers.
In order to avoid conflict between Beaurocracy and Army Brass, MOD has been maintaining a safe distance in meeting the aspiration of Civilian Cadres of MES. For example, after a lot of deliberation, a direction was recently issued by MOD, with your kind approval to E-in-C to treat a SE at par with a Colonel (both are having same grade pay of Rs 8700) but the same was withdrawn after few days, as this equation was not acceptable to E-in-C.
Though MOD is well aware of ground situation, yet following are few glaring facts about MES for the information of one and all: -
(A) Quantum of works handled by MES is much higher than handled by CPWD, but a HAG+ level officer heads the later while MES is headed by a HAG level officer having additional charge in addition to his own duties as E-in-C of Indian Army. Presently, MES is having around 1.35 lac personnel out of which 93 % are civilians. There are 1600 group A and 2100 group B civilian officers against about 500 Army officers.
(B) The number of senior level posts held in MES is as under: -
Civilian Officers: HAG 3 SAG 27 (IDSE only)
Army Officers: HAG Nil SAG 4
Army Officers having additional charge: -
HAG 1 SAG 6
In spite of such a large number of senior civilian officers, the distribution of senior Appointments is as follows: -
Army 9 (Central head, 6Command heads, DGW, DG MAP)
Civilian 1 DG (Pers)
Further-more, the two HAG level civilian officers are designated as ADG (ADG D&C and ADG R&D); while the two SAG level Army officers are designated as DG (DGW & DG-MAP).
(C) In spite of DOPT instructions to the contrary, all Civilian HAG officers are being made to report to HAG Army Officer, who is mostly junior to them. Similarly, all Civilian SAG officers are required to repot to junior SAG level Army officer.
(D) Till the year 2000, MES had the dubious distinction, when for 11 years a HAG level Civilian officer was made to serve under a SAG Army officer. Even now in the absence of E-in-C, Civilian HAG Officers are being asked to report to a Maj Gen (SAG) and in the absence of Command Chief Engineer, SAG Civilian officers are made to report to a Brigadier (Principal Director).
(E) AS per MOD order of April 17,2000 all maters dealing with civilian personnel are required to be dealt by DG Pers (a civilian HAG officer) but disciplinary matters and ACRs of civilian officers have been kept under a SAG level Army officer to Keep the hold of Army officers. So much so, preliminary enquiries in matter of discipline of civilian officers are being got through Staff Court of Inquiry ordered under Army Act.
(F) MES functions under Defence Works Procedure in non-operational areas and Engineer units function under OP Works Procedure in operational areas. Thus, there is no security risk if MES is fully civilianized
Since independence there have been several studies on structure of MES without implementation of their recommendations as E-in-C found most of these against the interest of Corps of Engineers
Estimate committee of Lok Sabha under the chairmanship of Smt Sucheta Kriplani carried out the first study on MES in 1957, but its recommendation of complete civilianization was not accepted
Estimates committee of seventh Lok Sabha undertook another study in 1982 that made following important recommendation: -
(1) Senior Army officers posted to MES should have adequate experience in MES at level of AGE/GE.
(2) The committee had observed, and accepted by MOD, that there has been great frustration amongst civilian officers.
(3)The committee had proposed that MOD should have some institutional arrangement to have across the table dialogue with civilian officers.
Fifth Pay Commission
asked for detailed presentation on structure of MES from MOD, but that job was given to E-in-C. After due deliberation the following recommendations were made by the commission: -
(a) Para 33.15 and 33.16
Service personnel from MES should be withdrawn as an economy measure and also to make up deficiency of Army Units.
(b) Para 50.102 and Para 50.103
(i) Civilian HAG level officer be designated as DG and Army Maj Gen be designated as Jt DG
(ii) Head of MES should be a Civilian officer.
(c) Para 50.106
Complete Civilianization of MES be set as a long time objective as is the trend World over.
In order to nullify the recommendation of V CPC, E-in-C prevailed upon COAS who is not in the chain of command of MES, to appoint 30 members committee of Service officers in the year 2000 under GOC-in-C of Central Command.
Fortunately, MOD did not take cognizance of this one sided report but appointed, in the year 2001, a Committee under the chairmanship of Shri V.S.Jafa a retired civil servant. Here, again, one of the two members that was to be appointed by COAS was taken from Corps of Engineers and in turn the committee out sourced the drafting of its report to a retired Maj Gen of Corps of Engineers by inducting him as Chief Adviser
The committee made following recommendation to boost the morale of civilian officers
(1)The procedure for initiating preliminary inquiries for alleged irregularities should be same for Army and civilian officers and must be equable, forthright and unequivocal. MES regulation may be amended to include this provision.
(2)The proportion of higher appointments is tilted in favour of Army officers and distribution of post of Chief Engineer and above between Army and Civilian officers be made in ratio of their number
(3)The committee recommended creation of post of DG (Projects) to be manned by HAG civilian officer. Instead of accepting this recommendation, a post of DG (MAP), that is identical to a DG (Project) was created and handed over to a SAG level army officer.
(4) ACRs of civilian officers should be endorsed only at two levels in MES chain of command to avoid undue pressure from user formations. This recommendation is in line with policy of DOPT but no action has been taken, so far, to implement it because Army officers control section dealing with ACRs of civilian officers.
SIXTH PAY COMMISSION
Now, that the recommendations of VI CPC have been accepted and grade pay has been made the criteria to determine the status and seniority of an officer, the following equivalency is established in MES hierarchy: -
Grade Pay Civilian Level Army Rank
Rs12000 HAG Lt Gen Rs10000 SAG Maj Gen
Rs8900 Addl CE Brig
Rs8700 SE Col.
The issue of grade pay of a Lt Col is still under consideration. As per press reports PMO has issued a direction that it shall be Rs 8000 in PB4 when posted in combat or ready to combat position and Rs 7600 when on deputation in PB3
The fact is that ‘A Committee / MOD proposes and E-in-C disposes’
The above detail report indicate that there is an urgent requirement to check the affairs in MES before it is too late