Air India forms committee to implement Dharmadhikari report

June 21st, 2012 - 8:50 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 21 (IANS) In the first major move to resolve the human resources issues dogging Air India, a committee of top officials of the airline met here Thursday to find ways to implement the Dharmadhikari Committee recommendations.

Air India Tuesday had formed the committee.

“The committee comprising four airline officials was notified Tuesday. It met for the first time today (Thursday),” a senior Air India official told IANS.

According to the official, the committee on “implementation and anomaly rectification” is led by Nasir Ali, a director in the civil aviation ministry and also officer on special duty to Air India. The three other members are director-level officials with the airline.

In another major development, the civil aviation ministry published the Dharmadhikari committee report on its website. The contents were so keenly guarded by the ministry that few recommendations were unveiled on June 1, 2012.

“We found it a challenging task as even after more than four years, the merger was mostly on paper in so far as the integration of manpower was concerned. We could realise a deep sense of frustration and mistrust amongst the employees of two merged entities,” Justice Dharmadhikari wrote about the Air India and Indian Airlines merger in the preface of the report.

“The committee has also considered it necessary to recommend that in order to remain in the competitive field, Air India will have to be in line with the international, national aviation industry benchmarks.”

The government had unveiled June 1 the Dharmadhikari Committee report that was set up to address the contentious HR issues in the merged entity.

Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh that time had promised employees of the Air India and erstwhile Indian Airlines of parity in pay scales and working hours, saying “this (employees’ integration) is necessary if merger (in Air India) has to succeed, if Air India has to survive”.

The process, he said, would start in 45 days.

Although Air India and Indian Airlines were merged five years ago, there was hardly any integration of the two airlines’ cadres.

The recommendations of the committees report are deemed so high priority by the ministry that even promotions were frozen in 2011 following constitution of the Dharmadhikari Committee.

The Dharmadhikari Committee has recommended the constitution of departmental promotion committees (DPCs) to ensure that this is done in a fair and comprehensive manner.

Each DPC will have a fair representation from Air India and Indian Airlines and would also include an outside expert. The DPCs will have 45 days to consult the employees and recommend the procedure through which seniority of rank will be maintained.

“They (committees) will consult all the unions, will take opinion of employees and then look at the best suited procedure for promotions,” Singh had told IANS.

“We have been upfront in examining the suggestions of Dharmadhikari committee and now we have finally put it in front of the employees.”

Singh said that April 1, 2007 “has been set as cut off date for new pay scales. For the purpose of implementing new pay scales … there will be uniform pay scale for all employees of the erstwhile Air India and Indian Airlines”.

The Dharmadhikari report says the pay scale should be as per DPE (department of public enterprises) norms for the executive cadre and as per industry norms for the non-executive cadre which includes pilots, cabin crews and engineers.

The committee has also recommended profit-related pay as per DPE guidelines which will be linked to the profit earned by the company and the achievement of various targets.

According to a senior Air India official, another spin-off from the committee’s proposals, apart from a better HR environment in the airline, will be a pay saving of Rs.250 crore per annum.

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