Any job cannot be everything for everyone. There are always some compromises and trade-offs between the positives and the negatives. Therefore a better question to ask is ‘which job is suitable for me’. Just as the shoes of one size don’t fit everyone, No single job can be best for everyone. CBI didn’t work for me but that doesn’t mean that it’s a bad department to work in. In fact, to the contrary, it is among the top 3 jobs offered by SSC.
Hence, the suitability of any job is to be measured on some yardsticks. I will take them one by one and will explain the best job from the entire repertoire of SSC for that parameter.
1. Salary: Among all the jobs offered by SSC, no job (Excluding AAO) comes close to the salary offered by CBI. A sub-Inspector of CBI has a gross salary of Rs. 72,279/- per month in New Delhi. In comparison, its closest rival, Inspector of Income-tax fetches a monthly gross salary of Rs. 62,671/-. In addition, CBI personnel are paid 13 months’ salary to compensate for their occasional attendance on weekends. If you attend office for 2.5 days every month on weekends (3 days attendance effectively), it translates to 30 days in a year. This is therefore rewarded as the 13th month salary in the month of April.
2. Promotions: The department with the fastest promotions is Income Tax. It is also the only department in which the very first promotion from Inspector to ITO makes one a gazetted officer. In addition, once you are promoted to the post of Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax (ACIT), you are given the tag of IRS which is a symbol of reputation in itself. Furthermore, on your very first promotion, you are made an Income Tax Officer which is a quasi-judicial authority. An ITO is in charge of a ward. In smaller districts, an ITO wields supreme authority as he is the head of the office and oversees all the taxpayers whose declared income (technical term: Returned Income in ITR) is below Rs. 15 lakhs per annum. If a district has a population of 10 lakhs, the estimated number of taxpayers in his jurisdiction are about 40,000.
Its closest rival, CBI, has its first promotion faster than any other department. They promote a sub-Inspector to the post of an Inspector in merely 4 years which is like a jet speed in a government department. There is, however, a hidden reason behind this. A sub-Inspector is not permitted by law to investigate a case independently without the permission of the court. CBI being an overworked and understaffed department has found a way out of this quagmire by promoting its sub-Inspectors prematurely to meet the rising needs. For e.g. when Vyapam case was handed over to CBI, an entire batch of Sub-Inspectors was promoted almost overnight to the post of Inspector. This is further corroborated by the fact that there are about 880 Inspectors in CBI whereas the no. of Sub-Inspectors hovers only around 430. Furthermore, the promotion from the post of Inspector to DySP is a story of 15 long tortuous years, if you don’t qualify this direct DySP exam.
Promotions in Excise departments are the worst, like once in 20 years. In all other departments, you get about 3-4 promotions in your lifetime which is pretty common in all the jobs offered by SSC.
3. Locations and Postings: This is a precarious one. If you are a resident of a smaller city or a district, you might prefer a department which has its offices in smaller districts, like Income Tax, Central excise, and CAG. In contrast, if you are a resident of a bigger city or want to live only in metro cities, you might prefer a department which has its offices only in metro cities, like CBI.
Additionally, if you want to live your entire life in Delhi, You should opt for the post of assistant in the Central Secretariat (CSS). For coastal areas, go for the post of Inspector in Customs, examiner or preventive officer.
4. Transfers: The department with the most flexible transfer policy is the Income Tax Department. They have an extremely friendly transfer policy and they do transfers (technical term: Annual General Transfers, AGT) every year. Furthermore, they have an employees union named ITEF (Income Tax Employees Federation) which can raise your concern and get you the transfer by hook or by crook if you have a genuine reason for requesting the same.
5. Reputation and Power: No department comes close to the reputation that CBI gives its officers. The enigma of CBI and charisma of its name can only be felt in almost every aspect of life. My intelligence and my vocabulary are far too limited to even begin to appreciate the magnificence of this behemoth that is CBI.
The Income Tax Department comes closest to CBI in reputation and power. It’s an irony however that an Inspector of Income Tax has far more immediate power in his hands than a sub-inspector of CBI does. This point may not be apparent to you but it’s a fact that the Income Tax Act is a draconian law that has granted its inspectors far more authority than the powers granted to a sub-Inspector by DSPE Act. [Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) act is the fountainhead law statute from where CBI derives its origin, powers, and its constitutionality]. Having worked in both the departments, I can personally vouch for that.
6. Free Time for pursuing hobbies or to prepare for higher exams like UPSC:
If you want free time for the preparation of UPSC, the one and only post recommended for you is the Divisional accountant (DA). I have had 2 friends who left CBI to prepare for UPSC and both of them joined DA in Uttar Pradesh. Although they joined in UP, both of them came to Delhi and took coaching for the preparation of UPSC, all the while they were drawing a salary from the DA office. They say, if you can’t prepare while being in DA, you can’t prepare at all. No other department gives you so much free time for the first 2 years. Although the pay is lesser than other departments, it’s something for doing absolutely nothing.
If you are preparing for UPSC, go for DA. Don’t mind the lower salary. Every long jumper has to take a few steps back so that he can jump farther ahead. Think of this job as your runway towards higher glory.
Final verdict: Weighing all things and from my own experience, I’d say Income Tax Inspector is the best job for an average guy who is settling down in a job for life. The flexibility it provides, the promotions and moderate reputation and authority that I get, all this is suitable for me.
I have had friends who left CBI to join Asst. in CSS. I have friends who left CBI to join as DA. Some of my friends have even left the central excise department to join the Income Tax Department. But I am yet to meet someone who has left the Income Tax Department for any other job.
Think for yourself. Good luck!
Have a query? Drop a line in the comments section.