A list of 17 players was finalised by the board in consultation with captain Sourav Ganguly and coach John Wright, of which just seven were included in the top tier.
Batsmen Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Venkatsai Laxman and Virender Sehwag were included in Grade A along with spinners Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh. However no pace bowlers were selected for the top level, with five top seamers including Zaheer Khan and Irfan Pathan all placed in Grade B.
"We have a provision of taking up to 20 players on our annual contracts system but have finalised a list of only 17 though more players may be given contracts at a later point of time," announced cricket chief Jagmohan Dalmiya.
"The players will be expected to sign the contracts after the working committee approves it next week," he said. This is the first time the Indian board has announced contracts for players and took almost four years to take final shape.
Under the new system, Grade A players will get five million rupees (108,695 US dollars), Grade B players will receive 3.5 million rupees and Grade C two million rupees. The cricketers will continue to get match fees apart from their annual salaries and non-playing members of the squad would get 50 per cent of the match-fee.
The match fees have been set at 200,000 rupees for Tests and 1,60,000 for one-dayers at home. The fee for away matches will be 240,000 rupees for Tests and 185,000 for one-dayers.
The list: Grade A: Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Venkatsai Laxman, Virender Sehwag, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh.
Grade B: Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif, Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan, Ajit Agarkar, Ashish Nehra, Laxmipathy Balaji.
Grade C: Parthiv Patel, Aakash Chopra, Murali Kartik.