7th Pay Commission: An apple of discord

New Delhi: The 7th Pay Commission recommendations have been approved, apparently to stimulate the motivation of central government employees and reduce corruption from office, while anticipating that the generous pay package would enhance the bureaucrats’ performance and ensure efficient service to the citizens.

But out of the blue, this optimistic 7th Pay Commission recommendation has become an apple of discord where a large portion of beneficiaries have been aggrieved, rather than jubilant, particularly, the National Joint Council Action (NJCA), a confederation of 3.3 million central government employees.

The buzzing question is why the maximum central government employees are aggrieved and the bureaucrats smiling? What are the basic differences between the old and new pay commissions?

The NJCA thinks the 7th Pay Commission recommendation is nothing but discrimination against lower grade employees and humiliation for the laborious and grass root employees. Indeed, the protests are adding fuel to the fire due to the increasing 14.27 per cent in basic pay for central government employees, the lowest in 70 years and increasing minimum pay Rs 18,000 from existing Rs 7,000.

The NJCA is demanding minimum pay Rs. 26,000 instead of Rs 18,000 with 3.68 fitment factor, while cabinet approved fitment factor 2.57.

The previous Sixth Pay Commission had recommended a 20 per cent hike in basic pay which the government doubled while implementing it in 2008. Unfortunately, the central government is going to start payment of 7th Pay Commission recommendations salaries to its 4.7 million employees from August salary without new allowances.

All existing allowances to be paid as per the existing rates in existing pay structure, as government referred all allowances including HRA, transport allowance to a committee headed by Finance Secretary for examination of the 7th Pay Commission recommendations on its. The committee shall submit its report within four months.

The Cabinet approved the highest basic salary at Rs 250,000 and the lowest at Rs 18,000 on the recommendations of 7th Pay Commission and its increased the pay gap between the minimum and maximum from existing 1:12 to 1:13.8.

All pay commissions made up pay gap between lower paid employees and top officers from second Pay Commission 1:41 ratio to Sixth pay commission 1:12.

The first pay commission was recommended pay of the top bureaucrats 41 times higher than the government employees at the bottom. The top bureaucrats were given salary Rs 2,263 while the lowest earning employees got Rs 55.

Subsequent pay commissions reduced the ratio of pay between lowest earning employees and top bureaucrats from 1:41 in 1947 to about 1:12 in 2006..

The pay gap increases employee’s turnover and work-related illness, with all the associated economic consequences.

The bureaucrats with high pay are generally happier, healthier and a better place to live for almost everyone in them compare to the lower earning employees.

On the other hand, lower earning employees often stay busy with their work and have weak authority, and would not be of any threat to the government.

However, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley assured unions leaders of central government employees that their demand of hike in minimum pay would be looked into and a High Level Committee will be set up shortly in this regard.

TST

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