7th Pay Commission: Challenging year for Central Government Employees
The central government employees passed a challenging year for a number of factors including hike in pay, minimum pay hike, raising of fitment factor, pay anomalies and non-payment of arrears on allowances, employees unions said.
The delayed implementation of allowances have saved the government nearly Rs 40,000 crore. The non-payment of arrears on allowances caused tremendous irritation and frustration among the central government employees, said a unions leader.
The government gave higher basic pay in August 2016 with arrears, effective from January 1, 2016 to its employees on the recommendations of the 7th pay commission but the allowances notified on June 6 without arrears, which came into effect from July 1, 2017.
The recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission got the Cabinet nod on June 29, 2016 in respect of basic pay, the pay panel had recommended a 14.27 per cent hike in basic pay. The previous 6th Pay Commission had recommended a 20 per cent hike, which the government doubled while implementing it in 2008.
All pay commissions made up pay gap in respect of basic pay between lower paid employees and top bureaucrats from second Pay Commission 1:41 ratio to Sixth pay commission 1:12, while 7th Pay Commission made it higher about to 1:14.
The 7th pay panel recommended minimum pay from Rs 7,000 to Rs 18,000 per month while the maximum pay from Rs 80,000 to Rs 2.5 lakh with a fitment factor of 2.57 times uniformly of basic pay of 6th pay commission.
However, the Unions have been demanding minimum pay Rs 26,000 instead of Rs 18,000 with 3.68 fitment factor.
The unions had claimed that the recommended pay hike was the lowest in the last 70 years and the Pay Commission award was not discussed with them, hence they had threatened to go on an indefinite strike over proper pay hike on July 11, 2016.
The unions had called off their indefinite strike after the government announced that a High Level Committee would be formed to address their demands.
So, the government formed the 22-member National Anomaly Committee (NAC) headed by Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) in September, 2016 instead of High Level Committee to look into pay anomalies arising out of the implementation of the 7th Pay Commission’s recommendations.
In the meantime, DoPT issued a letter on October 30 stating that the demand for increase in minimum Pay and fitment formula do not appear to be treated as anomaly, therefore, these do not come under the purview of NAC.
However, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said in Rajya Sabha on July 19, 2016, The minimum pay Rs 18,000 was made on recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission. But government will consider hiking it after discussions with all stakeholders, once the proposal in this regard will be submitted to government.
The sources in DoPT said, “The NAC is ready with it’s interim report and which will be submitted soon but no minimum pay and fitment formula will be included in the interim report.”
“I would be lying if I said the DoPT letter doesn’t bother me at all, but the truth is, it doesn’t bother me much because of the way of government made decisions. A hike in minimum pay has been one of the long-standing our demands. The 14.27 per cent hike in basic pay for us under the 7th Pay Commission is the lowest in 70 years. The government had issued statement on July 6, 2016 to assure us that the pay scales matter raised by us would be considered,” a top union leader said.
“Our unions members often ask us what we should do to respond to the DoPT letter,” he said.
“If government doesn’t hike our pay, we will have no choice but to proceed on an indefinite strike,” he added.
He considers 2017 a challenging year for central government employees and many of those challenges won’t be going away just because 2018 calendars are hanging. He also says he’s confident the government will make the right decisions during the next year.