Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Cabinet likely to clear Pay Panel report, PM may declare on I-Day

Express News Service
Posted online: Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 0120 hrs
New Delhi, August 12: The Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) is working overtime to ensure that the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission are deliberated and approved by the Cabinet on Thursday so that the Prime Minister could announce it on Independence Day. Sources said that DoPT officials were readying the note for the Cabinet which would retain the Commission’s recommendation of an average 25 per cent increase in the basic pay of the Central government employees, including the armed forces.
However, there would be minor changes from the panel’s advisory with the proposal to introduce the raise from January 2007, as is being pushed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, instead of January 2006 suggested by the panel.
The wage hike would be available in hard currency from April 2008 with past dues—or arrears—parked in the general Provident Fund to be provided as pension after retirement.
The aim of this exercise is to limit the outgo this year to Rs 12,500 crore, or else Chidambaram would have to shell out Rs 30,000 crore in one go, said sources.
The proposal would also incorporate the wish of the armed forces to improve the emoluments for jawans posted at frontiers by doubling the military special pay to Rs 2,000 per month.
The Indian Police Service and Indian Forest Service would get relief with the abolition of the Deputy Inspector General scale as this position was getting to become a resting place for them thereby delaying their promotion.
There is no mention of the retirement age being raised to 62 years from current 60 years as has been frequently reported in the media, said sources.
The ball was set rolling last Thursday when the Principal Secretary to the PM, TKA Nair, was shown a presentation on the Committee of Secretaries’ approvals on Pay Commission recommendations.
The timing matches with the likely monsoon session of Parliament in September when the Finance Ministry would have to move for a supplementary demand for grant to fund the wage bill.
Defence Minister A K Antony is meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday to take a final decision on the pay hike revision for the armed forces. The meeting, which will also be attended by the Finance Minister, will take a final call on salaries for the armed forces who have expressed their dissatisfaction with the Sixth Pay Commission Report.
Sources said while the main change would be doubling of the Military Service Pay (MSP) for soldiers to Rs 2,000 per month, the pay structure of officers will not be changed much. However, allowances for Lt Gen rank officers posted at Service Headquarters are expected to be increased and brought at par with Commander in Chiefs posted across the country.
Ministry sources said that Antony would also be pitching for an increase in pay over and above the recommendations of the Committee of Secretaries before the PM. The minister is expected to push for an MSP of Rs 3,000 for soldiers due to the hardships faced by them.





Arrears should be paid from january 2006 in cash only.