Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Pay panel package to be unveiled on I-Day

Thu, Aug 14 02:28 AM
The wait of the over-five-million Central government employees over the government's take on the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations may come to an end on August 15. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to make the final announcement on the issue from the ramparts of the Red Fort in his Independence Day speech after the Cabinet takes up the final package based on the commission's report at its meeting scheduled for Thursday.
The government has accepted most recommendations of the commission for higher pay scales, sources said. The employees are expected to get arrears effective from January 1, 2006 as recommended by the commission. However, it is likely that the dues from 2006 to December 2007 are to be credited to the employees' provident fund. The arrears due from January 2008 would be given as part of the salary. The move is expected to help the government trim expenses on account of payment of arrears, which is estimated at Rs 18,060 crore.
The demands of the defence forces to hike the military special pay along with higher pay for all ranks of defence personnel are likely to be met. The government might double the military special pay to Rs 2000 per month.
However, the government is understood to have not conceded to the demands made by the railway ministry, which had sought higher salary for certain employee grades and the elevation of office of chairman railway board to that of Cabinet secretary.
The government, however, remained silent on making 62 years the retirement age from present 60 years.
The final view on the issue was taken at a high-level meeting held at the Prime Minister's Office on Wednesday attended by the top brass of the UPA government such as the Prime Minister, the finance minister and the defence minister.
The report submitted in March, had suggested a 35% to 50% salary hike for most government employees. The proposed hike in salaries is expected to increase the government's gross wage bill by Rs 12,561 crore in 2008-09.

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