The government would appoint the IX Pay Revision Commission during the current financial year, Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac has said. Speaking on the occasion of the launching of the work on the Modern Rice Mill being constructed by the Oil Palm India Ltd., (OPIL) at Vechoor near here, Dr. Isaac said the recommendations of the IX Pay Revision Commission would be implemented during the 2010-11 financial year.
“The LDF government is committed to the welfare of the State government employees and want to stick to the norm of pay revision every five years. The former UDF government which was expected to revise the pay in 2002, could do it only in 2006. However, the LDF government has decided to stick to the norms and implement the recommendations of the proposed Pay Revision Commission in 2011 itself,” he said.
The Finance Minister said the Chief Minister has convened a meeting to discuss the constitution of the Commission on December 11th. “The government do not believe in setting the terms of reference unilaterally. We will discuss the matter with the representatives of the government employees and finalise the terms of reference,” he added.
Squarely putting the responsibility for the current price rise on the Central government, the Finance Minister said the State was facing the consequence of doing away with statutory rationing and added that time has come for all to rise up for the restoration of statutory rationing system in the State.
Statutory rationing was introduced in Kerala on account of the fact that it was a food deficit State. “Kerala can meet only 15 per cent of its food needs on account of the peculiar situation existing in the agriculture sector,” he said.
“However, first the Central government authorities created distinction between the Below Poverty Line (BPL) and Above Poverty Line (APL) categories and later forced the APL out of the public distribution system, bringing the number of ration card holders from 70 lakh to 10 lakh. Following this, they cut down on the food availability to the State,” Dr Isaac said.
“The India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement has created a situation where the price of all commodities we sell, have come down while the price of commodities we buy, have sky rocketed,” he added.
He said that if the Central authorities were ready to provide rice to the State at Rs.8.50 per kg, the State government was ready to provide rice at the rate of Rs.2 per kg to all daily wage earners.
According to him, the singular achievement of the LDF government was that it was the one administration which could reverse the negative trend in paddy cultivation during the past many decades, both in terms of area under cultivation and in quantity produced. This has created a situation where the State needed more modern rice mills to strengthen the public distribution system and fine tune the process, he said.
Mullakara Ratnakaran, Minister for Agriculture, V.B. Binu, Chairman OPIL, Mons Joseph, MLA, K. Ajith, MLA and others spoke on the occasion.