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Pay panel, tax relief “loving gift” of UPA Govt.: Maken

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Union Minister of State for Urban Development Ajay Maken
Union Minister of State for Urban Development Ajay Maken

Sujay Mehdudia

“Relief given to cross-sections of employees without any bias”

NEW DELHI: The Union Minister of State for Urban Development, Ajay Maken, said on Wednesday that the favourable recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission and the rationalisation of income tax slabs in the Union Budget earlier were to a “loving gift” to lakhs of employees from the United Progressive Alliance Government at the Centre.

Addressing a press conference, Mr. Maken said that during his election campaign for the Lok Sabha in 2004 he had promised that he would work for constitution of the Sixth Pay Commission and also providing relief in the shape of higher income tax exemption limit. “I thank Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi for fulfilling this promise and giving relief to lakhs of employees in Delhi and all over the country. It is for the first time that a Pay Commission has submitted its report within 18 months of its being constituted. The UPA Government has given relief to cross-sections without any bias,” he remarked.

Stating that the previous NDA Government had deliberately delayed constitution of the Pay Commission way back in 2003, Mr. Maken said now the employees stood to substantially gain from the innovative recommendations of the Pay Commission.

Interestingly, he said, the employees had got another bonus in the shape of a reduction in the number of salary grades from 35 to 20. This would go a long way in attracting young and sharp brains to take up government jobs and bring some kind of parity with private sector salaries, he added.

Mr. Maken said some of the far-reaching recommendation of the Pay Commission included the one about 180 days of maternity leave for women employees, risk allowance to be replaced by risk insurance, raising of gratuity limit from Rs.3.5 lakh to Rs.10 lakh, a liberal package for employees leaving service between 15 to 20 years of service and all fixed allowances to be made inflation-proof.

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