The Cabinet decision on pay revision for government employees and pensioners makes a break from past practice, with the highlight being the special attention on employees in lower categories and the setting up of a six-member official committee to examine the second part of the Pay Commission’s report on efficiency, incentives, and medical insurance, to name a few.
The high-level official committee will be headed by the Chief Secretary. It would have the Additional Chief Secretary (Finance), Additional Chief Secretary (Home), and Secretaries of the Departments of Personnel and Administrative Reforms and General Administration as members. The Secretary (Finance Expenditure) will be the convener. The committee will examine the second part of the report that deals with efficiency, besides some of the recommendations in the first part related to pay scales.
The Cabinet also made a break from the past in the matter of handling pay arrears of employees by deciding not to merge it with the Provident Fund (PF) of the employees. Instead, this would be paid in half-yearly instalments from April 1, 2017. The arrear amounts would carry the same interest rate as that of the PF.
The practice of merging the arrears to the PF account used to lead to a delay of at least four to five years for the employees to enjoy its benefits. As per the new decision, the employees would get the arrears in cash within two-and-a-half years.
Daily wage earners, along with causal sweepers also have got a better deal. Under the revision formula, the daily wages would be calculated with the minimum government scale as the reference point. The minimum scale would be divided by 25 working days to arrive at the eligible rates.
This would work out to about Rs.650. Employees who undergo organ transplant will be eligible for an additional 90-day special leave.
The government has decided to end the practice of special pay, as per the recommendations of the commission, but doctors of the Health Department will continue to be eligible for it. Another major decision is to revise the pay and pension of university employees on a par with government employees. The government will set up an anomaly cell to handle complaints about pay revision.
The Cabinet has revised the commission’s calculation of Rs.5, 277 crore as the total annual financial burden for implementing the pay package.
Going by previous experiences, it is reckoned that the burden could touch Rs.10,767 crore, but the Finance Department’s scrutiny of the recommendations found that the actual burden will be Rs.8,122 crore if the commission’s recommendations were to be implemented in toto. With the Cabinet deciding to tinker with some of the commission’s recommendations, the burden has been brought down by Rs.900 crore to Rs.7,222 crore.
If the optimism of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who holds the Finance Portfolio, holds true, the government will be able to absorb the higher burden, for which sufficient budgetary allocation will be made.
As per the new decision, employees will get arrears
in cash within