In an apparent move to prop up its prospects in the forthcoming assembly polls, the Vasundhara Raje government on Thursday played its trump card: it obliged over 7.3 lakh state employees by announcing a pay hike of 30 to 50%, which is even higher than what the Centre announced for its staff.
The hike will have retrospective effect from September 1, 2006. Besides state employees, three lakh pensioners in the state will receive the new pay package from the same period. However, the hike will not be applicable to employees of boards and corporations.
Under the new pay scale, the minimum basic pay has been increased from Rs 2,550 to Rs 4,750 compared with Rs 4,440 being given by the Centre. The maximum basic salary has gone up from Rs 26,000 to Rs 67,000.
The decisions were taken at a Cabinet meeting on Thursday. Announcing the new scales, parliamentary affairs minister Rajendra Singh Rathore harped on how promptly the Raje government had acted. “The central government had got the recommendations (of the Sixth Pay Commission) on March 24 but it took almost five months for them to announce the implementation. We have got it implemented in two weeks’ time after the Centre’s announcement.”
The new pay structure will cost the government an additional Rs 4,920 crore a year. The government will have to shell out Rs 5,764 crore to pay the arrears alone. “The decision will put an additional burden of Rs 5,844 crore on the state for the remaining six months of this finan-cial year while annual additional expenditure is pegged at Rs 7,320 crore from next year (to factor in the arrears payment).
“The state government has decided that the arrears from January to December for the year 2007 will be paid in cash this year itself while the arrears form January 1, 2008 to August 31, 2008 will be paid in the next financial year. The state has also decided to pay these arrears in cash,” said Rathore. Even pensioners will be given 50% of the arrears in cash this year.
Principal secretary (finance) Subhash Garg agreed that it would put extra financial pressure: “This year we will be able to manage, but from next year we really have to find a way out.” The first instalment of arrears will be paid by October.
An upgradation and grievances redressal committee has been formed by the state to settle any anomalies. The committee consisting of senior officials will submit its report within four months.
Soon after the announcement,a group of employees welcomed the decision. However, Yash Pratap Singh, president, All India State Employees Association (United), said they were demanding the revised pay with effect from January 2006.