Friday, February 10, 2017

7th Pay Commission: Is Modi government deliberately delaying higher allowances?

New Delhi, Feb, 9 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi led government has been delaying the implementation of higher allowances under the 7th Pay Commission since July last year. After the Cabinet approved the 7th Pay Commission, the government started paying higher basic pay with arrears, effective from January 1, 2016 to its employees. The 7th Pay Commission had recommended abolition of 51 allowances and subsuming 37 others out of 196 allowances, which triggered resentment among central government employees. The issue of higher allowance has been waiting government’s approval since seven months. Central government employees are also seeking arrears on allowances from January 2016.

First citing the cash shortage following demonetisation of old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes and then Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Manipur, the Modi-government has been delaying the implementation of higher allowances under the 7th Pay Commission. Even through the ‘Committee on Allowances’, headed by Ashok Lavasa, is ready with its report on higher allowances, but the government gave extension the committee till February 22, 2017 to submit its report.

The constant delay in the implementation of higher allowances under the 7th Pay Commission raises question; is the Modi government deliberately delaying the higher allowances? First, the government gave excuse of cash shortage due to note ban in delaying higher allowances. Central government employees were hoping that the government would make announcement announcement on higher allowances as proposed by the 7th Pay Commission, but the government put it on hold on the pretext of the model code of conduct imposed in poll-bound states.

The question is when the implementation of the higher allowance under the 7th Pay Commission would have a pan-India effect and not necessarily be seen as luring voters of the five poll-bound states, why the Modi-government is keeping the issue on hold. The Election Commission of India, in its order, directed the government that the budget cannot have promises that are aimed at the five poll-bound states. But the issue of higher allowance is not just related to poll-bound states.

The government’s attitude indicates it wants to money to pay higher allowances without arrears from August 16. “The government want to keep in abeyance to issue higher allowances notification as government wishes to give the higher allowances without arrears from August,” sources in Finance Ministry said last month. National Joint Council of Action (NJCA) convenor Shiv Gopal Mishra said that a protest would be launched from April 1 if arrears are not provided on hiked allowances.

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