'6th Pay Commission anomalies affect railways'

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New Delhi, Apr 11: Pointing out that the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations would trigger widespread unrest among lower grade government employees, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad today sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's intervention to remove the anomalies and offer a better deal to them.

Mr Prasad, who raised the issue at today's cabinet meeting, said the Pay Commission's recommendations were heavily loaded in favour of top bureaucracy while lower grade government employees in all segments, including defence and paramilitary forces, railways and police, had been given a raw deal. The Railway Minister, president of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) which is an important constituent of the four-year-old UPA coalition government at the Centre, said the recommendations should be thoroughly discussed by the 12-member Empowered Committee, headed by the Cabinet Secretary, before these were implemented.

''The Prime Minister assured that he would look into the matter and take corrective measures,'' Mr Prasad told reporters. After the implementation of the Fifth Central Pay Commission, the differences between the lowest and highest grade of government employees was ten times. ''The Sixth Pay Commission has increased this difference to 12 times,'' he said, adding that it would generate massive discontentment among the employees.

Mr Prasad said the ''discrepancies and anomalies'' in the Pay Commission recommendations had affected a sizeable workforce of the Railways also. ''It is amazing that the Pay Commission did not even consider the massive turnaround of the Railways during the last four years.

Instead, its recommendations for the railway employees are based on the report of the Rakesh Mohan Committee of 2001, when the railways was having a precarious financial condition,'' he pointed out. The minister said various unions of railway employees had been threatening to go on a strike in protest against the recommendations.

''The distortions need to be corrected before the Pay Commission's recommendations are implememnted,'' he said. Mr Prasad also said prices of foodgrains and essential commodities had skyrocketed barely days after the recommendations of the Pay Commission. ''The two issues appear to be interlinked and the role of BJP-backed traders must be investigated,'' he demanded.

He said the Centre had instructed states to strictly enforce Essential Commodities Act but only five of them had so complied with it. ''The Centre will have to be firm with the errant states,'' he added.

UNI

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