The 7th Pay Commission has brought about frustration and less joy among Central Government employees. 48 lakh CG employees who have been waiting for a hike in basic minimum pay have been thrown out of gear thanks to fresh confusion.
The Deputy Secretary of the Government has stated that pay scale issue is not considered an anomaly. This means all CG employees are now in the dark about the hike in basic minimum pay and none are clear if there would be good news coming in 2018.
None lived up to assurances
Assurances were given by a group of ministers including Home Minister Rajnath SIngh and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. On June 30 2016 both ministers had assured that the high level committee will increase the minimum pay and fitment formula. The assurance given to the NJCA leaders by the Group of Ministers (including Finance Minister) on 30-06-2016 is that enhancement in minimum pay and fitment factor (multiplication factor) will be considered favourably by the government, once the proposal in this regard is submitted to government by the proposed "High Level Committee" within four months. Hence, the matter will come for the "consideration" of the government only after submission of the report by the High Level Committee," Jaitley had said in the Rajya Sabha.
Pay hike unlikely
A letter written by D K Sengupta, deputy secretary to the Government of India stated that the Minimum Pay Hike and Fitment Factor doesn't appear to be an 'Anomaly'. "As against the Minimum Wage decided to be Rs 18,000/- by the Govt. w.e.f. 01.01.2016 while the Staff-Side has said that this should be not less than Rs 26,000/-and the multiplication factor ought to have been 3.714 and not 2.57. They have further asked for the pay matrix to be changed. Objecting to the methodology adopted by the 7th Pay Commission in computing the Minimum Wage, they have given a number of reasons like the retail prices of the commodities quoted by the Labour Bureau being irrational, adoption of the 12 monthly average of the retail price being contents to the Dr. Avkrovd formula, the website of the Agriculture Ministry giving the retail prices of commodities forming the basis of computation of minimum wage provides a different picture, so on and so forth. However, when one compares this item with the three situations given in DoPT's OM. No. 11/2/2016-jCA dated 16th August, 2016 and 20th February, 2017, it does not appear that this satisfies any of them to be treated as an anomaly."
Left in the lurch
The CG employees have been arguing that despite the foreword to the Report making it clear in para 1.19 that the prevailing rate of increment is considered quite satisfactory and has been retained, an illustrative list appended by them shows instances where the pay, gone up after the addition of annual increment by 3%, falls short of what it would have been. They have quoted para-5.1.38 of the report also which states that the rate of annual increment would be 3%. While what the Staff-Side has stated has its own merits, the fact of the matter is that the principle followed here is whenever a stage of pay, after addition of an increment, falls short of the nearest hundred by less than 50, the employee would be entitled to get the amount mentioned in the immediately next cell in the Pay-Matrix. However, when the gap is that of more than 50, the pay, on addition of an increment, is rounded off to the nearest hundred which travels backward. For instance, if staying at Rs 46,100/- one gets an increment @ 3%, instead of having his/her pay fixed at Rs 47,483/- (which is the exact figure), it will be Rs 47,500/- (thus gaining by Rs 13/-). Thus it is not a case of permanent loss as the loss in one year is made good in the second/third year. Considering this to be a situation of swings and roundabouts, this may not be treated as a case of anomaly.
What is hike is given
A pay hike beyond the 7th Pay Commission recommendations will benefit lakhs of CG employees. It would also benefit those holding top posts such as the President of India. The President's pay is lesser when compared to that of the Cabinet Secretary's. Under the current scenario, the remuneration of Vice-President of the country accounts to Rs 1.25 Lakh/month and the same for the Governors of different states amounts to Rs 1.10 Lakh/month which is surprisingly less in contrast to other top-bureaucratic posts like that of a Secretary in the Union Government that is Rs 2.25 Lakh/month. If the Union Cabinet approves the pay hike then the salaries of the President and Vice-President will increase manifold to Rs 5 Lakh/month, Rs 3.5 Lakh/month and Rs 3 Lakh/month respectively.