7th Pay Commission: Expect Higher Allowances Post State Assembly Polls
On Wednesday, the Election Commission of India announced the dates for the state assembly elections for five states. The Model Code of Conduct or the MCC came into effect on the same day as well. Reports now suggest that Central Government is now looking to implement the recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission Panel only after the elections are over, in keeping with the MCC. The pay commission had earlier recommended that the allowances of the central government employees be increased. This development comes in the face of widespread criticism from nearly all opposition parties after the government decided to present the Union Budget on February 1, days before the polls are to start.
The Sen Times reports that the announcement of the implementation of the 7th Pay Commission will likely be in March after the results of the polls are made public. Punjab, UP, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand go to polls that will begin on February 11 and ends on March 8. The results are to be declared on March 11. The Election Commission of India has already stated that it will closely monitor all candidates’ expenses and will ensure that black money is not spent to fight elections. The decision to implement the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission will come in March after eight to nine months of getting the basic pay hike to all central government employees. There are reports, however, that the government has no plans to pay allowances in arrears from August 2016 for all central government employees.
Justice A K Mathur, Chairman of the 7th Pay Commission had presented its report to the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in November 2015. The recommendations were a 14.27% increase in basic pay while the overall hike in salary, allowances and pensions would be 23.55%. The increase in allowances will be hiked by 63% while pensions are set to rise by a substantial 24%. As far as the polls are concerned, besides UP, the other four states will also witness the counting of votes on the same date, March 11. Punjab goes to the polls in one single phase on February 4 for 117 seats. Uttarakhand polls on February 15 for 70 seats. Goa polls on February 4 for a total of 40 seats. Manipur, which has seen curfews and violence in the last few months, will witness two phases of polling on the 4th and the 8th of March for its 60 seats, as reported here.
The central government has decided to present the Union Budget on the 1st of February. This has resulted in stinging criticism from the opposition parties, who claim that the budget will be used to ‘woo’ voters by giving them extra sops and other benefits. The demonetisation drive has deposited a lot of money with the government and may be used to alleviate poverty as well as implementing various schemes. The government has vigorously and vocally refuted these allegations.