Mumbai: Eighteen months after the Seventh Pay Commission’s (SPC) award hiked the allowances of central government employees, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is likely to propose the revised allowance structure in front of the cabinet tomorrow.
The Union Cabinet had not been able to take a decision on this matter in its last meeting on June 7. Central government employees are likely to start receiving the revised allowances under the SPC from July.
The cabinet, however, may not be keen on giving arrears on allowances, a demand that central government employees have repeatedly been voicing. According to a report in India Today, several employee unions have decided to go on protests if this demand is not met.
The SPC had recommended slashing 53 of the 196 allowances received by employees. The SPC had also suggested merging 36 smaller allowances with bigger ones. It has also suggested lowering the House Rent Allowance (HRA) rates for central government employees with respect to the type of city. For metro cities, the SPC had suggested cutting the HRA from 30 per cent to 24 per cent.
However, these recommendations were not received well by government employees. The Ashok Lavasa-led panel on allowances was constituted to look into the SPC recommendations. The panel had submitted its report on April 27 and suggested modifications in some allowances applicable universally to all employees and also to those in specific categories, like railways and defence. This report was then sent to the Department of Expenditure for review before being table before the Empowered Committee of Sectretaries (E-Cos) for further review.
Employee representatives also wrote to Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha saying employees had no idea about the recommendations made by the Ashok Lavasa Committee. They also lashed out at the committee for delay in implementation of its report, which had missed two deadlines before its submission.
The E-Cos reviewed the Ashok Lavasa Committee recommendations and forwarded it to the government. Central government employees are currently waiting for a positive response from the government.