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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sixth Pay Commission: Pot of gold for babus

Don’t worry much about the plummeting Sensex if you are a Central Government employee. The 6th Pay Commission is all set to make 33 lakh Central Government employees smile by recommending almost 3.25 times increase in the basic pay across the board, below the level of joint secretary.

The higher up babus – joint secretary and above – would also be a happier lot, if commission’s recommendations are accepted by the government.

According to sources in the Finance Ministry, the Pay Commission has recommended fixed basic pay of joint secretary at Rs. 60,000, additional secretary at Rs. 70,000, secretary’s at Rs. 75,000 and cabinet secretary at Rs. 80,000, excluding the house rent allowance and some other benefits.

The salaries of joint secretary to secretary level officer ranges between Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 60,000 as per the current pay package. And those at the bottom of the hierarchical ladder – have an added reason to feel good.

Taking a cue from the private sector, the Pay Commission has recommended doing away with the age old drab nomenclature of peons, lower division clerks (LDC) and upper division clerk (UDC) and give them flamboyant designations of office assistant, junior executive and executive.

With possibility of mid term elections gathering momentum, the government is expected to carry out Pay Commission’s recommendations to the letter to make the sizeable vote bank still happier by giving them benefits with retrospective effect from January 2006.

The proposal is being vetted by the government – by the Prime Minister’s office as well as the Finance Ministry. Bureaucrats concede that the recommendations, if carried in full, would make a huge impact on the government exchequer but they counter that it won’t be a bad bargain for the government, especially in view of much steeper rise in private sector salaries.

“If the government accepts 3.25 times increase, it won’t be much off the mark than the 5th Pay Commission which also recommended similar increase. If you compare it with the private sector, salaries have increased by at least 5 to ten times since 1996 when the 5th Pay Commission was implemented,” said a senior bureaucrat.