Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cabinet approves pay revision for central public sector enterprises

The cabinet Thursday approved the recommendations of the second Pay Revision Committee for central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) but there will be no additional cost to the government as the enterprises will bear the cost, a minister said."There will be no additional cost to the government as the enterprises will bear the additional cost from their internal resources," Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) Prithviraj Chavan said.

"It is for this reason that I cannot tell you what the additional expenditure will be," he said in reply to a question while briefing reporters after a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"The revised pay scales would be implemented by the issue of a separate Presidential Directive in respect of each CPSE by the concerned administrative ministry or department," Chavan said.

While the revised pay scales will be effective Jan 1, 2007, the payment of house rent allowance, perks and allowances based on the revised scales will be from the date of issue of the Presidential Directives, he added.

The Pay Revision Committee had been established as CPSE employees were not covered by the Sixth Pay Commission that earlier this year recommended increased pay and allowances for government servants.

Cabinet to decide on judges’ pay hike

The Union Cabinet is expected to take a call on the issue of hiking the salary of the Supreme Court and High Court judges on Thursday.

The cabinet is meeting amidst reports that the plan has not found favour with the Union Finance Ministry. 

As per media reports the Finance Ministry, although seems inclined to approve a hike but is unwilling to do so as per the recommendations proposed by a three-judge committee constituted by the Chief Justice of India (CJI). 

Once the Cabinet takes a call on the issue, a Bill would be introduced in Parliament as the legislatures nod is required for any change in the salary structure of higher judiciary. 

Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan, in a letter to the ministry in July, had sought a hike of two to three times the present monthly salaries of judges of the higher judiciary. 

He had pointed towards the pay revision proposal for government employees under the Sixth Pay Commission and built a case for salary hike for judges as well. 

The CJI, at present, gets a monthly salary of Rs 33,000. The letter had suggested raising it to Rs 1.1 lakh. 

For other apex court judges, the CJI had suggested a monthly salary of Rs 1 lakh and favoured a similar pay for Chief Justices of High Courts. The chief justice had proposed a monthly salary of Rs 90,000 for High Court judges. 

Seeking better perks, the CJI also talked about raising the medical reimbursements for judges from the higher judiciary. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Many govt employees still to get pay arrears

Many of the five million government employees are yet to receive the retroactive portion of a salary hike that came into effect from January 2006 after the Union government implemented the Sixth Pay Commission's recommendations.
The employees started getting a new salary from 1 September, but the delay in clearing the so-called arrears is causing some angst among employees, many of whom live in states where elections are being held now.
The Congress party-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government announced an average increase of 21% in the salaries of government employees in August. But only the employees of Union ministries have received their payouts so far.
The government had planned to disburse 40% of the Rs29,373 crore as arrears during 2008-09 and the remaining 60% in 2009-10.
"The arrears have been received by the employees working in the Union ministries and the main (Central) secretariat. However, the employees working in field offices and attached organizations or offices of the ministries are yet to get the arrears. There were no such problems at the time of arrear payments for the Fifth Pay Commission," said an official in the Union ministry of information and broadcasting, who didn't want to be named.
"While the ministries employ less than 10% of the workforce, the balance work with these offices. The pay and account offices of these organizations have been demanding money for the payments."
"Most of the subordinate bodies in the ministries are yet to receive it," said another government official, asking not to be named.
Senior officials in the ministries of power, petroleum and natural gas, shipping and road transport, and highways confirmed that the arrears have been received by their personnel.
"There have been some incidents of Central government employees posted in the states not getting the arrears payment. I think employees who have not received their money even now should protest," says M.K. Pandhe, a politburo member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). Such incidents have been sporadic and "there have been no large-scale instances of employees not having been paid arrears", he added.
"The orders for the arrears payment has been passed in keeping with the recommendations cleared by the Union cabinet. From our end, everything has been done. If there is a problem, it could be a minor bureaucratic problem at the execution level," said a senior finance ministry official, who didn't want to be named.
While the wage hike has increased the financial burden of the government by Rs17,798 crore annually, it has also increased the rate of annual increment from 2.5% to 3%.
The government has also raised the minimum entry-level salary of a government employee to Rs7,000 against Rs6,660 recommended by the commission, headed by justice B.N. Srikrishna, which submitted the report in March.
Drawing and disbursing officers prepare the bills and pass it on to pay and account officers, who then process the payment and record it on a computer software created for the purpose, called Compact. While the Controller General of Accounts is of the opinion that the computerized process cuts down delays, there are still some allegations that there is potential for graft at the pay and account offices stage.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Government Clarifies : No change in retirement age

The Cabinet Secretary K. M. Chandrasekhar today informed that there is no plans to revise the retirement age for Central Government employees. After the sixth pay commission implementation, employees were hoping for the rise in pension age, as doing so can reduce the burden of the additional payment to some extend. However the government decided other stopping all the rumours associated.

Shri. K. M. Chandrasekhar  clarified that the government has no intentions in changing the retirement age and the current system will be followed.

"I tried to find out. But there is no file in (Department of) Expenditure, no file in DoPT (Department of Personnel and Training). There is nothing. It is more of a wishful thinking," he said in an interview.

At present the retirement age for the Central Government employees is 60.

He also added that there is no plans to unify the retirement age of the state government staff across the states.

"The states will decide their own retirement age," he said. All states have their own retirement age - starting from 55 years (Kerala) to 60 years (Uttar Pradesh, Assam etc). The Madhya Pradesh government teachers retire at the age of 62 years.

Source : Economic Times

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

List of Government of India Holidays during the Year 2009

List of Government of India Holidays during the Year 2009 for Delhi / New Delhi Offices.

List of Government of India Restricted Holidays during the Year 2009 for Delhi / New Delhi Offices.


Revenue Officials agitating over 'Raw Deal'

At a time when the government is facing an economic downslide with lower or negative tax collection, it is facing serious unrest in the ranks of departments assigned the job of mopping up resources with thousands of customs, central excise and income tax officials being up in arms against anomalies in their pay scales and bleak promotional avenues.

Thousands of customs officials struck work on Tuesday and took to the streets against the delay in their promotions, in what can set back government’s already difficult task to realise the revenue target. Customs and central excise officials from across the country gathered at Jantar Mantar in the Capital on Tuesday, to march up to barricades raised at Parliament Street police station.

The protest comes even as income tax officials, another revenue gathering arm, have already resorted to a ‘go slow’ to insist on removal of pay anomalies and for better prospects of promotion

There has been no official announcement yet. But officials of the income tax department, sources say, have been dragging their feet on the surveys that are crucial for detecting tax evasions and tax collection. Sources said all field formations of income tax have stopped sending Central Action Plan (CAP) dossiers since August to the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).

The CAP is a vital report generated on a monthly basis that gives a summary of scrutiny assessments, demands raised and collected, arrears collection and manpower deployment, besides helping in collection of data for micromanagement of the economy.

Sources said revenue secretary P V Bhide has called a meeting of all 18 chief commissioners of I-T at North Block on Wednesday to deliberate on the slowdown in the tax collection. With a few CBDT members having already raised the issue of discontentment in the rank and file over the pay anomalies and its impact on the tax mop up, the revenue department boss is likely to address the matter.

The discontentment over the ‘alleged’ raw deal from the 6th pay commission is not only restricted to the IRS cadre officers, but spread even to the ranks of inspectors, superintendents and promotee assistant commissioners who feel they have been ignored. The lower rungs feel discriminated even from their top bosses in the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) and CBDT.

Ravi Malik, an office-bearer of the All-India Association of Central Excise Officers which organised the march, alleged that the higher-ups in the CBEC had deliberately delayed promotions for superintendents and others eligible to be promoted in Group A. “Even when promotions are granted, they are in the Junior Group A level and many of those promoted remain without a posting for a long time,” he said.