Making a complete U-turn, the Haryana government on Tuesday decided to continue with the earlier mechanism of calculating non-practising allowance (NPA) for government doctors. Chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Tuesday said there would be no change in the system and the quantum of NPA admissible to doctors.
Hooda took the about-turn after government doctors expressed unhappiness over the pay cut. The decision seems to be influenced by the fact that Haryana goes to the assembly polls next year.
The state government had on June 6 ordered that the basic pay, grade pay and NPA for doctors would not exceed Rs. 79,000 per month. This was done on the grounds that several government doctors in higher ranks were drawing basic pay plus grade pay and NPA to the tune of more than Rs. 80,000, which was higher than what the state chief secretary gets. The order applied to medicos working in the health department, animal husbandry and Ayush departments but not to their counterparts in the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS), Rohtak. The development triggered protests from government doctors who objected to the pay cut.
A finance department order said as per Rule 2.52 of the Punjab Civil Services Rules, 1969, the NPA is part of the special pay and no government employee is entitled to dearness allowance or any other compensatory allowance on special pay, personal pay etc. since the general revision of pay scales from January 1986. Furthermore, the NPA itself is an allowance. Therefore, any entitlement of dearness allowance or any other compensatory allowance on the NPA does not seem to be justifiable, the order said. Also, NPA will not be treated as part of the pay within the meaning of Rule 6.19-C of the Punjab Civil Services Rules and will not be counted for pensionary benefits in respect of doctors of various departments
The finance department said the central government, while accepting the recommendations of the Sixth Central Pay Commission in 2008, had decided that the NPA may continue to be paid at the rate of 25% of the basic pay, subject to the condition that the basic pay plus NPA does not exceed Rs. 85,000. The reason for fixing the ceiling of Rs. 85,000 in the central government was that the highest paid official in the central government was the cabinet secretary, who gets Rs. 90,000 per month (fixed).
Haryana adopted the central pattern, but the state government fixed the ceiling (basic pay+NPA) of government doctors at Rs. 85,000. This is higher than the fixed pay of the chief secretary, who gets Rs. 80,000 per month. "As such, the ceiling of Rs. 85,000 per month, which is beyond the maximum pay of Rs. 80,000 per month in Haryana, was not justified," the finance department order said.
It was thus ordered, "After careful consideration, the state government has decided to grant NPA at a uniform rate of 25% of pay (pay in pay band plus grade pay) in the revised pay structure to all doctors working in health, animal husbandry, dairy development and Ayush departments, subject to the condition that basic pay plus grade pay plus NPA does not exceed Rs. 79,000 per month."
Meanwhile, Haryana Civil Medical Services Association (HCMSA) general secretary Dr Ashish Rana said medicos were grateful to the state government for effecting the rollback.