In a bid to woo the 2.68 lakh strong employee base in Himachal, the Virbhadra Singh led Congress government is mulling an increase in retirement age from 58 to 60 years as well as a 2% increase in dearness allowance (DA).
Virbadra’s move is being seen as an attempt to woo the “powerful” employees’ lobby in the state, which is known for tilting political scales.
The government employees--estimated to be 2.68 lakh-- have been playing a key role in the elections and successive governments doled out sops to consolidate its vote bank among them.
If the decision is implemented, it will cost the state exchequer Rs 100 crore per annum.
As per the 2013 employee census, the total numbers of employees stood at 2.60 lakh — of this, around 2 lakh are regular employees and over 60,000 are non-regular employees.
The government foots a Rs 9,500 crore bill of the employees’ salary, while pension bill are expected to amount to Rs 4,400 cr--40% of the total budget.
The monthly salary and pension bill is around Rs 1000 crore per month. The total budget of the state is Rs 35, 293 crore.
Chief minister Virbhadra Singh, during a meeting of joint consultative committee, on Thursday, said the issue pertaining to enhancement of retirement age will be placed before the cabinet.
A major section of employees in the state had opposed the increase in retirement age, probably as it could affect promotions. The Virbadra government is already facing criticism for re-employing and giving extension to employees.