Government employees have asked the Centre to consider merging dearness allowance with their pay, arguing that the Sixth Pay Commission -- quite like the Centre -- could not have anticipated the high inflation that has eroded real wages over the last decade.
Since 2006 – when the recommendations of the last pay commission came into force – the dearness allowance has increased to 90%, a reflection of the high inflation environment that employees have to cope up with.
The demand was made at a preliminary meeting held between the department of personnel and the employee representatives to discuss the proposed Seventh Pay Commission announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in September.
Congress media department chief Ajay Maken had asked the Prime Minister to announce the next pay commission in March this year. Writing in his capacity as a cabinet minister, Maken had also argued for a liberal increase in the salaries of government officials to attract and retain talent.
Representatives of government employees weren’t as optimistic.
Umraomal Purohit, secretary, staff side, however, did stress on the merger of dearness allowance (DA) with the basic pay. Purohit said that the sixth pay commission did not recommend merger as they could not have anticipated a high rate of inflation which resulted in employees being granted a 90% rate of DA.
Purohit and other representatives also emphasised that a system should be put in place to ensure that anomalies created due to recommendations of pay commissions should be resolved within a year of the implementation of the report.
Government sources said the pay commission could be notified over the next two months or so, well before the model code of conduct for the general elections kicks in. Also, the Centre is expected to give the panel enough time to prepare its report in the hope that the government would be a lot more comfortable vis-a-vis the fiscal deficit by the time the panel submits its report.