Some states want Centre to share increased burden after commission

  • Team HT, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Nov 21, 2015 00:16 IST
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley receiving the report of Seventh Pay Commission from its Chairman Justice A K Mathur in New Delhi on Thursday. (PTI Photo)

The pay panel has spoken. Over to the states. That is, once the panel’s report is accepted by the Union government.

The 7th Central pay commission’s recommendations, even if implemented, are not binding on the states. However, historically they have chosen to go along, often hoping that the finance commission, the arbiter in dividing resources between Centre and states, will increase the states’ share.

Some states had already broached a higher share for them while sending their inputs to the commission.

Now that the report is out, Maharashtra anticipates its annual salary bill to rise by Rs 10,000 crore if it embraces the seventh pay panel’s recommendations. It had implemented the recommendations of the previous pay commission, the 6th. But implementing the latest report will take a toll, since the state government has a debt of more than Rs 3 lakh crore.

The West Bengal government has announced a new pay commission for its employees. “The new pay commission will be effective from October 2015 and will be in effect for 10 years,” said a member of the Mamata Banerjee-led cabinet. “We rightfully demand that the Central government share some salary bill burden so that state government employees get paid on a par with central government employees.”

West Bengal, too, has accumulated debt of Rs 3 lakh crore. Its wage bill now stands at Rs 34,000 crore, which is 72% of its tax revenue, leaving little for other activities.

The Odisha government won’t comment on the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission as yet. “The state government will react to it after the central government takes a decision and implements it,” said an official of the state finance department. Odisha, too, had accepted the 6th Pay Commission’s recommendations.

Himachal Pradesh will first examine the report in detail before looking at Punjab’s stance. “We follow Punjab in giving salary benefits to our employees,” said Additional chief secretary, finance, Shrikant Baldi. Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have their own pay revision body based on whose report they increase their employees’ salaries every five years. The government in Telangana is not too perturbed.

It had earlier announced a 43% increase in basic salary for all its 3,00,000 employees. “We had revised the pay scales of our employees in June. The implication of the central pay panel will be negligible on us as only the salaries of the 300 all India service officials working in the state will have to be revised,” said K Pradeep Chandra, special chief secretary — finance, Telangana.

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