The state government has stopped all recruitments of Class 3 and 4 staffers for a year, as it is finding it difficult to shoulder the burden of the Sixth Pay Commission.
The finance department issued a circular on Saturday, announcing the stay on estimated 60,000 to 70,000 recruitments across various government departments from Sales Tax to RTO.
“This has been done to cut down establishment cost and avoid over staffing. Given the burden of the Sixth Pay Commission, it is prudent to stay recruitments for a year. It will not affect government functioning,” said finance secretary Vidyadhar Kanade.
He added that field appointment like that of teachers, nurses and those needed in Naxalite-dominated regions have been exempted from this stay.However, government employee unions have termed the decision “wrong”.
“It will of course affect government functioning, if you stop recruitments where they are needed.
The recruitments were being carried out in departments like excise, accounts, state secretariat, but were abruptly stopped,” said G.D. Kulthe, secretary, Maharashtra Gazetted Officers Association.
The Sixth pay panel accepted in 2009 has put an annual burden of Rs 8,091 crore on the exchequer.
The state government also took the decision to consider this 25 per cent hike from 2006, putting an additional burden of Rs 18,370 crore on the state kitty.
Recently, the state also cleared transport allowance for its employees, adding another Rs 4,300 crore to the establishment cost.
With the pay commission, establishment cost had soared to 54 per cent of the state’s total revenue.
Maharashtra has among the largest debts in the country. It is estimated to reach Rs 2 lakh crore by the end of this year.
Experts said that the government might be forced to resort to off-budget borrowings to straddle this enormous burden.
The last time recruitments were put on hold was in 2004 for two years.
The Pay Equivalence Committee headed by former bureaucrat P.A. Hakim, which cleared recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission for the state, had also suggested that recruitment of Class 4 employees should be stopped. This however was ignored by the state in view of the Assembly elections scheduled in October 2009.