The cash-strapped Maharashtra government is unlikely to implement the seventh pay commission recommendation for the next two years.
Sources in the finance department told HT that the 20 lakh state government employees are likely to get the new pay band just before the assembly elections in 2019. As has been the trend so far, the state government will appoint a committee to study the seventh pay commission recommendations and a formal decision will be taken following the report of this committee.
“The annual burden of the implementation is expected to be Rs6,000 crore. We are committed to implement it from the date decided by the Centre and the provision of Rs5,000 crore has been done in this budget also. The committee will be appointed soon,” said finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar.
“The state’s GDP rose to 8% from 5.6% last year and we are hopeful that it increases further with satisfactory rainfall this year. This will enable us in raising the revenue receipts and subsequently implementing the pay commission recommendations,” added Mungantiwar.
He said the government was tapping all the sources of the revenue generation to ensure the state exchequer was in a position to bear the burden. If the state delays the new pay band, the total burden considering arrears from the cut-off date of January 2016 will work out to around Rs14,000 crore, said officials.
The state government had similarly implemented the sixth pay commission in March 2009, three years after the recommendations of the central commission in 2006. The state equivalence panel led by PA Hakim had submitted its recommendations by December 2008.
“This time, too, the immediate implementation is not possible. The state is reeling under a debt burden of Rs 3.50 lakh crore and the revenue deficit is raising year by year. The government will buy its own time to set up the equivalence committee and at least a year is required for the submission of its report,” said an official on the condition of anonymity. He said that the process will be prolonged for at least two years and get implemented in 2018 or 2019.
The state government has about 19 lakh employees, including 5.49 lakh employees directly employed, 9.97 lakh employed with the agencies aided by the government and 2.45 lakh staffed in public undertakings. The employee unions have demanded immediate implementation of the recommendations. “We are writing a letter to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis asking for the implementation with immediate effect,” said Subhash Gangurde, general secretary, Maharashtra State Government Employees Central Confederation.
The Equivalence Committee is expected to be under the chairmanship of a retired IAS officer. After the Centre’s announcement to implement the sixth pay commission, the Maharashtra government had appointed a committee headed by PA Hakim, former secretary, to study the recommendations. The committee submitted its report in December 2008, while the government resolution for its implementation was issued in the March 2009. The first instalment of the arrears was given to the employees in June 2009. State had to bear the burden of Rs18,370 crore towards the arrears of implementing the recommendations with effect from January 1, 2006.