Punjab cabinet push for ‘mega back-door recruitment drive’ likely on Tuesday | punjab$dont-miss | Hindustan Times
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Punjab cabinet push for ‘mega back-door recruitment drive’ likely on Tuesday

The Punjab cabinet will meet on Tuesday to decide the vote-spinning policy of regularising the service of 45,000 employees hired on contract and temporary basis through back door.

punjab Updated: Oct 04, 2016 11:17 IST
Pawan Sharma
Punjab
Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal(HT File Photo)

The Punjab cabinet will meet on Tuesday to decide the vote-spinning policy of regularising the service of 45,000 employees hired on contract and temporary basis through back door.

In the election year, the Parkash Singh Badal government has readied a “money bill” to push this proposal that, if approved, will put Rs 600-crore stress every year on the already pale state finance, authoritative government sources have said.

The proposal is to take the back-door appointments “out of the ambit of judicial review” by making a law. As it has financial implications, the government requires the governor’s permission. It has been struggling to release salary, pension, and other retirement benefits, and paying regular employees only “basic salary” for first three years.

The salary, wages, and pension bills — Rs 27,353 crore in the 2016-17 budget estimates — are eating up a bulk of the state’s revenue receipts. Sources say that after three years (in 2019), when these employees will be eligible for regular pay scale, the annual financial liability will shoot to Rs 2,500 crore.

Even if the salary grows at 10% a year, the annual financial implication of this regularisation drive at the end of the fifth year (2021) will be Rs 4,000 crore.

Earlier, this proposal had hit administrative and legal hurdles. The legal remembrancer, cautioned the government that the proposed law should not amount to “back-door entry” or “injustice to those who seek front-door entry”. The finance department had also opposed this recruitment, citing a grim financial health.

Also read | Degree of discontent: Jobless youth throws his certificates at Badal’s car

Sources say the government has sought the department’s advice again in the run-up to Tuesday’s cabinet meeting. Last Monday, the cabinet had informal discussion over the fate of this proposal and decide to give it final shape on October 4.

The personnel department had circulated a pro forma, seeking the information of irregular employees from all departments, corporations, boards, undertaking and cooperative societies wholly owned or controlled by the state government. Sources say the department has reported 8,528 employees in Group-B, 24,333 in Group-C, and 11,730 in Group-D, whose fate the cabinet will decide on Tuesday.

The finance department has told the government that this regularisation drive will put boards, corporations and cooperative in a difficult financial situation. The proposal is reported to have provision for further posts for reserve categories in case of inadequate representation in a particular cadre. “This will increase the financial burden on boards and corporations further,” sources privy to this secret proposal said.

“Burdening the future generations with liabilities is not desirable,” sources quote the finance department’s advice. Also, there is ambiguity if the employees will be regularised from the day they completed three years in service. “This will make financial calculations more complex and lead to legal and administrative complications,” a government functionary said.