Housing for govt officials gets costlier with hike in licence fee
The Centre has issued an order to increase the flat rate of license fee recoverable for the accommodation throughout the country.Updated: Jul 02, 2020 14:50 IST
Government accommodation allotted to officials under the General Pool Residential Accommodation (GPRA) category is set to get costlier starting in July. The Centre has issued an order to increase the flat rate of license fee recoverable for the accommodation throughout the country.
The ministry of housing and urban affairs has issued an order, a copy of which has been reviewed by Hindustan Times, increasing the license fee rates for all types of government accommodations -- from type I to type VIII-- based on the level of pay matrix under the 7th Pay Commission.
A vast majority of government officials live in accommodation allowed by the Central government.
To be clear, license fee is deducted monthly from the salaries of officials who are allotted government accommodation. “it is deducted from the gross salary of central government employees. Nearly 80-90% of officers and staff occupy government quarters. A nominal rent is fixed for the sake of upkeep and that will increase,” an official said, requesting anonymity.
“In terms of the provisions of the Rule 74 of the “central Government General pool Residential Accommodation Rules. 2017”, the Government has decided to revise the flat rates of licence fee recoverable for the residential accommodation available in General Pool and also in Departmental Pools of Ministries/Departments of the Government of India throughout the-country,” the order said.
“The revised rates of licence fee would be effective from 1st July, 2020. Al ministries/departments are requested to take action to recover the revised license fee in accordance with these orders in respect of accommodation under their control all over the country,” it added.
To be clear, the order exempts accommodations provided to serving personnel of the ministry of defence and accommodation under the control of ministry of railways.
According to the order, the revised flat rates of license applicable for GPRA from July 1 for type VIII accommodation, allotted to officials from level 17 and 18 of the pay matrix of the 7th Pay Commission has been increased from Rs 3,890 to Rs 4,610. Type I accommodations for level 1 of the pay matrix under the 7th Pay Commission have been revised from Rs 150 to Rs 180.
Charges for servant quarters and garages has also been nominally increased from Rs 70 to Rs 80 and Rs 40 to Rs 50, respectively. The Centre has also increased the cost of hostel accommodation.
To put things in perspective, for a government official to get government accommodation, House rent allowance (HRA) of the basic salary has to be forgone and upon that a nominal rent (license fee) is deducted from the gross salary. “The HRA accounts for nearly 27% of the salary and one also has to pay the nominal rent amount,” another official said.
At present, a secretary level officer residing in a type VII accommodation in New Moti Bagh in New Delhi pays Rs 70,000 as HRA plus the license fee (Rs 2180) for the accommodation. A joint secretary level officer living in a type VI A flat at East Kidwai Nagar pays around Rs 50,000 HRA and Rs 1550 license fee.
The allotment of central government bungalows is done through the GPRA Act under the administrative control of the directorate of estates.
There is a shortage of accommodation provided to government officials in the country, especially in Delhi and Chandigarh, union minister for housing and urban affairs Hardeep Puri informed Parliament in February. There is a total shortfall of 20,054 houses in Delhi with only 61,291 available against demand for 81,345 houses. In Chandigarh the shortfall is of 207 houses with 2,521 available against a demand for 2,728 houses, he said.
Puri said the shortage of General Pool Residential Accommodation (GPRA) is “due to non-availability of land at central locations in Metropolitan Cities and the fact that House Rent Allowance (HRA) admissible at the Metropolitan Cities is not commensurate with the actual rent in these cities.”