Saturday, 11 February 2017

Bureaucracy delaying higher allowances implementation

Bureaucracy delaying higher allowances implementation

New Delhi: Complicated bureaucracy is delaying the implementation of the higher allowances under 7th Pay Commission recommendations, and it is now expected to start in three to four months, one leader of an employees union was quoted as saying.

The government has given higher basic pay with arrears, effective from January 1, 2016 in August 2016 to its employees on the recommendations of the 7th pay commission but referred hike in allowances other than dearness allowance to the ‘Committee on Allowances’ headed by the Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa for examination in July, 2016 as the 7th pay commission had recommended for abolishing 51 allowances and subsuming 37 others out of 196 allowances.

The government has given the committee four months to submit the report but an extension was also given up to February 22, 2017 to submit its report on higher allowances. In October last year, Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa had said the committee was ready with its report.

Usually, once the recommendations of the pay commission are approved, the increase in basic pay is followed by an increase in allowances.

The government earlier said that the cash crunch was the reason behind the delay in announcing higher allowances.

The announcement of assembly elections in five states has also given an excuse for the government as it cannot announce allowances hikes till the model code of conduct is in place up to March 8.

The higher House Rent Allowance (HRA) segment is of great benefit to central government employees in the allowances.This segment will more than double, with the increases ranging between 106% and 122% as recommended the 7th Pay Commission. So, the central government employees have a keen interest in higher House Rent Allowance (HRA).

The pay commission has recommended the rates HRA for these cities to 24%, 16% and 8% respectively of new pay matrix.

The Commission also recommended, that the rate of HRA will be revised to 27 percent, 18 percent and 9 percent respectively when DA crosses 50 percent, and further revised to 30 percent, 20 percent and 10 percent when DA crosses 100 percent.

The existing rates of HRA for Class X, Y and Z cities and towns are 30%, 20% and 10% of Basic pay (old pay in the pay band plus grade pay) are now paid to the central government employees according to the 6th Pay Commission recommendations until issuing of higher allowances notification.

The top bureaucrats living government bungalows and plush flats in the posh East Moti Bagh area in New Delhi. So, they don’t take House Rent Allowance (HRA).

‘The top bureaucrats houses have modular kitchens, hot and cold water supply like in hotels, solar lighting, a club with a swimming pool and tennis courts, jogging tracks, terrace gardens, a shopping complex, a primary school and banking facilities,’ an official at the urban development ministry said. They are also taking benefit of yoga and health centre.

The luxury apartments becoming popular among the bureaucrats. The secretaries of the central departments have been allotted a plot size of 8,250 sq ft, a plint area of 1,970 sq ft, eight bedrooms, four servant quarters, two garages, front and rear lawns. Hence, they are not interested to hike allowances and the higher allowances announcement dips in face of bureaucratic apathy.

However, we hope, the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley may announce the higher allowances, most probably after ending the model code of conduct on March 8, which will cover 48 lakh central government employees and 52 lakh pensioners.

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