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Thursday, 25 May 2017

7th Pay Commission: Meeting on central government employees' allowances likely today

Central government employees may get a chance to rejoice as reports suggest that Empowered Committee of Secretaries (E-CoS) are likely to meet today to deliberate over their reformed allowance structure.

During this meeting, this committee of secretaries will go through the recommendations of Lavasa Committee regarding allowances and firm up their findings to be sent to Union Cabinet for approval.
House Rent Allowance (HRA) rates are one of the major topics that can be taken up in the course of this meeting. Central government employee unions are pushing for HRA at 30 per cent, 20 per cent and 10 per cent of the basic pay against the 24 per cent, 16 per cent and 8 per cent recommended by the 7th pay commission.
Increase in basic pay and arrears on revised allowances are the topics that might be discussed. Central government employees disappointed with the marginal increase in their salaries by the 7th pay commission are expecting any increase in allowances to lead to heftier paychecks.

The Lavasa Committee had received representations from government agencies and offices as well as armed forces and security personnel, referring to 79 allowances 'which have been examined in detail by the Committee.'

The Seventh Pay Commission had suggested that 52 out of 196 allowances be scraped in entirety, whereas 36 of them should be clubbed together with other allowances.
A Committee of Allowances was formed under Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa last year in June to screen these recommendations, which handed over its review report to Union Minister Arun Jaitley on April 27.
This review report was then studied by the Department of Expenditure and then handed over to the E-CoS set up to screen the recommendations by 7th pay commission and consolidate their findings that can be presented before the Cabinet for its nod. Meanwhile, when Centre is still lagging behind in implementing the 7th pay commission, some states are making some headway in implementing 7th pay commission for their respective state government employees too.

Below are the developments some states have seen in this direction:

Bihar State
Cabinet put the 7th pay commission in effect for its employees, increasing their salaries by 14 to 15 per cent. The pay hike will affect 3.6 Bihar state government personnel and 6 lakh pensioners.

Chhattisgarh
The Raman Singh government implemented the 7th Pay Commission for the state on March 30 benefiting around 3 lakh employees.

Maharashtra
Maharashtra state government announced the 7th Pay Commission on March 31 for its staff, putting an additional burden of Rs 500 crore on the exchequer.

Jammu and Kashmir
J&K government mentioned in its budget that the recommendations made by the 7th Pay Commission will be implemented from April 2018 to give a hike of 23,5 per cent to its employees and pensioners.

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