Feb 22, 2014

Defence forces to get special hearing from 7th pay panel

The armed forces are finally in for a special hearing, with the Centre likely to separately deal with issues pertaining to their service conditions and payment structures in the 7th Central Pay Commission. The Union government, however, has not accepted the demand for military representation on the pay panel.

The terms of reference for the 7th CPC, to be cleared by the Cabinet, will for the first time include a paragraph on the defence forces. It has come in response to intense lobbying by the defence ministry and the armed forces, with the latter for long complaining of a “raw deal” compared to their civilian counterparts in the fixation of salaries by the central panel.

According to the terms of reference, the pay panel will examine the salary structure and benefits, including retirement benefits, with “due emphasis on the aspects unique to these (military) personnel”. The allowances could be reviewed in view of the hardships, both in terms of operations and frequent transfers, associated with military service.

The focus on the defence forces comes in the wake of the massive unrest triggered by the 6th CPC report which led to the three Service chiefs lodging serious complaints about the recommendations.

There is another plus for the defence forces, with Justice Ashok Kumar Mathur to chair the pay commission. He has been the chairman of the Armed Forces Tribunal and the government says he is conversant with the issues related to defence forces.

Thus, while keeping a representative of the defence forces has not been accepted on the grounds that it would lead to similar demand from other specialized services, the presence of the chair is sent to indirectly meet the demand.

While the pay panel is a populist move given the vast vote base that government employees make, the defence community of 14 lakh serving and 23 lakh retired military personnel itself swells into a sizeable – albeit diffused – vote bank of around 1.5 crore people if family members are also taken into account.

The government was rattled by the widespread anger in the armed forces in 2008-2009 when they complained that successive pay panels had failed to address their long-pending pay and pension “anomalies”. Hundreds of ex-servicemen continue to protest by returning their medals even today over the failure of successive governments to implement the one-rank, one-pension principle despite it being promised by most parties in their manifestoes.

In June last year, defence minister A K Antony had written a frantic letter to PM Manmohan Singh to express alarm over the “growing discontentment” among the armed forces, which led to the constitution of a committee under cabinet secretary Ajit Kumar Seth to look into their grievances.


Feb 20, 2014

Central Gov. Employee - Bonanza for central govt staff likely to the end of February

To woo central government employees ahead of the general elections, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government is expected to ask the Seventh Pay Commission to consider merging 50 per centdearness allowance (DA) with basic pay of employees. This will form part of the terms of reference (ToR) for the Commission, to be considered by the Cabinet this week.

According to officials, the Pay Commission’s ToR categorically states a proposal in this regard should be actively considered.

The increases will be even more appealing as the Centre is expected to increase the DA by 10 per cent to 100 per cent by the end of February. Usually, the DA is merged with basic pay when the former goes beyond 50 per cent. It is 90 per cent now, but has not been merged so far.

Assuming an employee gets Rs 100 as basic pay and Rs 100 as DA at present, the basic will rise to Rs 150, even if 50 per cent allowance is merged. . A higher basic pay will also impact the house rent allowance (HRA) of employees as it is calculated at 30 per cent of the basic pay for central government employees.

DA is linked to the consumer price index (industrial workers). The government uses CPI-IW data of the past 12 months to arrive at a quantum for calculating any DA hike. The allowance will be announced from January. As such, the retail inflation for industrial workers between January 1 to December 31, 2013 would be used to take a final call on the matter. The average inflation during this period had stood at 10.66 per cent.

Earlier this month, the government had constituted the Pay Commission under the chairmanship of former Supreme Court Judge Ashok Kumar Mathur.

The other members of the panel are Petroleum Secretary Vivek Rae (full-time member), National Institute of Public Finance and Policy Director Rathin Roy (part-time member) and Officer on Special Duty in the Expenditure Department Meena Agarwal (Secretary).

The Commission’s recommendations would be implemented from January 1, 2016, officials said. However, it may recommend interim relief as well, they added.

The Commission’s recommendations will directly benefit almost five million employees and three million pensioners. Employees of state governments, which will adopt the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission will also benefit.

Some officials said the Cabinet is also expected to consider another proposal to modify the Prime Minister’s 15-point programme for minorities, which will enable allocation of at least 15 per cent of the total funds for welfare of minorities in major programmes such as National Rural Health Mission, Rashtriya Mahila Shiksha Abhiyan, Employment and Skill Development.

Source - business-standard

Feb 4, 2014

GOOD News - Prime Minister Approves Composition of 7th Central Pay Commission of committee

Prime Minister Approves Composition of 7th Central Pay Commission Under the Chairmanship of Justice Ashok Kumar Mathur, Retired Judge of the Supreme Court and Retired Chairman, Armed Forces Tribunal

The Finance Minister Shri P. Chidambaram has issued the following statement:

           “The Prime Minister has approved the composition of the 7th Central Pay Commission as follows:

1.         Shri Justice Ashok Kumar Mathur                            -                          Chairman           
            (Retired Judge of the Supreme Court and Retired
            Chairman, Armed Forces Tribunal)

2.         Shri Vivek Rae                                                             -                        Member (Full Time)
            (Secretary, Petroleum & Natural Gas)

3.         Dr. Rathin Roy                                                             -                        Member (Part Time)
            (Director, NIPFP)

4.         Smt. Meena Agarwal                                                   -                          Secretary
            (OSD, Department of Expenditure,
            Ministry of Finance)

Source - www.railnewscenter.com