Hurrah ! The wait is over for all Govt employees . For those who are directly affected as well as those who would reap benefits of the fall out. Whether it’s time for setting up crackers or for waiting till VIIIth Central Pay Commission (CPC) will be known in coming days.Unlike previous occasions the CPC has ben considerate to the extent of submitting the report on time leaving enough time for Govt to deliberate and accept or reject various recommendations.
The initial signals are that of modest gains except for a few who were persistent about catching up with Indian Administrative Services and creating a level playing field. The Pay Commission has ultimately got convinced to extend the edge enjoyed by IAS in matter of pay fixation at various stages of career to IPS and IFoS.Following are some of the highlights.
The CPC while deciding about pay scales and procedure for fitment has come up with innovative concept of Pay Matrix whereby the lateral spread in the matrix would denote the panorama of job functions and related pay packages . The vertical movement would cover the pay hikes.The system of Pay Bands and Grade pays introduced by the previous CPC has thus been laid to rest.The CPC had been confronted with several anomalies by the representationists which prompted the change. Pay matrices have been drawn up for civilians, defence personnel and for military nursing service.
A similar Pay Matrix for defence personnel starts from Grade Pay of Rs. 2000/- which covers salary of sepoys and equivalents.A somewhat similar system has been conceived for Military Nursing Services.The aspect of performance monitoring and periodic promotions will continue through Modified Assured Career Progression Scheme as per past intervals of 10/20/30 years with the changed promotion criteria being benchmarked at” very good”. For military personnel the review is pegged to 8/6/14 years.
All ranks of the Defence forces upto Brigadier and equivalent ranks will continue to be entitled to payment of Military Service Pay (MSP)which is given in recognition of job related challenges and consequential difficulties.MSP would be counted for calculation of DA and Pension but not for House Rent Allowances (HRA) and Annual Increment.For defence personnel the Commission has also recommended rationalisation of compensation to Army Personnel for death or injury under various eventualities.
For Short Service Commissioned Officers the good news is is that they may be permitted to exit Armed Forces any time between 7 and 10 years of service with a terminal gratuity equivalent of 10.5 months of reckon able emoluments. along with recommendation for a fully funded one year Executive Programme or a M.Tech. programme at a premier Institute.
The Commission has made drastic recommendation in respect of allowances admissible to Employees “with the overall aim of transparency, simplification and nationalization”.The Commission has highlighted the difficulties related to staff housing and revised the upper limits for housing loans besides liberalising the process and permitting separate loans to spouses who are in Govt. job. Requisition of private house for Govt. Employees has been recommended wherever the available staff quarters are not sufficient to meet the demand.
The Commission has proposed enhancement in the ceiling of gratuity payable at the time of retirement from the existing ₹10 lakh to ₹20 lakh from 01.01.2016.adding that the ceiling on gratuity may increase by 25 percent whenever DA rises by 50 percent.
Another area covered extensively is that of periodic Cadre Review.The Commission has recommended that proposals of this nature be examined by Departments initially coopting DoPT and Department of Expenditure under concerned Secretary of the Department.Only after this basic scrutiny the matter can go to Cabinet Secretary in deserving cases.
Most of the allowances that have been retained have been given a raise that is commensurate with the rise in DA. Allowances that are in the nature of a fixed amount but fully indexed to DA have not been given any raise. Regarding percentage based allowances, it has been stated that since the Basic Pay will rise as a result of the recommendations of the Commission some of the allowances have been proposed to remain untouched.
For House Rent Allowance the Commission has recommended rationalisations to 24 percent, 16 percent and 8 percent of the Basic Pay for Class X, Y and Z cities respectively. A formula has also been suggested for upward hike in HRA pattern as Cost of living index crosse 50% and 100%.Currently, in the case of those drawing either NPA or MSP or both, the amounts of NPA/MSP are included with the Basic Pay and HRA is being paid as a percentage of the total amount. The Commission has recommended that HRA should be calculated as a percentage of Basic Pay only and that add-ons like NPA, MSP, etc. should not be included while working out HRA.
Amongst the allowances suggested for abolition are Night Duty allowances and Motor Car /Motor Cycle purchase advances. .
The Pay Commission has made several suggestions for improving Health Coverage for Employees .These suggestions include Scheme for Health Insurance,and suggestion for extending list of hospitals from private sector in those areas where coverage is low.The Rates of contribution for Health Insurance are proposed to be increased upto Rs.1500/2500/5000.The higher rates for contribution would result in insurance covers extending to Rs.15/25/50 Lakhs.
For the Pensioners the Commission has sought to make complete parity of past pensioners with current retirees.Under the recommendations the pension of personnel who retired prior to 01.01.2016 (expected date of implementation of the Seventh CPC recommendations) shall first be fixed in the Pay Matrix being recommended by this Commission, on the basis of the Pay Band and Grade Pay at which they retired, at the minimum of the corresponding level in the matrix. This amount shall be raised, to arrive at the notional pay of the retiree, by adding the number of increments he/she had earned in that level while in service, at the rate of three percent. Fifty percent of the total amount so arrived at shall be the revised pension. In the case of the Defence personnel, total amount so arrived at shall be inclusive of MSP.Another calculation is to be carried by multiplying the pension fixed under sixth CPC by 2.57 to arrive at an alternate value for the revised pension.Pensioners will be given the option of choosing whichever formulation is beneficial for acceptance.
This was what I could grab in the first reading of CPC report.Will be coming up with subject wise write ups in ensuing articles.