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Pay panel recommends 23.55% hike; OROP for civilians too

Pay panel recommends 23.55% hike; OROP for civilians too
Highlights

In a big bonanza to Central employees and pensioners, the Seventh Pay Commission on Thursday recommended a 23.55 per cent increase in salary, allowances and pension along with a virtual one-rank-one-pension for civilians, involving an additional outgo of Rs 1.02 lakh crore a year.

New Delhi: In a big bonanza to Central employees and pensioners, the Seventh Pay Commission on Thursday recommended a 23.55 per cent increase in salary, allowances and pension along with a virtual one-rank-one-pension for civilians, involving an additional outgo of Rs 1.02 lakh crore a year.

A minimum pay of Rs 18,000 per month and a maximum of Rs 2.5 lakh per month has been recommended by the Commission, headed by Justice A K Mathur, that presented its 900-page report to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley here.

The recommendations, which are to be implemented from January 1, 2016, will benefit 47 lakh central government employees and 52 lakh pensioners.

The impact the recommendations will be Rs 1.02 lakh crore -- Rs 73,650 cr on Central Budget and Rs 28,450 crore on Railway Budget. The award of the pay panel will also benefit staff of autonomous bodies, universities and public sector units, Jaitley said after receiving the report. "In percentage terms, the overall increase in pay and allowance and pensions over the business-as-usual scenario will be 23.55 per cent," the report said.

Within this, the increase in pay will be 16 per cent, in allowances 63 per cent and in pension would be 24 per cent, it said. The total salary and pension bill of the central government, which will also include railway employees, will go up from estimated Rs 4.33 lakh crore to Rs 5.35 lakh crore during 2016-17. The panel has suggested abolition of the pay band and the grade pay, though it retained the annual increment of 3 per cent. It has also recommended a fitment factor of 2.57 which will be applied uniformally to all employees.

Without calling it one-rank-one-pension (OROP), the Pay Commission recommended a revised pension formulation for the Central government employees, including paramilitary personnel as well as for defence staff who have retired before January 1, 2016.

The Chairman and other member Dr Rathin Roy recommended the age of superannuation for all central armed forces personnel to be raised to 60 years from current 58 years, another member Vivek Rae did not agree with it. He endorsed the stand of the Home Ministry.

The formulation will bring parity between past pensioners and current retirees for the same length of service in the pay scale at the time of retirement.

In a significant recommendation, it enhanced the ceiling of gratuity from the existing Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh. And the same will be raised by 25 per cent whenever DA be raised by 50 per cent.

In the new pay structure, the grade pay has been subsumed in the pay matrix and the status of the employee, now determined by grade pay, will now be determined by the level in the matrix.

Introduction of a health insurance scheme for employees and pensioners has been recommended. Meanwhile for the benefit of pensioners outside the CGHS areas, CGHS should empanel those hospitals which are already empanelled under CS (MA)/ECHS for catering to the medical requirement of these pensioners on a cashless basis.

All postal pensioners must be covered under CGHS. All postal dispensaries should be merged with CGHS.

Under the central government employees group insurance scheme, the rates of contribution as well as insurance coverage have now been enhanced suitably. Monthly deduction has been raised from Rs 120 per month to Rs 5,000 and insurance cover from Rs 1.2 lakh to Rs 50 lakh for senior most level. At the bottom of the matrix, it has been raised from Rs 30 per month to Rs 1,500 and the cover hiked from Rs 30,000 to Rs 15 lakh. The Commission recommended abolition of all non-interest bearing advances and increased the limit for interest-bearing advances for buying home from Rs 7.5 lakh to Rs 25 lakh.

Under the Modified Assured Career Progression (MACP) the Commission has proposed that annual increments not be granted in the case of those employees who are not able to meet the benchmark either for MACP or for a regular promotion in the first 20 years of their service.

The Commission has also recommended introduction of the Performance Related Pay (PRP) for all categories of Central Government employees, based on quality Results Framework Documents, reformed Annual Performance Appraisal Reports and some other broad Guidelines. It suggested that the PRP should subsume the existing Bonus schemes.

It has suggested revision of rates of lump sum compensation for next of kin (NOK) in case of death arising in various circumstances relating to performance of duties, to be applied uniformly for the defence forces personnel and civilians including CAPF personnel. In view of grievances relating to New Pension Scheme (NPS), it suggested steps to improve the functioning of scheme and establishment of a strong grievance redressal mechanism.

The Commission has recommended a consolidated monthly pay package of Rs 4.50 lakh and Rs 4 lakh for chairpersons and members respectively of the regulatory bodies. In case of retired government servants, it said, their pension should not be deducted from their consolidated pay. The consolidated pay package should be raised by 25 per cent and Dearness Allowance by 50 per cent.

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