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Monday, October 15, 2007

Nod from finance ministry key to pay scale reform

NEW DELHI:  The Sixth Pay Commission, chaired by former Supreme Court judge BN Srikrishna, who also carried out the inquiry into the 1993 Mumbai riots, was originally expected to submit its report in April next year. But sources indicate that the Commission is speeding up the work in the light of the uncertainties surrounding the longevity of the UPA government.

A crucial step in finalising the new pay structures for the central government employees, is the nod from the finance ministry for the proposals. The ministry has to study the proposals to see if they are financially viable, and come within a reasonable fiscal discipline for the government. And, most importantly, it has to assess if the further drain on the exchequer can be managed when similar revisions are carried out in states and public sector units.

This is particularly relevant in the context of the problems faced with the Fifth Pay Commission, whose recommendations were partially implemented in 1998. The commission had recommended the linking of government salary increases to reductions in the number of government employees. It had suggested a reduction in government strength by 30% in 10 years. Normally there is a 1.5% attrition annually because of retirement, deaths, etc.

Prof Suresh Tendulkar, member of the previous pay commission says, “We need to rationalise the departments. The Government needs to expand in some directions, while reduce in others.”

“We have to stop this “escalator promotions”. There is an overcrowding in IAS, especially at the joint secretary ranks,” says Tendulkar.