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The Pay Commission report: The concerns


The Pay Commission headed by Justice C N Ramachandran Nair submitted its report to the state government on Monday recommending a hike in the salary of government employees.

The Commission set up to revise the salary and allowances of the employees, handed over its report to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. It recommends a minimum basic pay of Rs 17, 000 and maximum of Rs 1.2 lakh for all the government employees. The current minimum salary is Rs 15, 300 and the maximum comes to Rs 1, 07, 712. Similarly the minimum pension would be increased to Rs 8, 500 and maximum to Rs 60, 000 up from the present amount of Rs 4, 500 and Rs. 29, 920 respectively. As per the suggestions of the Commission, the minimum service needed for awarding pension has also been reduced from 30 years to 25 years. The recommendations of the panel if approved by the government would be implemented with effect from July 1, 2014. If the new salary scale comes into effect, the basic pay would be double the present amount. Given the high inflation rates and the rise in the standard of living, the hike in the salary and other benefits is appreciable as well as justified. Since the state is currently going through a severe financial crisis, the suggestions by the panel are also likely to add more burden on the state exchequer.

Around 86 per cent of the state revenue is used up for awarding the salary and pension of the government employees. In such a critical scenario, questions as to how the state would progress and develop remain unanswered. While the employees express their annoyance over the revamp, the suggestions have landed the government in trouble, due to the worsening financial condition. It would only increase the debt amount which has already crossed Rs 1.5 lakh crore. The state government spends Rs 10, 952 crore every year to pay the interests. If the debts continue to increase, the policies to reduce the liabilities through generative schemes would naturally take a setback. Non collection of tax also leads to an increase in debts. No proper re-analysis or rectifications has been carried out by the Left-Right governments in power so far. Efforts should be made to improve the condition of the society through effective foresight and developmental measures rather than merely focusing on completing their tenure and implementing fruitless schemes. The government, during every budget, tries to hold on, through doubling the service tax as well as the indirect tax.

The government employees despite earning decent income and all the benefits unthinkable to the common man continue to crave for more money and power. They neglect their duties and responsibilities towards the people. Employees ranging from Secretaries to attenders accept bribes which have become a habit along with earning disproportionate assets. The inefficiency as well as the insincerity creates more problems for the people and for them, resorting to corruption seems the only way out of the predicament. As far as the teaching staff is concerned, the rules are more lenient prompting them to be more inefficient. Another significant recommendation includes promoting high school teachers who completed 28 years in service, to the post of deputy headmaster. Not just the seniority but the quality of work should also be considered as criteria for awarding promotions. But at present, only the years of service is considered. The Commission doesn’t suggest promotions according to their governing capability or efficiency.

There are reportedly, progressive suggestions in the second part of the Commission report. But the government has been reluctant to implement the suggestions due to the opposition from the employees, particularly due to the looming elections. The report also specifies increasing the retirement age of the government employees to 58 from the present 56. The youth have strongly opposed the proposal as the wait for the placement of job would be delayed indefinitely. Even though their anxiety is justified, it is inappropriate to give lifelong pensions to the retired but healthy 56-year olds. Given the average human lifespan of 75 years, the service duration could be proposed to be 60 years. Appointing deserving candidates through properly scheduled PSC examinations to the required slots would be the appropriate way instead of temporary placements. Schemes to generate maximum employment opportunities should also be implemented.

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