As many as four lakh government employees and 2.5 lakh pensioners will have to wait for the Sixth Pay Commission to be implemented as the state’s coffers are empty. The Centre announced a hike to 50 lakh employees and 58 lakh pensioners last week, but Punjab is unable to do so for its 3.04 lakh employees, 93,633 semi- government employees and pensioners.Sources in the Finance Department said their focus was on ensuring that salaries and pensions, and interest on the huge debt were paid within the stipulated time. The state does not want to face an embarrassment like it did when the RBI stopped payments for defaulting on its overdraft limit.“Each month, the state pays Rs 2,584 crore as salaries and pensions. Additionally, it has to pay almost Rs 1,200 crore as interest payments.
Thus, Rs 3,826 crore is needed each month on this count. With Rs 31019.53 crore or over 48 per cent of the total revenue of Rs 60,079 crore going towards payment of salaries and pensions, and another 24 per cent (Rs 14,910 crore) going towards interest payments, the state has just 28 per cent revenue for development works and social welfare schemes,” said a senior officer.The government finds itself on a sticky wicket in paying even the pending Dearness allowance of Rs 2,773 crore to its employees and pensioners. Sources said that the Sixth Pay Commission in the state headed by former bureaucrat Jai Singh Gill has met representatives of employees and pensioners and even dealt with the cases of more than a dozen of the 42 government departments.
Once the hearings are over and the Commission makes its recommendations, they will be submitted to the government. A committee will then decide and place it before the Cabinet. Once approved, the anomalies committee will be set up. Sources say that the entire process will take at least two years. No budgetary provisions have been made for the pay commission this year.FM allays employees’ fears:
Finance Minister Manpreet Badal says the Sixth Pay Commission is still meeting various organisations and its recommendations will be taken up by the government. “But the employees need not have any misgivings. We have already started giving interim relief and the hike as recommended by the commission will be given,” he says.
-The government’s focus is on ensuring that salaries and pensions and interest on the huge debt are paid within the stipulated time.
-Sources say the state does not want to face embarrassment like it did when the RBI stopped payments for defaulting on its overdraft limit
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