Sunday, December 06, 2015

Cruelty of 7th Pay Commission with Pressure from Government

 This is perhaps one of the most disappointing Pay Commissions that has submitted report from the 1st to the 7th Commissions, which recommended not only the lowest in increase, cutting every allowance (these allowances are small amounts given to the lower end employees) but also reducing the amount of HRA and Transport allowances.  

Pay commissions are constituted by the tremendous weep and cry by the employees each time they meet the Government for increase in the salary that too after a period of 10 long years.  The cost of living will have substantial change as well as plethora of requirements varies in the course of 10 long years.  The pay commission is supposed to learn what will be the change in the living trends as well as the cost explosions for the next 10 years as far as employees are concerned and how the Pay commissions will be implementing wage structure so as to nullify the effect of the erosion of inflation in rates.  The Pay commission should have studied the net effect of its applicability from 01/01/2016 to 31/12/2026 instead of looking at what happened in the past and following the foot prints of various other pay commission has done with.  This pay commission to its disappointment has kept a distance with Civil employees and Defense employees more than the edge they supposed to get.  Notwithstanding the fact that even the Defense sector has also been done away with lot of allowances , the Civil sector particularly those getting pay from 1800 GP to 2800 GP has been abandoned without any sympathy.  These employees which form the majority  of numbers of the central government employees, have been given only a poultry hike, so less that it is just worth two DA’s increase hike for the cry and shout they made and the struggle they did for constituting the 7th Pay Commission itself.  The increase is so less that even the DA merger of 50% to the presently available Basic pay and the allowances gives a better salary to the middle class employees rather than the 7th Pay commission’s implementations would result.  This 7th Pay commission was or has been a hoax simply defined as “of the government, by the government, for the government “so say the least.

This Pay commission’s report unlike the previous ones, in its first opinion may have been the result of how deeply pressured and even succumbed by the Government to reduce any increase beyond the point the Government wishes, so the 7th Pay Commission also gave away a report to the happiness of Government as well as highly paid bureaucrat.  There were so many expectations from the employees who draw small salaries and are at the lowest grade that of Group-C about how this could turn around as a good one and wished but truly believed that the standard of living could be bettered.  To the utter disappointment of so many employees that the Pay Commission has only given a marginal rise of 2.57 into the pay and very cleverly dissolving the entire DA to zero percentage. The net increase is so very marginal in the value of Pay rise that there will be no DA factor initially.  A small calculation of Pay increase with 50 % merger of DA with Pay and the four constituent of Salary ie., HRA, TA if taken together itself will show that the increase is 3.56 times that the new Pay Commission result or matrix. 

If we go to the past 6th pay commission the Government has to even think about giving out Arrears of Pay commission in installments spanning two years, still the net effect was absolved by the government and to say a good word “the Pay and Allowances and new ideas “given away except for grade pay anomalies were one among the best till date.  The only thing that was missing was the 50 % DA merger once the DA crosses 100 % which still emerges as the culprit sentence that was missed out.  The 6thPay commission had deeply studied many intricate details before getting into any conclusion.  The studies and the reports suggest the same, as any layman can make it reading the report.  This 900 pager 7th Pay commission report is a ballooned one (Same as writing an essays in History or English in School / College exams).  There was lot of scope to ascertain what the employees needs are.  Simply satisfying the objective to reduce the pay hike with the interests of Governments pressure means that it is not in line with the tasks what it should have done independently and therefore not giving a righteous and sensible decisions to the entire employees of the central government offices.  They should have thought it’s not with the interest of Government alone such Pay commissions are formed, it’s the needs of employees and their regimentation that led upon the commission to be formed.  Neglecting the employees demands are a cruelty of a different nature and against the natural justice.

The first thing to note is the HRA increase.  When the HRA is been given to the employees it was 10, 20 and 30 percent of the then Basic Pay 10 years ago, now with rents going to touch 50 % above the prevailing rate in the next 3 to 5 years how will be the reduction of HRA justified from the above to 8, 16 and 24 and 2% increase after the DA crosses 50%, what will be its significance after 5 years when all the rates increase 10 – 20 %.  So does Pay commission in their opinion believe that the House Rent is going to stay with same rate till the DA is 50% and that too with 2% marginal increase? For a rented home having rent around Rs 5000 on Jan 2016, the Pay commission expects the rent to be Rs 6140 only in Jan 2020 on the day (Adding the increments etc).  This is the point where the Pay commission has erred or being forced to.  Since most of the allowances which were kept has been increased by a small margin at least the HRA should also have been left untouched by merging the existing HRA with the DA factor of 125% and a “Matrix “ could have been created rather than reducing the same.

The second thing is the Transport Allowance (TA in short).  The minimum Bus fare for journeys by bus which was Rs 2.50 in 2006 has grown to Rs 8.00 in 2015.  The minimum Auto fare which was Rs 4 for Auto has been increased to Rs 20 Minimum or even higher.  These are as per the rate charts of various RTO, s and the ministries given from time to time.  The TA for an employee which was 800 or 1600 was now being paid with DA factor as 800+ 119 % of 800 = 1752, whereas now the amount will be reduced to 800.  So the new Pay commission is forecasting that the “Ache din of 2006” will be returning wherein a Bus fare will be reduced back to the 2006 rate of 2.50 rupees and the Auto fare reducing back to Rs 4 rupees as it interestingly “Found out” not real increase is justified.  If at all the 7th Pay commission could not do any better, they could still have kept the one among the most frequently used duo words “STATUS QUO” of Transport allowance which is a very key allowance that the lower paid employees get with the Salary (The other word being Abolished). 

The sense of inequality is seen from the onset of reading the Pay Commission.  In a country like India “a person who is poor have to remain as poor and one who is wealthy has to be wealthier than before”.  No action seems to be there to maintain a parallel between the lower paid employee and the highest paid employee.  One should understand the inequality in the status of the employees where they live.  A highly paid employee having the grade pay of 5400 and above till the Apex level has so many facilities, they are given good Government accommodation, official vehicle, financial powers etc for their convenience.  A lower paid employee in the other side has been given pay hike which is so less when it comes to percentage rates.  For example a highly paid employee getting present salary as 60,000 + with net increase of 2.62 % can get 1,58,200 as his new Basic Pay.  He can think about new house or new Car for the better increase he gets.  Whereas an employee drawing a pay of Rs 10,000 will get 25,500 as basic with multiplication factor of 2.57.  When Pay commission itself is at the opinion that minimum of 18,000 is a minimum and must to live with a family of two children, what savings can the lower paid employee get after spending the entire salary for the increased rates of pulses and cost of living.  Where in this world will the industry get a leap for consumers or buying cars or housing from the middle class earning members with a hike so subdued and ground level?

There is no improvement in the rate of increments.  Dear Pay commission, the increments are not only for the Government employees but its elixir is for the entire family.  When you think of putting a measure or barrier for awarding increment, the net effect is likely to impact the entire family and society as whole as it is the only increase that one gets after working tirelessly for one year.  The employee as well as the family of poor looks at the increments as to plan a little bit more as some amount will be increased for the poor fellow after a year of serving the Government.  There should have no bench marks for increments as once could learn and say that if the quality of employee is given a less gradation marks in APAR, the family should not be put to suffer for not awarding the increments.  Since there are no additional increments etc for any extra meritorious works or methods for determination of that sort, the reduction and not granting of increments also seem to be of double standards.  Not in the history of Pay Commissions such a proposal was given to the government, it’s the first one that too formed for the sake of benefits for the employees.  The pay commission could have thought of Performance Based Increments along with and in addition to the existing fixed one to be paid for the justified high performers if the motive behind it was real.  The rate of increments of 3% is so less in comparison with the cost of living 10 years before.  It is shame that the increment rates which has so much lengthier margin of next 10 years is kept par low as 3% when a justified rate of 5% is so much necessary with the rates the cost of everything are increasing.

One should consider that the life spans of human beings are such that in his entire service he is eligible for only 3 promotions.   A human being spends more than 35 percentages of his real and good time at office, another 35 percent for sleep (8 Hours of sleep are medical recommendations for human beings) and only the rest with his family.  After spending 10 years of his service at government office he was getting one promotion in the name of MACP.  Don’t you think it is such a long wait to get a small increase as far as lower grade employees are concerned?  Don’t you think there should be a revised pattern for the lower paid and the higher paid employee with respect to MACP is governed?  Look at the example an employee who got 1900 as GP after a long wait of 10 years get a poultry change of grade pay to Rs 2000 then again after waiting for another 10 more years gets a second MACP and the grade pay increases to 2400 and the last after another 10 years of service (When after 30 years he may be an old fellow) gets another MACP and moves to 2800 GP.  Is this a justifiable increase? , an increase of Rs 900 in grade after a span of 30 years of service is just rubbish.  This is the reason why all trade unions and all employees cry for help and kept on pressing for a CPC where all these differences could have been dealt nicely and resolved the differences from the lower paid to the highest paid.  The very change in MACP scheme to 8, 16, 24, 30 and 33 with five grade pays for the lowest grades Group –C won’t be giving much headaches to the deficit of Budget or the finance position rather than the ones that are enjoying the highest grade pays from 5400 onwards where the salary, allowances, scope of multitude of Promotion avenues along with the MACP makes the richer more and more richer.  The lower paid employees are denied any scope of good living and encouragements and even without any increase in the scope of MACP promotions and within the limits forcing forbenchmark for performance appraisal for MACP as well as for regular promotion is something that is like asking ant to take stone.

One more thought before winding up this discussion of the 7th Pay commission which itself looks as if a judgment of any Case file, as if the employees has asked for anything wrong in demand and whatever is given is by virtue of what is given during begging.  Where would the serving employees go after 20 years after they put up service in the Government field and they are denied the increments etc.  Even in private firms there is no sacking of employees who turn 20 years in the same company, only if his conduct is bad such things happen.  The payment also is huge comparing with the Government sector.  Those who put 20 years in the Government without the knowledge of the future that the 7th Pay Commission’s arrival will fasten their exit will only pray and hope such things doesn’t arise.  Even there is no formula for any Voluntary retirement schemes given by the Pay commission which simply seen as a draft policy as per the new Governments vision.  Just an afterthought, suppose if the Government thinks that the 7th Pay Commission report did not fulfill its criterion and research for the new pay system and the Government just negates its observation and constitutes another review panel, will the loss to the Government for forming the 7th Pay Commission and its entire expenditure including tours, food, accommodation  will be given back to the Government for giving such a report which is of no real value to the employees of PB-1, who takes lot of strain to meet the Government, even lose salary for Striking against the discrimination and biased salary parity between the lowest and the highest.  The entire goodness of salary hike goes to the highest and the most privileged.  There is an adage in Malayalam which says “Thallu chendaykum kashu Mararkum” which means the beating is for the “Chenda” a Musical instrument like a drum which gets all the beating and the remuneration the money goes to the “Marar” , the one who beats the Chenda.  Similarly the employees of the lowest grade made voice for the pay hike as it is needed so very badly but the entire rise of pay hike is going to the highest paid class of employees only.

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