Calling it the worst pay hike in the history of Independent India, the Congress has said that the Centre's recommendations on the Seventh Pay Commission were "disappointing".
"The pay hike is a mere 15% on the basic pay, compared to 23.5%, which is being falsely claimed by the Central Government. It is the lowest hike in last 70 years, ie since Independence," Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told ANI.
Asserting that the Congress has always stood for the workers of India, Surjewala said the pay hike reflected the mal-intent and lack of sincerity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA Government.
He further asserted that over 98 lakh central government employees felt disillusioned and let down by the Modi government's lopsided, short-charged and tardy implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission in the time of runaway inflation and high prices.
"Seventh Pay Commission was set by the Congress government led by Dr Manmohan Singh in September 2014. The then finance minister Chidambaram had announced that it will be implemented by January 2016. Incidentally, BJP had rejected in 2003 the Constitution of Fifth Pay Commission," he said.
Pointing out the grounds on which the Central Government employees are feeling short-charged and cheated, Surjewala said,
"Also, when the Sixth Pay Commission was implemented by the Congress government, it recommended a hike of 20%. But Congress government had given unilaterally a hike of over 40%. Here the Seventh Pay Commission recommended a hike of 14.29%, but Modi Government gave a pretence of 15%. Why this? Modi ji needs to answer," he added.
He further pointed out that the ratio between the lowest and the highest salary has increased instead of decreasing.
"Earlier the ratio was 1:12. The Employees' Federation demanded a ratio of 1:8. But Modi government has given a ratio of 1:14, meaning thereby, people in higher category will get higher salary and people in middle and lower category will get lower salary. Why this discrimination Modi ji against poor and ordinary employees?" he said.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley yesterday announced that the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission will be effective from 1 January, 2016.
The recommendations, which were approved by the cabinet on Wednesday, is likely to see a higher increase in the basic pay by nearly 15% for over one crore government employees and pensioners.
"Seventh Pay Commission has an annual burden of Rs one lakh two thousand crore, apart from which the arrears burden will likely increase by 12 thousand crore," said Jaitley.
"The minimum pay of govt. employees will increase to Rs 18,000 from existing of Rs 7,000," added Jaitley.
Adding to this, the minister said that the recommendations will see a recurring burden of Rs 72,800 crore additionally.
The implementation of new pay scales recommended by the Seventh Pay Commission will impact the remuneration of nearly 50 lakh central government employees and 58 lakh pensioners.
One of the key changes suggested by the pay commission has been the 'New Pay Structure', under which the existing system of pay bands and grade pay will be ejected and a new pay matrix will be brought in to bring about more transparency.
The panel headed by Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha was set up to study the recommendations of the pay commission headed by Justice AK Mathur.
The key recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission is a 23.55% increase in salaries, allowances and pension of central government employees and pensioners, which is estimated to put an additional burden of Rs 1.02 lakh crore on the exchequer annually or nearly 0.7% of GDP.