Published On: Mon, May 14th, 2018

7th Pay Commission: How Karnataka election could affect central employees

New Delhi: The Karnataka assembly elections result may be taking place whole India, but the vote could have huge ramifications for central government employees.

When central government employees wake up tomorrow, a momentous decision of Karnataka assembly elections will have been made, and it’s going to affect all employees.

The pay hike, raising retirement age and provision of guaranteed pension and family pension to all the NPS (National Pension Scheme) covered employees, irrespective of their date of appointment are all likely to be affected.

The Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s Congress claims that its will win enough assembly seats in Tuesday to form the next government. If the BJP loses, it will be difficult for the party to win the general election 2019.

Voting in the Karnataka assembly election on took place on Saturday. Six out of eight major exit polls showed the BJP winning the most number of seats, whereas the seven polls predicted a hung assembly, with neither the BJP nor the Congress getting to the simple majority mark of 112 seats. In any case, the Janata Dal (Secular) will be the kingmaker after the results, according to political observers.

Karnataka government employees received a pre-poll bonanza from the Congress-led government.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had announced a 30% pay hike for its 6.2 lakh employees and pensioners in the budget and introduce holidays on alternate Saturdays in government offices.

According to a statement issued by the chief minister’s office, the revision of pay and pension is to come into effect from 1 July 2017 with benefits paid from 1 April 2018, one month before the assembly elections.

These sops show the neglect of many burning problems of government employees for years, and then the low attempt to win them over just before elections. It is nothing short of bribery.

If the Congress wins Karnataka, central BJP government can follow the Karnataka example in taking its employees’ problem to win the 2019 general elections.

It will also help revive positive sentiments in the party ahead of the Assembly elections in BJP-ruled Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh later this year.

Central government employees unions are demanding for hike in pay and fitment factor after implementation of 7th pay commission recommendations. They also agitated for restoration of General Provident Fund (GPF) with old pension and family pension system which was replaced with contribution-based National Pension System (NPS) in 2004.

The demand for extending the retirement age from 60 to 62 years was pending with central government since long.

The unions had called off their indefinite strike on July 11, 2016 over pay hike and other demands following the promise of the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on June 30, 2016 to do it positively.

Jaitley also reiterated his promise in Rajya Sabha on July 19, 2016 but the promised “pay hike” that had not arrived even after 22 months.

The unions also went on strike several times over withdrawal of the new national pension scheme (NPS), which came into effect from October 2004.

The Manmohan Singh led Congress government had reportedly considered enhancing the retirement age further to 62 just before the general elections in 2014, but dropped the move and Congress was defeated in that general elections.

“The government will consider the matters,” Finance Ministry sources told The Sen Times today when asked whether the issues were under consideration of the government, in view of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh assembly elections later this year, and the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

“The BJP-led central government is mulling to implement the pay hike for central government employees,” the sources said.

“Besides, government will also consider to abolish NPS system and to implement guaranteed pension and family pension to all employees. Extension of working life by raising retirement age from the present 60 to 62 years is under consideration in the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT). The decisions of the three issues may be taken to achieve the aim at luring central government employees to turn voters in support of BJP,” the sources added.

Madhya Pradesh BJP government recently increasing the age of retirement to 62 years from 60 for its employees as pre-poll sop.

Chhattisgarh BJP government already increased the age of retirement to 62 years from 60 for its employees in 2013 ahead of state assembly polls that year and BJP won the polls.

At last, when central government employees wake up tomorrow, a momentous decision of Karnataka assembly elections will have been made, and it’s going to affect all employees.

TST

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