Seventh pay commission announced, no decision yet on separate panel for Army

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New Delhi:  The government today announced the seventh central pay panel to decide on salary hikes for over 80 lakh government employees and pensioners, a move seen by many as a major sop ahead of five state elections later this year and national polls due by May.

Around 50 lakh government employees and 35 lakh pensioners stand to benefit when the seventh pay commission's recommendations are implemented, most likely from January 2016.

Sources suggest that India's armed forces are likely to have their own pay panel for the first time since independence, but no decision has been taken yet.

The armed forces, however, reportedly favour their own representative on the central panel instead of a separate panel.

All three military chiefs had written to the Defence Minister last year, asking for pay parity with civilian employees. The armed forces have also been demanding that servicemen of the same rank and same period of service should get the same pension.

In a three-page letter to Defence Minister AK Antony written on Sept 13, Air Chief NAK Browne had said, "The services have always felt the need for having representation in the pay panel as a Central Pay Commission may not be expected to fully grasp the unique challenges of military service."

In June last year, Mr Antony had reportedly written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on "growing discontent among the services personnel due to the anomalies in payment and salaries." He suggested that corrective action be taken or "things may take a bad turn."

Government salaries had been substantially hiked under the sixth pay commission, which cost the taxpayer some Rs 12,561 crore in 2008-2009. The revised pays fixed the salary of the senior-most official, the Cabinet Secretary, at Rs 90,000 a month and the minimum entry level salary at Rs 6,660.

The government constitutes a Pay Commission almost every ten years to revise the pay scales of its employees.


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