With an eye on the 2019 parliament and state assembly elections, Maharashtra announced a New Year bonanza on Tuesday: It would implement the 7th Pay Commission's recommendations for all government employees.
At a cabinet meeting, presided over by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, cleared the decision to hike the salaries and related allowances, and entail an additional annual burden of Rs 14,000 crore on the exchequer.
The bonanza will be reaped by around 20.50 lakh (2.05 million) government servants including officers, employees, teachers from unaided shools and from Zilla Parishad employees, Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar informed the media.
The government will have to shell out around Rs 7,731 crore annually as arrears to implement the 7th Pay Commission.
The much-delayed decision, to be implemented from January 1, 2019, will take retrospective effect from January 1, 2016 (36 months) and all employees will get salaries as per the revised pay-scales from their February 1 pay packets.
The three-year arrears, totalling to around Rs 38,655 crore, due to the employees will be ploughed directly into their provident fund accounts in five equal annual instalments from the next fiscal 2019-2020, he added.
The employees shall also be entitled to outstanding of dearness allowance (DA) for the past 14 months, the minister said.
As per available official estimates, there will be an average increase of around Rs 4,000-Rs 5,000 for Class IV employees, Rs 5,000-Rs 8,000 for Class III staffers, and between Rs 9,000-Rs 14,000 for Class II grade and Class I officers.
Accordingly employees falling in Group D will get revised basic salaries of around Rs 15,000 per month and those in Group C will get in the range of Rs.18000 per month.
The state government had earmarked a sum of Rs 10,000 crore in the state budget for 2018-2019 to revise the pay-scales of the employees.
Mungantiwar added that pensioners in the age group of 80-85 years will get a 10 per cent hike in their monthly pension, 15 per cent for those in 85-90 age bracket, 20 percent for the 90-95 group, 25 percent for the 95-100 group and 50 percent for those who are 100 and above age group.
Currently, there are as many as 362 pensioners in the state in the 100 years above category who will get the maximum benefits of the revised pension rules as per the 7th Pay Commission, he said.
Various unions of state government employees had gone on a 3-day strike in August to press for the implementation of the 7th Pay Commission recommendations and other demands.