Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will leave for a four-day visit to Russia on June 20 which implies that he will not be present for the Cabinet meeting scheduled for Wednesday
A decision has been long pending on the revision of 7th Pay Commission allowances, including House Rent Allowance (HRA), and it seems the wait isn’t over yet. The Cabinet led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was reportedly going to take a call on the recommendations made by the Committee on Allowances for HRA under 7th Pay Commission this week. However, whether it will take a decision is not clear yet.
The government could finalise 7th Pay Commission allowances including HRA later this month. A committee led by finance secretary Ashok Lavasa has already submitted its report to the Cabinet and recommended HRA at 25-27 percent as against employees’ and pensioners’ demands of 30 percent.
Although the PM was to meet Jaitley and Lavasa yesterday evening to discuss his views on Pay Commission allowances, the decision will apparently take longer as Jaitley is leaving for an official trip to Russia today. He is expected to present the proposals regarding the said allowances before the Union Cabinet for approval sometime soon.
Since Jaitley is also looking after the Defence portfolio, he will leave for a four-day visit to Russia on June 20 which implies that he will not be present for the Cabinet meeting scheduled for Wednesday (June 21). He had to share proposals on allowance reforms mandated by the 7th Pay Commission, and modified later by the Committee on Allowances and Empowered Committee of Secretaries.
This will be the third time the decision is delayed. Earlier, the PM was away on a four-nation foreign visit during the first week of June. Central government employees were disappointed once again last week when the finance minister was away in South Korea. The matter has now been pending for about a year and the hurdles just don’t seem to end.
The 7th Pay Commission had recommended that house rent allowance be paid at the rate of 24 per cent, 16 per cent and 8 per cent of the new basic pay, depending on the type of city. It also recommended that the rate of HRA be revised to 27 per cent, 18 per cent and 9 per cent when DA crosses 50 per cent, and further revised to 30 per cent, 20 per cent and 10 per cent when it crosses 100 per cent. Employee unions have demanded HRA at the rate of 30 per cent, 20 per cent and 10 per cent.
The commission had also recommended that of a total of 196 allowances, 52 be abolished altogether and 36 be abolished as separate identities by subsuming them in other allowances.