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Punjab accepts recommendations of its sixth pay panel

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The Punjab government on Friday decided to implement a majority of the recommendations of its sixth Pay Commission with effect from January 1, 2016, a move that will benefit over five lakh serving and retired employees.

According to a statement, the minimum pay for state government employees will increase from Rs 6,950 to Rs 18,000 per month.

The disbursal of salaries and pensions under the new structure will begin from July 1.

Chaired by former IAS officer Jai Singh Gill, the commission was appointed by the previous state government on February 24, 2016. It submitted its report on April 30, 2021.

The state government’s decision has come months before Punjab goes to the Assembly polls next year.

“The move will benefit over 5.4 lakh serving and retired state government employees,” the statement said after the cabinet under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh decided to accept the majority of the recommendations of the Pay Commission.

“With this decision, taken today at the state cabinet meeting, the Amarinder Singh government has fulfilled another major promise to people, despite the precarious financial health of the state,” said the statement.

The implementation will entail 2.59 times increase in salaries and pensions over the previous pay commission recommendations, with an annual increment rate of three per cent, resulting in pay scales of all existing employees continuing to be higher than in neighbouring Haryana, the statement said.

The decision will put an additional burden of Rs 8,637 crore on the exchequer with prospective additional net annual burden expected to be nearly Rs 4,700 crore, it added.

The expected amount of arrears from January 1, 2016 to June 30, 2021 is nearly Rs 13,800 crore, the statement said.

Under the new structure, the minimum pension will go up from Rs 3,500 to Rs 9,000 per month. The minimum family pension will increase to Rs 9,000 per month.

Divorcees or widows will be eligible for family pension.

The government has also accepted restoration of the commutation of pension to 40 per cent with effect from July 1, 2021.

Death-cum-retirement gratuity (DCRG) has been enhanced from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh and the existing rates of ex-gratia have been doubled.

Both the DCRG and ex-gratia have been extended to employees covered under the New Pension Scheme.

House rent allowance and other benefits have been rationalised under the new structure. Special allowance to chowkidars and drivers has been doubled.

A higher education allowance, in the form of a lump sum incentive to all employees who attain higher educational qualification during the course of employment and in the field directly relevant to an employee’s job, is being introduced by the government.

New employees will, however, be paid as per the central government pay scales, which now apply to all new recruits.

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