Employees of Punjab government might have to wait longer to get arrears

Employees of Punjab government might have to wait longer than they expect to get arrears due to them as per recommendations of Sixth Pay Commission. The issue generated heat in Vidhan Sabha on Thursday as it became amply clear that there was a huge question mark on the Rs 3,000 crore required to dispense all the arrears for which there was no provision in this year’s budget.

The issue was raised by Sunil Jakhar, Ajit Inder Singh Mofer and Rajinder Kaur Bhattal of Congress after finance minister Manpreet Badal’s clarifications on budget left no doubt that the government was in no mood to even consider giving arrears to employees this year.

Attacking the government for its failure, Sunil Jakhar said, "The government is claiming to improve its fiscal deficit situation but it is at the cost of employees who are not being retired and given extensions so it does not have to pay their gratuity and other benefits. No employment is being generated because it will mean more liabilities for the government. Beyond acknowledging that arrears would burden the state with Rs 3,000 crore, finance minister Manpreet Badal has been absolutely silent on when they would be dispensed. This clearly means that the government is backtracking on its commitment and trying to push it for the next government to deal with."

Ajit Inder Singh Mofer, while raising the issue, said, "IAS and IPS officers have been given their arrears from central funds, but what about the common man, who needs money even more."

Giving clarifications on budget, the FM said that the share of centrally sponsored schemes in the state amounted to Rs 1,950 crore, which, if added to the state budget, raised it to over to Rs 11,000 crore.

He said the emphasis in the budget was on irrigation, power, urban development, education and nutrition.

However, the FM was silent on questions raised by Jakhar on the issue of productivity bonus recommended by Sukhbir-Kalia Committee. "This bonus is like a backdoor entry to the farmers’ pockets. The government will take payments of electricity bills and can stop giving reimbursements any time. It is not clear when they will reimburse in the first place and where will that money come from since the committee’s recommendations have fallen hugely short of expectations. It was projected that Rs 4,000 crore will be generated but only Rs 2,600 crore will be garnered by the FM’s own admission."