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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Fund crisis: Tripura, Mizoram unsure of meeting 7th Pay Commission obligations

IANS  |  Agartala/Aizawl  October 18, 2016

 Congress-ruled and Left-ruled have said that they are not in a position to implement the 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC) recommendations for their employees.

To implement the 7th CPC, requires an additional Rs 2,500 crore, while requires an Rs 563.22 crore more annually.

"To implement the 7th CPC recommendations for government employees, the state government requires additional amount of at least Rs 2,500 crore annually," Finance Minister Bhanulal Saha told IANS.

"The state government is not averse to implementing... (But) currently the state... is facing a severe financial crunch. We are considering the demand," he added.

The minister said that the Centre had stopped much of its aid and changed the sharing pattern for the centrally-sponsored schemes (CSS). This had caused a net loss of Rs 1,356 crore in 2015-16.

He also said that the Centre had even stopped funding under normal central assistance, special plan assistance and special central assistance.

Besides, the fund flow under some major schemes was reduced by Rs 314.72 crore during 2015-16, he added.

"With regard to state government employees' payments, the state had received Rs 500 crore less in 2015-16 from the Union government despite its obligations," Saha said.

"We apprehend that in 2016-17, we may also get Rs 1,100 crore less funds from the central government," he said.

Saha said the government would move the Supreme Court challenging the High Court verdict which asked the state government to pay the pending 42 per cent dearness allowance (DA) to 2,09,000 state government employees and pensioners.

After the latest four per cent release on July 14, the DA of government employees and pensioners rose to 83 per cent, while that of the central government was at 125 per cent.

"We do not have sufficient funds to give the pending DA to the employees and pensioners. The state would seek intervention of the Supreme Court," Saha said.

"If we give one per cent more DA, the government would have to bear Rs 33 crore, and for 42 per cent, the state requires Rs 1,386 crore annually -- which is very difficult for the state government."

On a writ petition of an employees' organisation, affiliated to opposition Congress, the High Court had ordered the government to clear the pending DA dues to the employees, subject to availability of funds.

"If the state government clears the pending DA of the employees and pensioners, all developmental and repairing works would come to a halt," the minister said.

"The central government has also sealed the maximum limit (three per cent of GDP) of borrowing loan for carrying out development works up to Rs 1,570 crore," the minister said.

Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla also expressed his government's inability to execute the recommendations of the 7th CPC.

Quoting the Chief Minister, a senior finance official said that to implement the 7th CPC proposals, an additional outlay of Rs 563.22 crore was required annually.

The Federation of Government Employees and Workers -- an apex body of all the state government employees associations -- has been demanding implementation of the 7th CPC's recommendations.

"The financial burden on the state government would be too heavy to implement the 7th CPC proposals. Unless the Centre comes forward to help the state it would not be possible," the official quoted Lal Thanhawla as saying.
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