The Union Cabinet on June 28 cleared all the 7th Pay Commission Allowances with 34 amendments to the recommendations. This move will impact close to 50 lakh government employees and will result in what the government calls a “modest increase of Rs 1448.23 crore per annum over the projections made by the 7th Central Pay Commission. The commission had its projected the additional financial implication on allowances at Rs 29,300 crore per annum. The combined additional financial implication is hence estimated at Rs 30748.23 crore per annum.
Here are the highlights of Cabinet approval on 7th Pay Commission Allowances:
1. Number of allowances recommended to be abolished and subsumed:
The government has decided not to abolish 12 of the 53 allowances which were recommended to be abolished by the 7th Central Pay Commission. The decision to retain these has been taken for specific functional requirements of Railways, Posts and Scientific Departments such as Space and Atomic Energy. It has also been decided that three of the 37 allowances recommended to be subsumed by the 7th CPC will continue as separate identities considering the unique nature of these allowances. The rates of these allowances have also been enhanced as per the formula adopted by the 7th Central Pay Commission. This will benefit over one lakh employees belonging to specific categories in Railways, Posts, Defence and Scientific Departments.
2. House Rent Allowance
HRA is currently paid at 30 per cent for X (population of 50 lakh and above), 20 per cent for Y (5 to 50 lakh) and 10 per cent for Z (below 5 lakh) category of cities. The panel recommended reduction in the existing rates to 24 per cent for X, 16 per cent for Y and 8 per cent for Z category of cities. As the HRA at the reduced rates may not be sufficient for employees falling in lower pay bracket, it has been decided that HRA shall not be less than Rs 5400, Rs 3600 and Rs 1800 for X, Y and Z category of cities respectively. This floor rate has been calculated at 30 per cent, 20 per cent and 10 per cent of the minimum pay of Rs 18000. This will benefit more than 7.5 lakh employees belonging to Levels 1 to 3.
The panel also recommended that HRA rates will be revised upwards in two phases to 27 per cent, 18 per cent and 9 per cent when DA crosses 50 per cent and to 30 per cent, 20 per cent and 10 per cent when DA crosses 100 per cent. Keeping in view the current inflation trends, it was decided that these rates will be revised upwards when DA crosses 25 per cent and 50 per cent respectively. This will benefit all employees who do not reside in government accommodation and get HRA.
3. Siachen Allowance
The 7th pay panel had placed Siachen Allowance in the RH-Max cell of the R&H Matrix with two slabs of Rs 21,000 and Rs 31,500. Recognising the extreme nature of risk and hardship faced by those deployed on a continuous basis in Siachen, it was decided to enhance the rates of Siachen Allowance from the existing rate from Rs 14,000 to Rs 30,000 per month for Jawans & JCOs (Level 8 and below) and from Rs 21,000 to Rs 42,500 per month for Officers (Level 9 and above). With this, Siachen Allowance will become more than twice the existing rates. It will benefit all the soldiers and officers of Indian Army who are posted in Siachen.
4. Dress Allowance
The different types of allowances paid for provisioning and maintenance of uniforms/outfits have been rationalised and subsumed into a newly proposed Dress Allowance. This will be paid annually in four slabs of Rs 5000, Rs 10,000, Rs 15,000 and Rs 20,000 per annum for various category of employees. Nurses will continue to get this on a monthly basis in view of high maintenance and hygiene requirements. The government has decided to pay higher rate of Dress Allowance to SPG personnel keeping in view the existing rates of Uniform Allowance paid to them. The rates for specific clothing for different categories of employees will be governed separately.
5. Tough Location Allowance
Some allowances based on geographical location such as Special Compensatory (Remote Locality) Allowance (SCRLA), Sunderban Allowance and Tribal Area Allowance have been subsumed in Tough Location Allowance. The areas under TLA have been classified into three categories and the rates will be governed as per different cells of R&H Matrix and will be in the range of Rs 1000 – Rs 5300 per month. The pay commission had recommended that TLA will not be admissible with Special Duty Allowance (SDA) payable in North-East, Ladakh and the Islands. The Cabinet has decided that employees will be given the option to avail of the benefit of SCRLA at pre-revised rates along with SDA at revised rates.
6. Recommendations in respect of some important allowances paid to all employees:
(i) Rate of Children Education Allowance (CEA) has been increased from Rs 1500 per month / child (maximum two) to Rs 2250 per month / child (maximum two). Hostel Subsidy will also go up from Rs 4500 per month to Rs 6750 per month.
(ii) Existing rates of Special Allowance for Child Care for Women with Disabilities has been doubled from Rs 1500 per month to Rs 3000 per month.
(iii) Higher Qualification Incentive for Civilians has been increased from Rs 2000 – Rs 10000 (Grant) to Rs 10000 – Rs 30000 (Grant).
7. Recommendations for allowances paid to Uniformed Services: Defence, CAPFs, Police, Indian Coast Guard and Security Agencies
i. The commission has recommended abolition of Ration Money Allowance (RMA) and free ration to Defence officers posted in peace areas. It has been decided that Ration Money Allowance will continue to be paid to them and directly credited to their account. It will benefit 43,000 Defence officers.
ii. Technical Allowance (Tier – I & II) paid to Defence officers belonging to technical branches will now be merged with Higher Qualification Incentive for Defence personnel. “In view of the specific requirements of Defence Forces for the Defence personnel to keep pace with changing Defence requirements and technologies, the Government has decided not to discontinue Technical Allowance. The list of courses for these allowances will be reviewed to remain in sync with the latest technical advancements in Defence,” the notification said.
iii. The facility of one additional free railway warrant (Leave Travel Concession) now granted to personnel of Defence Forces serving in field/high altitude/CI Ops shall also be extended to all personnel of CAPFs and the Indian Coast Guard.
iv. Rates of High Altitude Allowance granted to Defence Forces and CAPF personnel will be governed by the R&H Matrix. The rates will go up from Rs 810 – Rs 16800 per month to Rs 2700 – Rs 25000 per month.
v. The rates of Field Area Allowances (Modified Field, Field & Highly Active) will now be governed by the R&H Matrix. The rates will go up from Rs 1200 – Rs 12600 per month to Rs 6000 – Rs 16900 per month. Classification of field areas for this allowance will be done by Ministry of Defence for Defence personnel and by Ministry of Home Affairs for CAPFs.
vi. The rates of Counter Insurgency Ops (CI Ops) Allowance, granted to Defence and CAPFs while deployed in counter – insurgency operations will be governed by the R&H Matrix. The rates will go up from Rs 3000 – Rs 11700 per month to Rs 6000 – Rs 16900 per month.
vii. Rates of MARCOS and Chariot Allowance granted to marine commandos of Indian Navy will be governed by the R&H Matrix. The rates will go up from Rs 10500 – Rs 15750 per month to Rs 17300 – Rs 25000 per month.
viii. Rates of Sea Going Allowance granted to personnel of Indian Navy will be governed by the R&H Matrix. The 12-hour conditionality for determining the eligibility of Sea Going Allowance has been reduced to four hours. The rates will go up from Rs 3000 – Rs 7800 per month to Rs 6000 – Rs 10500 per month.
ix. Rates of Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA) Allowance granted to CRPF personnel deployed in Naxal hit areas will be governed by the R&H Matrix. The rates will go up from Rs 8400 – Rs 16800 per month to Rs 17300 – Rs 25000 per month.
x. Rates of Flying Allowance granted to flying branch and technical officers of Defence Forces will be governed by the R&H Matrix. The rates will go up from Rs 10500 – Rs 15750 per month to Rs 17300 – Rs 25000 per month. It has been extended mutatis mutandis to BSF Air Wing also.
xi. Rates of Higher Qualification Incentive for Defence Personnel have been increased from Rs 9000 – Rs 30000 (Grant) to Rs 10000 – Rs 30000 (Grant).
xii. Aeronautical Allowance, now paid only to personnel of Indian Navy, has been extended to Indian Coast Guard. The rate of this allowance has been increased from Rs 300 per month to Rs 450 per month.
xiii. Rates of Test Pilot and Flight Test Engineer Allowance will be governed by the R&H Matrix. The rates will go up from Rs 1500 / Rs 3000 per month to Rs 4100 / Rs 5300 per month.
xiv. Rates of Territorial Army Allowance have been increased from Rs 175 – Rs 450 per month to Rs 1000 – Rs 2000 per month.
xv. Ceilings of Deputation (Duty) Allowance for Defence Personnel have been increased from Rs 2000 – Rs 4500 per month to Rs 4500 – Rs 9000 per month.
xvi. Rates of Detachment Allowance have been increased Rs 165 – Rs 780 per day to Rs 405 – Rs 1170 per day.
xvii. Rates of Para Jump Instructor Allowance have been increased from Rs 2700/3600 per month to Rs 6000 / 10500 per month.
xviii. Special Incident / Investigation / Security Allowance has been rationalised. Rates for Special Protection Group (SPG) have been revised to 55 per cent and 27.5 per cent of Basic Pay for operational and non-operational duties respectively.
8. Recommendations in respect of some important allowances paid to Indian Railways
i. Rates of Additional Allowance have been increased from Rs 500 / 1000 per month to Rs 1125 / 2250 per month. This has also been extended to Loco Pilot Goods and Senior Passenger Guards also at Rs 750 per month.
ii. In view of strenuous nature of the job, new Allowance namely Special Train Controller’s Allowance of Rs 5000 per month for Train Controllers of Railways has been introduced.
9. Recommendations in respect of some important allowances paid to Nurses & Ministerial Staffs of Hospital
i. Existing rate of Nursing Allowance has been increased from Rs 4800 per month to Rs 7200 per month.
ii. Rate of Operation Theatre Allowance has been increased from Rs 360 per month to Rs 540 per month.
iii. Rates of Hospital Patient Care Allowance / Patient Care Allowance have been increased from Rs 2070 – Rs 2100 per month to Rs 4100 – Rs 5300 per month. The 7th Central Pay Commission recommendations modified to the extent that it will be granted to Ministerial staff also.
10. Recommendations in respect of some important allowances paid to Pensioners
Rate of Fixed Medical Allowance (FMA) for Pensioners has been increased from Rs 500 per month to Rs 1000 per month. This will benefit more than five lakh central government pensioners not availing CGHS facilities.
i. The rate of Constant Attendance Allowance granted on 100 per cent disablement has been increased from Rs 4500 per month to Rs 6750 per month.
11. Allowances to Scientific Departments
i. The recommendations of 7th Central Pay Commission to abolish Launch Campaign Allowance and Space Technology Allowance has not been accepted. In order to incentivize the supporting employees in Space and Atomic Energy sector, the rate of Launch Campaign and Space Technology Allowance has been increased from Rs 7500 per annum to Rs 11250 per annum. Professional Update Allowance for non-gazetted employees of Department of Atomic Energy will also continue to be paid at the enhanced rate of Rs 11250 per annum.
ii. The 7th Central Pay Commission had placed Antarctica Allowance, paid to the Scientists and other members undertaking the expedition to Antarctica under the Indian Antarctic programme, in the RH-Max Cell of the R&H Matrix. The rates of the RH-Max Cell recommended by the 7th Central Pay Commission were less than the existing rates of Antarctica Allowance which is currently paid on per day basis. Considering the specific nature of these expeditions and to provide an appropriate increase in rates, Government has decided to keep Antarctica Allowance out of the R&H Matrix and the allowance will continue to be paid on per day basis as per existing practice. The Rates of Antarctica Allowance will go up from Rs1125 per day (Summers) and Rs1688 per day (Winters) to Rs1500 per day (Summers) and Rs2000 per day (Winters).
12. Allowances paid to Department of Posts
i. The recommendations of 7th Central Pay Commission to abolish Cycle Allowance, granted mainly to Postmen and trackmen in Railways, has not been accepted. Keeping in view the specific requirement of this allowance for postmen in Department of Posts and trackmen in Railways, the cycle allowance is retained and the rates have been doubled from Rs 90 per month to Rs 180 per month. This will benefit more than 22,200 employees.