Despite cost cutting measures that included curbs on creation of new posts, the Centre estimates its staff strength to have jumped up by nearly 7 per cent to over 35 lakh in the current financial year.
According to the Interim Budget FY15, the Centre employs 35,45,988 workers in FY14 that is 6.87 per cent more than the 33,17,853 workers in FY13.
Budget documents reveal that this one of the sharpest increases in the number of Central government employees in a fiscal year. For instance, for FY15, the staff strength is estimated at 35,98,920 while for FY12, it was pegged at 34,50,217. Prior to this, the Centre’s workforce shot up by 7.8 per cent in FY11 to an estimated 34,00537 from 31,52,936 in the last fiscal.
Though the staff strength of one of the country’s largest employers — the Indian Railways has remained constant at 13.07 lakh for the last two years, ministries such as home affairs, departments of posts, revenue and atomic energy are estimated to have hired more than 20,000 workers in FY14.
While staff strength of the police under the ministry of home affairs is estimated to have increased by over 77,000 in 2013-14 while that of the department of revenue jumped by over 60,000.
Government officials point out that these numbers are estimates and recruitment is done on the basis of actual requirements of the department or ministry concerned. Accordingly, the Centre’s salary bill is estimated to have risen by over 13 per cent to Rs 12,48,61.14 crore in FY14 as against Rs 11,0428.43 crore in the previous fiscal. In FY15, the Budget estimates it to rise by 9.99 per cent.
However, the Centre’s pension bill, which includes both civilian and defence pensions, has been rising faster than its salary expenditure. Budget documents also reveals that pension payments are estimated at Rs 80,983 crore in FY15, increasing by 9.3 per cent of the pension bill of Rs 74,076 crore in the current fiscal.
“The main reason for this is that there is an increase in number of pensioners due to higher retirements and increased directly transfer government benefits into Aadhaar-linked bank accounts of beneficiaries using the UID platform,” according to Budget documents. While higher salary and pension payments is one of the factors behind the 8.3 per cent rise in non-plan spending in the Budget estimate for FY15 compared to the revised estimate for FY14, government expenditure on these heads is set to rise further. The Seventh Pay Commission will submit its report in 19 months and its recommendations will be effective from January 2016.