In what could mean a blow to the employees, the Group of Experts led by Montek Singh Ahluwalia has batted for the state adopting tough measures like a temporary pay cut for its employees across categories, giving only Central pay scales, apart from pushing for enhancement of professional tax.
The expert group says that “the government should consider deferring the payment of salaries of all categories of employees by varying percentages in line with several other states” to deal with the resources problem.
“We note that the government has deferred the payment of dearness allowances to the state employees and is currently lagging the Central DA rate by 16 per cent on old scales. Given the grim fiscal scenario, it may become necessary not to make payment of the deferred DA or arrears when moving to a new scale,” says the report.
Only central pay scales
Stating that Punjab’s pay scales are much higher than the Centre, the group has recommended that in the Sixth Pay Commission (likely to submit its report soon), the state should implement only the central pay scales for all future employees.
“The higher pay scales of the existing employees need not be reduced but they should not receive any additional payments until the Central pay scales catch up with the current pay.”
Enhance ceiling for professional tax
Touching another controversial issue in the state, the group has recommended the state push Centre to enhance the ceiling of professional tax from Rs 2,500 per year to Rs 20,000. Punjab levies a professional tax of Rs 200 per month on professionals in the state. The GoE argues that the ceiling of Rs 2,500 was fixed in 1988 and needs to be revised by Centre.
Avoid police recruitments for next few years
Pointing out that the police to population ratio is much higher in Punjab than in other states, the experts’ group notes that additional contingents of police should not be raised and fresh recruitments should be avoided for the next few years.
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