August 15, 2015 2:36:58 am
Employees of the Indian Railways have demanded the benefits of the One Rank, One Pension (OROP) policy if the Centre implements the scheme for defence services personnel. They have made this pitch in their discussions with the Seventh Pay Commission.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Shiva Gopal Mishra, general secretary of the All India Railwaymen’s Federation, the largest railway union in the country, acknowledged the demand. “The principle of OROP should be applicable to the railway employees also if the same is accepted for the defence services by the pay commission. We sympathise with their demand and feel it should be extended,” he said.
The railway unions had met the commission for oral evidence in March this year.
The demand could create complications for the Centre which has so far not been able to respond to the original demand from ex-servicemen. The specific mandate for the pay commission, however, does not include the examination of OROP even though its award will cover military personnel too. The railway employees have, however, made it clear to the commission that if there is any suggestion on OROP in the final report, then their demands should also be considered favourably.
The Commission has already overshot the time frame for submitting its report on a revised salary structure for central government employees, which was due in August. It is now likely to submit the report by September-end.
The demand by railway employees for OROP could lead to demands from other civilian services as well, even as the bill for meeting the demand from the defence services is still being firmed up. At 1.33 million, railway employees form the single largest chunk from among any ministry or department of central government staff. Their salary and allowance bill for 2015-16 is estimated at Rs 62,410 crore, or almost 42 per cent of the total bill of Rs 1,49,524 crore as per budget figures.
While the Seventh Pay Commission, in its internal deliberations, is understood to have not taken a favourable view of the OROP because of the financial implications, any formal examination of the same will have to depend on the government’s position on the issue. The government is now expected to set up a committee on the issue.
Overall, the commission has decided that the extent of rise in pay for all central government staff would, on average, be about 26 per cent. But here too, the commission is learnt to have favoured going back to the Fifth Pay Commission award of making pay scales attached to posts instead of retaining the innovative pay bands system introduced by the Sixth Pay Commission.
It has also decided to remove the slight edge in pay structure of IAS officers as compared to other central service officers.
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