New Delhi | Jagran Business Desk: In a major relief to its employees amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Punjab government has increased the basic pay of its employees by a minimum of 15 per cent and restore certain allowances, a move that is expected to cost Rs 1,500 crore to the exchequer. With the hike in basic pay, the average increase in salary/pension of government employees has gone up to Rs 1.05 lakh per annum.

This is as compared with Rs 79,250 per annum earlier that the employees were getting after the 6th Pay Commission's recommendations were accepted with effect from July 1, 2021, it added. It had led to a Rs 4,700 crore bonanza for the employees. The latest decision to raise the pay over and above the basic pay as of December 31, 2015, was taken at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

He also directed all ministers, administrative secretaries and heads of departments to talk to their respective employees for early redressal of their grievances. Employees belonging to several departments have been agitating against the state government over certain recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission.

The CM appreciated the efforts of Cabinet Minister Brahm Mahindra and others in resolving the grievances of the 2.85 lakh employees and 3.07 lakh pensioners, who will benefit from Thursday's decisions. This will cost the government exchequer a total salary and pension bill of Rs 42,673 crore per annum.

Singh pointed out that all operational allowances have not only been retained but also doubled in absolute terms over what they were being paid earlier. The Cabinet decision has restored common allowances, such as fixed medical allowance, mobile allowance, conveyance allowance and city compensatory allowance (CCA), at the revised rates (2.59 X 0.8) with effect from July 1, 2021.

The Cabinet also approved treating of non-practicing allowance (NPA) admissible to doctors at the rate of 20 per cent of revised basic pay as pay, with secretariat pay for employees (working in Punjab Civil Secretariat) to be doubled with effect from July, 2021 and also to be treated as Pay.

Government doctors had been agitating against recommendation of the Punjab's Sixth Pay Commission de-linking non-practicing allowance from the basic pay. Employees covered under the National Pension Scheme have now been given cover under family pension in case of death-in-harness, it said.

The Cabinet also decided that service rendered during the probation period shall be counted for the purpose of assured career progression (ACP), as already being done by the Department of General Administration.

The decisions taken by the state's Cabinet are based on the recommendations of a committee of the group of ministers, headed by Local Government Minister Brahm Mohindra, to consider the demands of various categories of employees.

(With Agency Inputs)

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan