7th CPC: The Politics of Aspirations

Somprakash Dhar

The new pay revision structure, "Tripura State Pay Matrix 2018" has been announced by the present Tripura state government. But it seems this particular pay structure is not the aim what employees & pensioners of the state government, employees and workers of state Govt. establishments, PSUs and other organisations were looking for! If one can freely roam his eyes then obviously the smog of confusion and disappointment may cover the larger part of the scene. Why had this happened? Well to find the answer, we must have to travel through different levels of separate scenarios.

l What is 7th CPC?

The 7th CPC or the 7th Central Pay Commission was formed by previous UPA government on February, 2014. Headed by Justice A K Mathur, the commission proposed a new pay structure for Central Govt. employees on 19th November, 2015, which was scheduled to take effect from 1st January, 2016. Now as per that commission it was proposed that the hike in pay for central govt. employees might be at 23.55% with the allowances. As per this proposal pay will go up by 16%; increase in allowances will be 63%; increase in pension will be 24%.Minimum basic pay for central govt staff has been recommended at Rs 18,000 and the maximum limit was fixed at Rs 2.25 lakh per month. As per the proposal a fitment factor of 2.57 will be applied across all levels in the pay matrices. The rate of annual increment is being retained at 3 percent. HRA be paid at the rate of 24 percent, 16 percent and 8 percent of the new Basic Pay for Class X, Y and Z cities respectively. The 7CPC also recommends that the rate of HRA will be revised to 27 percent, 18 percent and 9 percent respectively when DA crosses 50 percent, and further revised to 30 percent, 20 percent and 10 percent when DA crosses 100 percent. Gratuity has been enhanced from ₹10 lakh to ₹20 lakh. The ceiling on gratuity may be raised by 25 percent whenever DA rises by 50 percent.

l Tripura State Pay Matrix 2017

It was a long demand of Tripura state govt. employees to implement the '7th CPC' recommendations for the state of Tripura too. However, the last govt. lead by Left front was failed to do the same. It created a large amount of dissatisfaction among the govt. employees of the state. The then left front govt. announced "Tripura State Pay Matrix 2017" on June 2017. As per the notifications from the then state govt. the date of effect of the revision of pay was fixed from 1st April, 2017. As per that pay structure it has been announced that this pay matrix has to be implemented on all 21 levels of state govt. employees. The uniform fitment factor of 2.25 has been approved for all employees under state govt. One has to calculate his salary by multiplying the basic pay of his with that fitment factor i.e. 2.25. It has been clearly mentioned in the notice that this calculations has to done without the D.A. Increase in different allowances have also been announced at that time. But this was not as per 7th CPC recommendations! And the state government never claimed so. The anger was reacting like the hidden fire under ashes among the state government employees. Although there was a direct hike of around 20% in the salaries has been marked, that does not scratched the minds of common people! Actually it was not the 7th CPC and here this particular term 7th CPC or 'Saptom' is like a brand in the category of salaries! It worked in different way. The bugle calls have started for state assembly elections in Tripura. Massive power of promotion from the side of the then opposition BJP started transferring the word 'Saptom' into a reality for this tiny state.

l The Promises

The promises were loud and clear. 7th CPC recommendations have been presented as one of the primary aim to be reached if BJP will come in to the power of state government. The electoral behavior of Tripura is much different than the other larger parts of rest of India. Here common people use to judge first. They judge the work, the attitudes, the path which have they crossed for last five years and all the reflections use to sketch the voting machines with a vast image of experiences. Different political parties use to make several promises but this time it was something new for Tripura. From the so called 'Vision Document' of saffron side to almost in every mass gatherings, rallies, social media promotions and all other possible mediums to connect the common voters, have ultimately filled with this term '7th CPC' with few other major promises to be kept if BJP will come in to the power. It was incumbency factor obviously, but this time the particular factor has reshaped its structure with hopes and aspirations for something new in the state. Supreme party leaders from BJP visited the state for enormous time before last assembly elections. They all said the same thing again and again. This particular promise of implementing '7th CPC' was the word of party's all India chief Amit Bhai Shah at 'Vijay Sankalp Rally' (an election rally) of Udaipur on 7th January, 2018. Obviously when a party chief is promising something in front of thousands of people, it means it has some weight to measure. People started visualizing the same in fact! Obviously the '7th CPC' is not the only reason behind the polar change in political frame from red to saffron in Tripura. But yes, one cannot deny that this promise of implementation of '7th CPC' was worked like a brain in human body, especially in the minds of state govt. employees.

l The Implementation
On 9th October, 2018 the present coalition government of Tripura lead by BJP-IPFT announced the "revision of Pay/Wages/Pensions". Yes, it is revision of pay. Nowhere in the government notifications said that the announced pay structure is same as the 7th CPC recommendations. Why not? Because there are major changes have been traced after the detailed notification had reached. Termed as, "Tripura State Pay matrix-2018" will be in effect from 1st October, 2018. No, it is not being implemented from 1st January, 2016 as per 7th CPC recommendations. It has been clearly mentioned in the notification that this Matrix will replace "Tripura State Pay Matrix

2017", which was prepared by using multiplication factor of '2.25'. This multiplication factor shall be raised to the level of multiplication factor of 2.57, generally, in "Tripura State Pay Matrix 2018". The fitment factor has been raised for .32 (2.57-2.25). But in some cases it is not 2.57 too! As per government notice, it is very important to maintain the parity with the 7th CPC recommendations. As a result few of the levels have faced the raised fitment factor of below 2.57 i.e. not .32 also. Now the question arises whether '7th CPC' means only the hike of the fitment factor by .32!  The clear answer is NO. The notification clearly said that there will be no change in the existing rates of allowances. The minimum basic pay is being raised to 16000 Rs. for group-D employees. However it is 18000 for Group-C employees. Moreover no announcement of gratuity has been made. The difference in DA between state and central government employees has not been abolished by declaring the hike in the same category. Many schemes and projects like Sharba Shikhha (Education for all); different bodies of PSUs etc. are still out of this newly announced pay matrix. Only by raising the fitment factor by .32 is only a simple hike of few thousand rupees in many levels of pay matrix and obviously not doubling the salary in any scenario to the respective levels.

l Vision: A Dream or Hallucination 

Well, when you are using MS word in computers, while typing if you will right click on a word, it shows different options with 'Synonyms'. The word 'Vision' has many synonym words. Two of those are 'Dream' and 'Hallucination'. Now it is may be a co-miracle that in the case of '7th CPC' both of these words, 'Dream' and 'Hallucination' may be appropriate for Tripura, obviously as per present circumstances. 'Dream' may be the first choice, because right now there is no possible way can be found to reach at that goal to implement '7th CPC' recommendations for the salary of state govt. employees. Situation can be changed and may be it will be possible after few months or years. The use of word 'Hallucination' here in this perspective is actually a bit conceptual. The geographical location of Tripura and the physical characteristics created huge problems in the way of smooth operations regarding establishment of large heavyweight industries. Although this state is having precious resources like natural gas, exploration is not upto the mark as per the development crossroads. Without generating considerable revenue, it is really difficult for any state government to go with such kind of huge expenditure framework for implementation of '7th CPC'. The geopolitical importance regarding the Indo-Bangla relations, Tripura is playing a key role for last many years. This can be a significant node for this small state to boost up the economic activities, which may ultimately change the revenue generation structure for the state government.

But for now, '7th CPC' is turned in to a mere 'myth' for this small state, until state government announces some fresh orders for revision of pay structure again.

Note: The necessary references have been collected from different Government, Non-government websites, published notices, news articles etc.

Author's Identity:
Somprakash is a Ph.D. Research Scholar of Geo-Politics in Tripura University and a freelance writer too. 

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