Mumbai, June 27: Close to 50 lakh central government employees wait with bated breath to hear some news of a hike, as the Union Cabinet meets today to discuss and review the allowance structure, as recommended by the Seventh Pay Commission. Earlier reports had suggested that the Cabinet will mostly decide in the favor of the employees’ and grant them a hike in allowances, as per their expectations. Today’s verdict will put to rest a suspense that has been building up, ever since the first meeting of the Union Cabinet this month.

Union leaders representing the central government employees had earlier expressed confidence about the impending allowance hikes more than those recommended than the Seventh Pay Commission, on the back of repeated government promises. According to media reports on Wednesday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is expected to table the report on allowances in front of the Cabinet today. Besides revising the allowance structure, the matter of hike in House Rent Allowance (HRA) of employees is also likely to be discussed.

It’s pertinent to mention that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has just returned from his US tour, will also attend the meet. A report in India Today said that Jaitley had met with the PM before he left for his crucial America visit, and the latter had expressed his desire to decide the status of the allowances of central government employees, without any further delay. The Cabinet had cleared the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission in June last year, but the issue of allowances remained controversial.

The Commission had recommended that 53 out of the total 196 allowances be completely done away with, and another 36 be subsumed in other bigger allowances. It has also recommended that the allowances for employees be capped at 8 per cent, 16 per cent and 24 per cent of the basic pay, for employees living in X,Y and Z status cities. Further, it had said that the HRA should be capped at 9 per cent, 18 per cent and 27 per cent, when Dearness Allowance (DA) crosses 50 per cent.

The  National Joint Council of Action (NJCA) secretary had assured central government employees, about rollout of the revised allowances along with the salaries of next month. The NJCA, which is acting as the official representative of the central government employees, had been informed by the Cabinet in a meeting held a fortnight ago, that  “things are in the process and most probably would be placed in the next Cabinet meeting”.