New Delhi, May 4: The National Joint Council of Action (NJCA), the consolidated body of employee unions that has been leading the negotiations related to 7th Pay Commission, held meeting with Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha and reiterated demand of arrears on higher allowances from January 2016. The NJCA chief Shiv Gopal Mishra met Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha and urged the timely implementation of the Committee on Allowances’ report on higher allowances under the 7th Pay Commission. Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa led Committee on Allowances, which examined the 7th pay commission’s recommendations on allowances, submitted its report to the finance ministry on April 27. But the Union Cabinet is yet to approve the recommendations of the Lavasa panel. (Update: Wait to get longer as Empowered Committee may take 2-3 weeks to screen Committee on Allowances’ report)

“We met Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha and conveyed our concerns. On arrears, we said employees should be given the amount pending from January, 2016. It is their due right,” NJCA chief Shiv Gopal Mishra told Apart from allowance related issues, the NJCA also asked the government to resolve anomalies related to minimum wages, fitment factor and family pension under the 7th Pay Commission. “We conveyed all our grievances. The Cabinet Secretary was asked to review our demands concerning the minimum wages, fitment factor and family pension,” Mishra added. The NJCA has demanded upgradation of fitment factor from 2.57 to 3.16 for minimum wage revision. “However, we are not rigid. The issue (fitment factor) is negotiable,” the NJCA chief had told in an earlier conversation.

On being asked about PK Sinha’s response to the demands raised by union, Mishra replied, “He said our concerns would be considered. It may take time. We told him – how long should the employees wait? They have been waiting now for more than 10 months.” The report on higher allowances under the 7th Pay Commission is being examined by the Department of Expenditure, and will be subsequently placed before the Empowered Committee of Secretaries (E-CoS). P K Sinha heads the Empowered Committee of Secretaries.

Though the Committee on Allowances’ report hasn’t been made public, the Finance Ministry said, “Modifications have been suggested in some allowances which are applicable universally to all Central government employees as well as certain other allowances which apply to specific employee categories.” The 7th Pay Commission had suggested the abolition of 52 out of the 196 existing allowances, apart from subsuming 36 smaller allowances. The 7CPC panel led by Justice (retd) A K Mathur had also reduced the house rent allowance (HRA) from existing 10, 20 and 30 per cent to 8, 24 and 16 respectively.

While the government has provided arrears since January 1, 2016, the scheduled date of 7th Pay Commission’s implementation, NJCA has demanded a similar release of arrears on allowances as well.