New Delhi, Jan 30: Central government employees, who who have been waiting for higher allowances under the 7th Pay Commission since July last year, will keep a close eye on Budget 2017, which is to be presented on February 1. The Budget Session could bring smiles on faces of about 47 lakh Central government employees and 53 lakh pensioners as the government may reveal its final stand on higher allowances recommended by the 7th Pay Commission.

The central government employees are hopeful that despite the model code of conduct, the government is in position to take a call on raising allowances as proposed by the 7th Pay Commission. After Election Commission’s verdict on Budget 2017, central government employees believe that the model code of conduct won’t be a hurdle if the Centre decided to announce something on higher allowances under the 7th Pay Commission.

The Election Commision, in its order, directed the government that the budget cannot have promises that are aimed at the five poll-bound states that could give an electoral edge to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). “The Commission hereby directs that in the interest of free and fair elections and in order to maintain level playing field during elections, no State specific schemes shall be announced in the National Budget which may have the effect of influencing the electors of the five poll going States in favour of the ruling party(ies),” said the Election Commission.

What transpired by the order of the Election Commission is that the government could make any announcement on higher allowances as proposed by the 7th Pay Commission since the decision would have a pan-India effect and not necessarily be seen as luring voters of the five poll-bound states. Since government’s tax collections have remained buoyant this year and its revenues are also poised to rise by about Rs 1,00,000 crore in view of the expected collections under the second amnesty scheme (IDS II) — Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, money won’t be a problem to implement the 7th Pay Commission recommendations completely.

While the government is paying higher basic pay with arrears, effective from January 1, 2016 to its employees on the recommendations of the 7th pay commission, the issue of higher allowances has been referred to the ‘Committee on Allowances’. The government gave extension to the panel till February 22, 2017 to submit the report on higher allowances. Until acceptance of higher allowances, under 7th Pay Commission, the allowances are now paid according to the 6th Pay Commission recommendations.