New Delhi, Jun 1: The government approved recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission in 2016 and since then central government employees have been demanding a hike in minimum pay and fitment factor. A report published in a portal for bureaucrats claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to raise minimum pay and fitment factor beyond the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission to woo central government employees ahead of general election.

Millions of central government employees, most of them Hindus, have traditionally been supporters of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and PM Modi will try to keep them in the party’s fold by hiking minimum pay and fitment factor beyond the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission, said the report. The major announcement is likely to be made to counter a challenge from Congress-led regional parties coalition, it claimed.

“The government is likely to agree to increase the salaries for all employees, who get salaries from pay matrix level 1 to 5 from January 1, 2019,” a top government official was quoted as saying. However, the government, in March, said that it wasn’t considering raising minimum pay and fitment factor beyond the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission.

“The minimum pay of Rs.18,000/- p.m. and fitment factor of 2.57 are based on the specific recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission in the light of the relevant factors taken into account by it. Therefore, no change therein is at present under consideration,” Minister of State Finance, P Radhakrishnan told Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

The 7th Pay Commission had recommended a 14.27 per cent hike in basic pay, raising minimum pay from Rs 7,000 to Rs 18,000 month, which was accepted by the government in June 2016. Since then, central government employees have been asking to raise minimum pay to Rs 26,000 and fitment factor 3.68 times from 2.57 times.