New Delhi, Jun 7: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had assured in Rajya Sabha to consider hiking minimum pay and fitment factor beyond the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission or 7th CPC on July 19, 2016. Since then, there have been several speculative reports but the government remained mum on a hike minimum pay and fitment factor beyond the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission. A new report has emerged which claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will announce higher minimum pay on Independence Day, August 15, to woo central government employees ahead of Lok Sabha elections in 2019.

“Under pressure from the coming general election due by May 2019, the Modi government has indicated that it may hike pay of central government employees beyond the 7th Pay Commission recommendations, seeking to win the Lok Sabha polls because the government knows one government employees can persuade at least 100 voters for the party,” a government official was quoted as saying by Sen Times. “The two announcements that Prime Minister Modi is likely to make in his speech from Red Fort on 15 August, the Independence Day for central government employees are an increase of pay and the raising retirement age to 62 years from 60,” he added.

“It is not easy to lose an election because it can be very disappointing, so Modi led BJP government is likely to accept above two demamds to appease 10 million central government employees including 5.2 million pensioners, most of them Hindus, have traditionally been supporters of BJP,” the official further confirmed. “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,” another government official had said.

Notably, 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 in 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.