The suspense over whether the Narendra Modi government will make an announcement on the hike in allowances to Central government employees as proposed by the 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC) remains, with no buzz from the North Block.
The CPC had examined 196 allowances and given its recommendations on abolishing or raising some of them while recommending others to be subsumed with other perks.
The recommendations of the 7th CPC cover 47 lakh Central government employees and 53 lakh pensioners, of which 14 lakh employees and 18 lakh pensioners are from the defence forces.
It had proposed 138.71 percent hike in HRA and 49.79 percent for other allowances while submitting its voluminous report last November.
While the government accepted the hike in the salary component on June 29, those on allowances were referred to a high-level committee headed by finance secretary Ashok Lavasa, with a deadline to submit its views within four months.
Some allowances are poised to be raised substantially if the government accepts them. For instance, incentives paid to Central government employees for acquiring higher qualifications. The CPC has proposed a steep hike to staff from the amount currently payable — ranging from Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000, subject to caveats and existing norms governing such payments.
However, the most interesting and also the lowest of all allowances is that paid for the hair cut to the foot soldiers — referred to as personnel below officer rank, or PBOR — of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).
"This (hair cut) allowance is granted to PBORs of CISF to compensate for the cost of hair cutting, at the rate of Rs 5 pm. No demands have been received regarding this allowance. The Commission took note of the fact that the amount of this allowance is the lowest among all allowances. This allowance has been subsumed in Composite Personal Maintenance Allowance and, therefore, should be abolished as a separate allowance," it recommended in its report.