Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah gave a strong indication to state government employees on Thursday when he hinted at setting up a pay panel to explore the possibility of salary hike that would benefit about 6.40 lakh employees.
"State government employees have been demanding salaries on a par with the Central government staff. The time has come to set up the next pay commission as the Centre is implementing the recommendations of the seventh pay commission," Siddaramaiah was quoted as saying by Deccan Herald.
The chief minister spoke on the sidelines of the diamond jubilee celebration of the Karnataka Government Secretariat Employees' Association (KGSEA) in Bengaluru.
The comment raised hopes of state government employees who had gone on a day-long strike on June 2 demanding pay parity with Central government staff.
"We are happy that the chief minister is keen on setting up a new pay commission. He also promised to look into our grievances," KGSEA president Mahadevaiah Matapathii said. The last pay commission was set up by the state government five years ago.
Besides salary hike, the employees also want session allowance for all Vidhana Soudha employees and a site for the association's building.
The 7th Central Pay Commission's (CPC) recommendations hiking salary and allowances for Central government employees is a trigger for many state government employees to seek parity with their Central government counterparts.
The Narendra Modi government has accepted the recommendations pertaining to the hike in the salary component, while a decision on allowances is likely by November this year when a committee set up to examine raising allowances submits its report to the finance ministry.
The salary hike for Central government staff has also prompted employees of public sector undertakings (PSUs) to seek a similar hike for which they will be going on strike on September 2 in which state-run banks will also participate. Besides, pay hike, the strike is also in protest against "anti-labour" reforms of the Modi government such as stake sale in PSUs.