A high-level Committee of Secretaries (CoS), headed by Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary Sameer Sharma, recommended an increase in the fitment factor by 14.29% to raise the salary of state government employees, in line with the recommendations of 7th Central Pay Commission. Thereby, the Committee effectively asked the government to ignore the 11th State Pay Revision Commission that recommended a fitment factor of 27% for a five-year period. The CoS recommendations, if implemented, could impose an additional financial burden of Rs 8,000 crore to Rs 10,000 crore on the state exchequer per annum, Chief Secretary Sameer Sharma said.
"We have submitted our recommendations to the Chief Minister in the evening. He will take a decision on this probably in the next 72 hours and announce it," the Chief Secretary told a press conference on the night of Monday, December 13.
The CoS, comprising among others the Special Chief Secretary (Revenue) Rajat Bhargava, also recommended that the state government do away with the Pay Revision Commission and follow only the Central Pay Commission recommendations. The Chief Secretary said states like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and others have been adopting the CPC recommendations for pay revision to their state employees.
"In AP, expenditure on employees as a percentage of total expenditure is a high of 36% as compared to Chhattisgarh (32%), Maharashtra and West Bengal (31%), Odisha (29%) and Madhya Pradesh (28%). The Human Resource expenditure in AP has risen by 111% since 2018-19," Sameer Sharma pointed out.
"After examining the above, the Committee is of the considered view that the higher fitments over the years have led to increase in HR expenditure beyond state own revenues and the State cannot sustain five-yearly periodic pay revisions with abnormally high fitment benefits. Therefore, the Committee recommends to adopt a fitment of 14.29% as followed by the 7th Central Pay Commission," the CoS said in the report.
Since July 2019 (effective from 2018), the state government began paying an interim relief of 27% to its employees, pending implementation of full pay revision, which cost about Rs 16,000 crore so far, according to the Chief Secretary. For the last few months, state government employees have been demanding that the PRC recommendations, made in October 2020, be implemented forthwith and this month went into an agitation mode over the issue.
The government constituted a Committee of Secretaries on April 1 this year to examine the recommendations of the PRC but the CoS began its work only on December 1 by holding its first meeting, following the growing unrest among employees. The CoS conducted a meeting with various employees associations early this month to obtain their views. The CoS finally submitted its own recommendations to the Chief Minister on Monday, December 13. .
"We presented seven scenarios to the government on implementation of pay revision. We made 11 recommendations for acceptance and five more for acceptance with modifications. Two more recommendations need not be accepted," the Chief Secretary said. He said pay issues related to the newly appointed village and ward secretariat staff, outsourced and contract employees and welfare measures were also part of their recommendations.