The 6th pay commission appointed by the Karnataka government on Wednesday recommended a 30% increase in the salaries of around 520,000 government employees and 73,000 employees from “aided institutions".
The committee, making its first submission, also recommended revision of allowances for employees as well as increasing pensions for retired personnel, totalling Rs10,508 crore.
The revision of pay and pension is to come into effect from 1 July 2017 with benefits paid from 1 April 2018, according to a statement issued by the chief minister’s office.
The recommendation of the pay commission is among several similar initiatives taken up by the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government ahead of assembly elections, scheduled to be held later this year.
As one of the last big states still ruled by the Congress, the party is taking no chances with its efforts to retain power, a feat not achieved in Karnataka in decades, and prepare for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
The salary recommendations add to the existing policies around food security, free healthcare, increasing reservations for backward classes (a core support group of Siddaramaiah), reigniting the Kannada pride debate and opposing efforts to impose Hindi that have given the chief minister’s popularity a boost.
The chief minister has also gone beyond challenging the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), to attacking the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led central government on issues like creation of jobs, investments and social and economic indicators, where Karnataka beats the national average.
The Congress has maintained its attacks on the local unit of the BJP by attracting several strong candidates into its fold before the elections—Anand Singh, a BJP legislator from Vijayanagara, on Wednesday joined the Congress, further weakening the saffron outfit’s hold on the iron ore-rich district of Bellary.
The state pay commission, has additionally recommended reducing the minimum qualifying age for voluntary retirement, a 100% increase in death-cum-retirement gratuity, increasing subsidy for purchase of motorized equipment for differently abled as well as increased educational allowances of their children.
“The revision of pay and allowances now recommended by the sixth state pay commission will be the eleventh pay revision for employees since the formation of the state in 1956. The existing pay and allowances were last revised with effect from 1. 4. 2012 on the recommendations of the Official pay committee, 2011. The fifth state pay commission’s recommendations had earlier been implemented with effect from 1. 7. 2005," a statement from the chief ministers office said.