Shillong: The Meghalaya government on Thursday set up the Fifth Pay Commission to revise the salary and other allowances of the 80,000 plus government employees in the state.

After a cabinet meeting, chief minister Mukul Sangma announced that former chief secretary P. J. Bazely has been appointed chairman of the commission with retired bureaucrats Uttam K. Sangma and Lambha Roy as members.

The commission will be notified immediately, he said, adding that the whole exercise is being done to ensure that government employees get the best returns. The state government had in September 2009 announced an overall pay hike of 32% for all its employees, with retrospective effect from 1 January, 2007 in line with the recommendation of the 4th Pay Commission.

Stating that the state government is aware of the burden the implementation of the commission’s recommendation will have on the state’s exchequer especially after the ban on mining and transportation of coal, the chief minister said the state needs to ‘work harder’.

State Government Employees’ Federation hailed the decision and demanded that the pay hike should be at par with the 7th Central Pay Commission’s recommendations. In another decision, the cabinet also approved a proposal to augment the corpus contingency fund from 105 crore to 205 crore to meet the increasing expenses of the state government.