Bhaskar Nandan Sarkar
PHOTO : TIWN File Photo : red salutes turning state economy into red
After much wait of almost 10 years state govt employees of Tripura are once again heading towards their ill fate ; thanks to the policy of the so-called transparent govt headed by 'Mr White' CM Manik Sarkar.
Indeed, Manik & Co has been intentionally depriving the state govt employees of the financial rights that they deserve. As a result of it even in the year 2017, after waiting for at least a decade , the employees are in a position from where only frustration can be their permanent companion.
In this year's budget speech Tripura Finance Minister Bhanulal Saha categorically said that in the present financial situation it is almost impossible for the state govt to provide similar benefits to the state govt employees as recommended by the 7th Pay Commission . However, the minister said that an additional amount or ₹600 crore is kept for providing salary and pension benefits to the state govt employees. Quite surprisingly Bhanulal didn't make it clear how this ₹600 crore will be spent; as a finance minister he can't find space to hide his inefficiency.
To make the matter worse, Bhanulal made a wrong statement while explaining his inabilities to provide 7th CPC when he said ," The 14th Finance Commission allocated 52% less than what the state govt's demand." What he didn't say is that the 14th Finance Commission has allocated a fund of ₹31308.76 crore to Tripura of which ₹6463.47 crore and ₹837.75 crore was provided for salary and wages of the employees and pension benefits . The sketch of the major commodities of non-plan expenditure is mentioned below:
1)Salary and wages: 6463.47 crore
2)Pension Benefit: 837.75 crore
4)Other Social expenses :55.29 crore
5)Share tax to local bodies: 223.56crore
6)Food and other allowances: 70.80 crore
7)New School: 1.95 crore
8)PMGSY :20 crore
9)Infrastructure for colleges and universities:18.01 crore
Soon after the announcement of the implementation of 7th CPC CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury criticized the Central Govt saying " Usually and even now the suspicion is that higher ranking bureaucrats and officers have gained more than the ones who are not so high ranking. That is patently unfair. " But when a state govt, run by his own party , is depriving the employees for no reason Sitaram is merely silent. Even the Chief Minister Manik Sarkar once assured the state employees "... ... by realising larger ratio of DA state govt will zero down the gap of DA between the Centre and state. " But what the employees witnessed is that state govt only released only 4% and 5% DA in two instalments in July 2016 and January 2017 respectively.
Actually the policy to deprive the employees of the rights began after Manik Sarkar became the Chief Minister. It was his cabinet which made a resolution to recruit employees on fixed pay basis for a compulsory tenure of 5 years. For a party which is known for its struggle for the wellbeing of the workers and employees this is certainly against its ideological stand. During the Fixed pay service term the employees are not only getting at least half of their salary but they are also deprived of opening GPF Account, GSLI and they are also deprived of 5 yearly increment. As such they are to face huge financial loss.
Financial loss to Fixed Pay employees( only for the LF Govt's self imposed policy of recruitment in fixed pay and compulsory fixed pay service of 5 years) during their entire service -
1) UGT/LDC/Work Assistant : ₹ 39.75 lakh
2) Graduate Teacher and its equivalent: ₹ 52.5 lakh
3) Post Graduate Teacher and its equivalent: ₹ 55 lakh.
Neighbouring Assam government announced new pay commission w.e.f.1st April 2017. The financial implication for 2017-18 is estimated to be ₹ 3,238.28 Crore, of which ₹ 2,942.07 Crore is for the revision of salary and pension, including ₹ 60 Crore for the additional quantum of pension recommended for pensioners above 80 years of age. State government has constituted a committee to study the various aspects of the 7th pay commission.The pay commission has recommended 2.62 times hike in minimum pay prescribed by the 2008 Assam Pay Commission. The commission has recommended that minimum pay will be ₹ 15,900.
It is to be mentioned here that in 2008 Assam Pay Commission the minimum pay was ₹ 6000. The commission has also recommended city compensation allowance for employees working in Guwahati.
That by putting the so-called blame of deprivation upon the Centre, Tripura Govt is making itself a laughing stock is proved from the official records of Manik Sarkar ruled ' Transparent and Honest' Gov't . Following are a few statistics which would bring out a clear picture of the state govt's attitude towards the state govt employees:-
According to the statement shown in the Accounts at a Glance published by the Govt of Tripura regarding the budgetary provisions for Salary and Pension and actual expenditures incurred by the Govt of Tripura for three consecutive fiscal year the following pictures have come out :
1) In the year 2012-13 state govt kept budgetary provision of ₹2652.46 crore for salary and pension but it had only spent ₹2303 ( as shown in Page 17 of the book Accounts at a Glance )
2) In the year 2013-14 state govt kept of budgetary provision of ₹3164.25 crore for salary and pension but it had only spent ₹2674 crore( as shown in page 18 of Accounts at a Glance)
3) Again in the 2014-15 state govt kept a budgetary provision of ₹3734.68 crore for salary and pension but the expenditure was only ₹3123 crore. ( as shown in Page 18 of Accounts at a Glance)
Total unspent amount during the FY 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 is :-
[349.46+490.25+611.68]= 1451.39 crore.
Interestingly Tripura Finance Minister Bhanulal Saha in a statement given a few months before said ," To give 1% of DA to the employees and pensioners state govt would have to spend an additional amount of ₹24.30 crore every year. " If his statement was correct the govt would need a total amount of ₹1020.60 crore to release 42% DA due on 01/01/2017 . Till date state govt has not shown any willingness to release the due 42% DA to its employees and pensioners. But the state govt has still ₹1451.39 crore left with it as unspent only from the budgetary amount for employees and pensioners.
As released in the book Accounts at a Glance for the year 2016-17 state govt has made a budgetary provision of ₹4319.60 and in his budget speech Finance Minister Bhanulal Saha said ," State Govt has kept an additional amount of ₹600 crore for salary and pension of employees and retired persons. "
However, CM Manik and his colleague Bhanulal ( holding the charge of Finance) are lucky to have such a boot-licking employees organization like the state employees have in the state . HB Road organ's main purpose is not to see the interests of the employees but to appease their political masters. As such larger demands of the employees often go unheard and that too deliberately. Most of the leaders of the H B Road organ have either two or three or even more employees in their families . Quite naturally the don't seem to be affected by the deprivation policy of the state govt, which is led by the Communist party. Quite often the leaders remain absent from their duties , in the name of organizational activities, and at the same time they can continue their service within 2/3 km away from their residence for decades not by virtue of their efficiency or ability but simply by licking the boots of the ruling party leaders.
Only on 29th January CPI-M party's employees' organ held a sit-in-demonstration for 5 hours with demands which included:-
1) Revision of Pay Structure after every five years
2) To pay salary to the state govt employees as recommended by the 7th CPC
3) To release the due DA to the teachers and employees .
With these demands H B Road wings collected a massive fund from the employees assuring that the Govt will constitute Pay Commission and will accordingly provide benefits as per 7th CPC. But within one month of this programme Tripura Finance Minister categorically said that the state govt can't give benefits as per 7th CPC. However, none of the employees dare to raise voice against such exploitation because in that case such employees will definitely be transferred to remote areas as 'punishment'.
Once Ajay Biswas, Secretary General of Tripura Employees' Co-ordination Committee said ," According to Rule 112 of the Communist Party of India, a Communist Govt cannot appoint unemployed in fixed pay because this will only strengthen the very foundation of the Capitalists. Only a Capitalist firm or Govt can impose such exploitation upon its employees." But unfortunately in Tripura, Manik Sarkar led CPI(M) Govt is now simply following the policy of the Capitalists. Even the states ruled by the Congress and BJP state governments are recruiting the employees on regular pay scales. But a so called Communist govt here in Tripura is depriving its employees in the name of fixed pay. At present there are around 39000 Fixed Pay employees in the state.
In 1982 the first LF Govt under Nripen Chakraborty appointed 200 teachers on fixed pay. Immediately this issue was raised by Ajay Biswas and debated in the state committee meeting( at that time Ajay Biswas was a party's Central Committee member) . But Nripenbabu and Co strongly supported the state govt's decision. Then Ajay Biswas wrote to CPI(M) Central Committee. Getting this letter CPI(M) Central Committee leaders like Jyoti Basu and EMS Nambudripad instructed Nripen Chakraborty to immediately regularize the 200 employees appointed as fixed pay stating that such type of employment is against the Rule 112 of the Constitution of the Communist Party of India( Marxist) . Thus, with in two months of their recruitment Nripen Chakraborty was forced to regularize them and after this during his entire tenure as Chief Minister Nripen Chakraborty and his LF Govt did not recruit any employee on fixed pay ( up to 1988).
Regarding the so-called campaign of "Deprivation by 13th Finance Commission " I would like to present a statistical record before our readers. Being a Special Category State Tripura got ₹ 7411.50 crore from 13th Finance Commission(for the year 2010-2015) compare to 12th Finance Commission's sanction of ₹ 2626.09cr as part of its share of Central Tax. Thus, it is open to all that 13th Finance Commission has sanctioned 182% more than what the 12th Finance Commission did. Even in Non-plan fund 13th Finance Commission has given Tripura ₹ 1263 crore compare to ₹ 296 of the 12th Finance Commission an increase of 326%. Among the Special Category state that get share of Central Tax Tripura is in the 4th position is regard to fund sanction from 13th Commission. Moreover, as Gap Grant from 13th Commission Tripura got ₹ 240.79 cr more (13th Finance Commission considered state'as own earning as ₹ 4484.24 though state govt submitted the report saying the earning as ₹ 4728.9Cr.