State government to make a statement in 2 to 3 days
Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has asked the employees associations to “think practically and not to expect more” in view of the precarious State finances.
The employees associations were expected to respond positively as the State was passing through “turbulent times”. The employees were expected to appreciate the current situation and not impose additional and unbearable financial burden on the government, he said.
Mr. Jagan, however, was quick to add: “I am your family member. You will hardly find a person who is more compassionate and humanitarian than me. I will do whatever I can to the best of my ability. The government will issue a statement on the PRC in the next 2 to 3 days.”
The Chief Minister held a meeting with 13 employees’ associations on implementation of the Pay Revision Commission (PRC), on Thursday. Barring the assurance that the government was considering the release of pending five dearness allowance instalments as the first priority, Mr. Jagan made no mention about the other major demands raised by the employees’ associations, including the abolition of the Contributory Pension Scheme.
Explaining the State finances, Mr. Jagan said the State Own Revenues (SORs), usually, increase by 15% every year, and the SORs should have touched about ₹84,000 crore by 2020-21. But, the SORs that were ₹62,503 crore in 2018-19 came down to ₹60,934 crore in 2019-20. The SORs further dipped to ₹60,688 crore during 2020-21. On other hand, expenditure on salaries and pensions was ₹52,513 crore in 2018-19 and has increased to ₹67,340 crore by 2020-21. The salaries and pensions bill was ₹36,000 crore during the first seven months of the financial year of 2021-22. In comparison, the neighboring Telangana government had paid ₹22,608 crore during the same period. Gujarat and Bihar paid ₹16,053 crore and ₹25,567 crore respectively.
Enhancing the wages by just 14.29% (fitment as suggested by the Committee of Secretaries) would impose an additional financial burden of ₹7,137 crore on the exchequer per annum, , he pointed out.
Mr. Jagan advised the employees not to compare with their counterparts in Telangana. The employees might feel their arguments would gain strength if compared to Telangana. But, the ground realities were something different. The per capita income (PCI) of Telangana was ₹2,37,632, while it was ₹1,70,215 in Andhra Pradesh. “We have lost Hyderabad after bifurcation. Revenues of Telangana were going up while A.P. revenues are going down. These are facts.” he said.
“We are talking about pay revision, but Omicron is spreading fast. We don’t know what impact it will have and how it will affect our revenues. Are we in a position to make a decision (on pay hike) and go ahead?,” he said, adding, “You (employees) should cut down your expectations a bit. At the same time, I am asking the officials to move their scale up a bit. Let there be some bridge somewhere.”
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