Central government employees will no longer get a family planning allowance and the cabinet secretary his monthly entertainment allocation. Also gone are the diet, haircutting and ‘soap toilet’ allowances given to select categories of employees. With the government accepting many of the recommendations of the Committee on Allowances (CoA), headed by Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa, a raft of grants and allocations made to various sections of government employees have been done away with or revised, an official said. Funeral and cycles allowances have been retained and revised.
The decision on revising the allowances was approved at a meeting of the Union cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on June 28 and formal orders were issued on July 6. The CoA referred to the seventh Central Pay Commission’s report, which had examined 196 allowances given to different categories of central government employees. The CoA submitted its report on April 27 after which the the government decided to accept its recommendations with 34 modifications.
Giving details, an official said an entertainment allowance of Rs 10,000 per month granted to the cabinet secretary, the country’s top bureaucrat, to entertain distinguished visitors has been abolished. The ‘secret’ allowance given to officers working in the Cabinet Secretariat has also been done away with. This is granted for dealing with top secret papers and performing sensitive duties. It is paid as a flat sum per month based on the post held by the official concerned.
Discussing the implementation of the pay commission’s recommendations, an official said the family planning allowance is given to central government employees as an encouragement to adhere to the small family norm at the rate of Rs 210 to Rs 1,000 per month depending on seniority. In its report, the panel said a separate allowance aimed at population control was not required now and recommended it be abolished. However, the ‘cycle’ and ‘funeral’ allowances, which were recommended to be abolished by the pay commission, have been retained by the government.
A cycle allowance of Rs 90 is paid when duties attached to the post require extensive use of bicycles and officials concerned have to use and maintain their own cycles for official journeys. No demands regarding cycle allowance were received by the panel. The pay commission felt this allowance was outdated and should be abolished. However, the government not only retained it but doubled the amount to Rs 180 for the Department of Posts and Railways.
A funeral allowance of Rs 6,000 is granted on the death of an employee in peace areas; mortuary charges are reimbursed to defence personnel. Demands were received by the pay commission to extend the allowance to all civilian employees and for a four-fold increase in rates. The panel was of the view that with the pay raises provided by successive pay commissions, this kind of an allowance had lost its meaning. The government revised this allowance to Rs 9,000.
Besides, the diet, haircutting, and ‘soap toilet’ allowances given to select categories of employees have also been abolished. The diet allowance of Rs 200 a month is given to deputationists in the Bureau of Immigration as compensation for food. As no demands were received regarding this allowance, the panel decided to abolish it.
The hair cutting allowance of Rs 5 a month is granted to personnel below officer rank of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). This allowance is also granted to Group ‘B’ and ‘C’ combat personnel of Assam Rifles at the rate of Rs 90 per month. The investigation allowance given in Serious Fraud Investigation Office, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, to attract talent pool from other ministries has also been abolished.