In an obvious bid to be one up on her latest number one political foe, the Congress, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Monday declared in the State Assembly that her government would promptly implement the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission.
The Commission, appointed by the Union government, had recently submitted its report to the Centre following which it was duly passed by the Union Cabinet last week. Significantly, even Congress-ruled states had so far not expressed their views on implementing the Pay Commission's recommendations.
Apart from scoring brownie points over the Congress-ruled states, Mayawati's decision was understood to have been prompted by yet another key political consideration -- the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Therefore, notwithstanding her badly soured relations with the United Progressive Alliance government, she had decided to go ahead with the Pay Commission recommendations.
"I decided to implement these recommendations in the larger interest of the well being of lakhs (hundreds of thousands) of government employees who were bound to be facing an acute crunch on account of the rising prices of essential commodities for which the Centre is squarely responsible," she told a press conference shortly after making the announcement on the floor of the State Assembly.
"The new Pay Commission recommendations would be brought into force with effect from December 1, though we would implement it with retrospect from January 2006," Mayawati said.
She sought to point out that "even though the Centre had been indifferent to our repeated requests for additional resources and had also flatly refused to concede our demand for a special package of Rs 80,000 crore (Rs 800 billion), still we decided to mobilise our on resources to meet the additional burden that the new pay scales would entail."
"While the arrears were estimated at about Rs 14,776 crore (Rs 147.76 billion), the annual burden on the state exchequer would be of the order of about Rs 5,189 crore (Rs 51.89 billion)," she pointed out. "But we will make it a point to meet that by enhancing our pending recoveries and by plugging wastages," she asserted.
She also said: "Rest assured, we will not levy any fresh taxes on the people of the State."
A committee headed by a retired senior IAS officer Jagmohan Lal Bajaj has also been constituted to suggest ways and means to revise the state government employees' wages on the pattern of the central government, the chief minister said, adding that the committee had been asked to submit its report with three months.
Additional inputs: PTI