The government has recently decided to go ahead with the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission. So far, so familiar. But what exactly does it mean for all of us? How many people does it impact, and in what fashion? If you had questions of this sort and didn’t know whom to ask, well, read on!
- What is the VIIth Pay Commission?
It’s a body appointed by the Finance Ministry, under the Department of Expenditure, and this has been happening since independence, at a 10 year interval, give or take a few years.
This commission has the responsibility of taking a look at the payments, allowances and pensions made to government employees (or to call it by the all too cute name our government chooses to give it, PAP) and figuring out how much of revisions need to happen, and why. It’s also supposed to tell us about whether the recommendations are actually possible or not.
- So what are these guys saying this time around?
That beginning this year, we need to dole out ₹1,02,000,00,00,000 in extra payments, out of which roughly 40% will be an increase in pay, 30% will be an increase in allowances, and the rest will be an increase in pension payouts. (Source)
- That sounds like a lot. Do we have that kind of cash lying around?
Short answer, no.
To finance the Indian government’s expenditure this year, it was slated to borrow ₹533,904,00,00,000 (source)*. Technically, this includes provisioning for implementing the 7th Pay Commission recommendations, but that’s a lot of borrowing (about 3.5% of our nominal GDP for this year).
On the other hand, the answer to question 2 is built on an annual appreciation of 3% per year in PAP, and that’s hardly an unfairly large amount. Plus, the report mentions that if India grows at around 7.5% per year, the additional burden on the government won’t be all that much.
- By the way, how many people does the Government of India employ in the first place?
If you define an employee of the Indian government as being a person who holds a civilian position with the GoI, and whose salary is paid out under the Consolidated Fund of India, then there are almost 40,00,000 employees of the Indian government.
Roughly half of India’s population is of working age, for a rough and ready benchmark.
- Will inflation increase in India as a consequence of the 7th Pay Commission being implemented?
From the point of view of theory, yes, it should. It probably won’t be dramatic or backbreaking, but yes, it will have an impact. How much will be the rise is the million dollar question, but here’s the thing – we’ll never know. You can’t say, “Well, check how much inflation was before, and how much it is after, and attribute the difference to the 7th Pay Commission”. And the reason you can’t say that is because too many other things are changing in the economy at the same time. So we’ll never know the actual impact it had on inflation in India, and we must make our peace with that fact.
Got other questions? Want more data? Shout out to us in the comments below!
*Update: For reasons we honestly can’t figure out, the INR symbol doesn’t show up the way it should on certain browsers. Our apologies.