Sunday, December 3, 2017

Maharashtra government looks to cut 30% of workforce

In a move that can only be described as bitter irony, the Maharashtra government is looking to shave its workforce by 30 per cent so that it can afford to pay the remaining employees as per the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations that are due to be implemented soon.
Faced with a mounting salary bill, the finance department in May issued a Government Resolution (GR) asking all departments to submit new masterplans on their staffing needs.
The GR noted that for long-term financial stability, the increase in expense on salaries should not be more than the average rise in revenues. It stressed that "different departments must cut the demand for human resources by 30 percent by trying to bring in efficiency through use of information technology".

All departments have been given until the end of the year to complete the exercise.
Deepak Kesarkar, minister of state for finance, said large-scale computerisation and direct benefit transfers (DBT) to beneficiaries of government schemes had led to considering the possibility of optimising existing human resources to "adjust using the minimum employee strength".Kesarkar added that departments like home and public health had been exempted from the employee cut.
"The implementation of the seventh pay commission is impending and we already spend over Rs 1 lakh crore on salaries," he said. The state government needs an additional Rs 15,000 crore to meet the 7th Pay Commission arrears going back to January 2016 and about Rs 6,000 crore annually thereafter towards salaries and pensions. Kesarkar said Maharashta had one of the highest establishment costs with around 1.08 lakh crore of its about Rs 2.50 lakh crore revenues from its own sources (excluding grants) being spent on salaries and wages. This was in contrast with states like Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.
The government currently, which has curbed creation of new posts since June 2015, currently has an approved staff strength of 19 lakh employees, of which about three per cent retire each year. However, it also has about 2 lakh vacant posts across different grades, according to G D Kulthe of the State Government Gazetted Employees' Union.
Kulthe cautioned that pointed out that given the existing gaps in staffing, any additional cuts would worsen delivery of public services.
"A cut in 30 per cent of the 19 lakh approved workforce in phases will lead to a strength of just over 14 lakh. Then, who will work for the people?" he said, warning that the union would oppose the proposed cuts.
He pointed out that while legislations like Right to Information (RTI) and Right to Services (RTS) were approved, no new positions were created.
However, Kesarkar stressed that the revised employee masterplan should be looked in a "positive angle" as many departments which had a 35 percent vacancies would actually get 5 percent more staffers

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