Guwahati, Monday, January 18, 2010
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Ibobi urges employees to call off stir
Sobhapati Samom
 IMPHAL, Jan 17 – Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi has appealed to the 60,000 striking state government employees to reconsider their stand and end their stir in the interest of the state at this crucial hour of finalisation of the annual plan expenditure.

On New Year’s eve, the Joint Administrative Council (JAC), an apex body of the employees under All Manipur Trade Union Council (AMTUC) and All Manipur Government Employees Organisation (AMGEO), submitting an ultimatum to the Chief Minister, had announced to launch the strike if the government fails to implement the Sixth Pay Commission’s recommendations in the state with other service benefits by January 15 this year.

But the state cabinet’s decision in December last year to fulfill the demand for implementation of sixth pay commission from April 1 this year without arrears evoked resentment among the striking employees.“Since arrears and other service benefits are not recommended, our demands are not fully fulfilled”, K Tikendra, finance secretary of JAC had said in a statement.

The strike severely hampered the functioning of state machineries during these crucial months of finalisation of annual plan expenditure for 2009-10. Although three months are left for the close of the current fiscal year, state’s 73 different departments could spend only 50 per cent (Rs 713.14 crore) of the total outlay of Rs 2020.09 crore allocated in the current year, according to State planning department.

“We had to spend at least 70 per cent of the total annual plan outlay by December-end last year,” Chief Minister O Ibobi said. “They (JAC) should kindly understand this in the interest of this poor state.” Stating that most of the NE states have implemented Sixth Pay Commission recommendations with other service benefits, he appealed to the striking employees to reconsider their stand and withdraw the ceasework in public interest.

Briefing the media after his sojourn to hill villages on Saturday evening, Ibobi said government decided to recommend implementation of Sixth Pay Commission’s recommendations taking ‘all responsibility and risk’. He said though most of the NE states are yet to implement the recommendations, his government has taken all the risk in making this commitment as there is no guarantee that the 13th Finance Commission will agree to all the proposals put up by the state government.

The government’s decision could be applicable from April 1 next as per the state’s estimates submitted to 13th Finance Commission.

“If we pay the arrears since January 2006, we won’t be able to pay employees monthly salaries,” he added. Manipur which requires Rs 1050 crore for paying salaries to its employees besides Rs 250 crore for pension every year, needs an additional Rs 2000 crore for paying arrear to the employees.

Altogether Rs 660.46 crore would be spent on paying employees’ salaries during the current financial year 2009-10. Once recommendations of the 6th Pay Commission are implemented, the annual expenditure on paying salaries would rise to Rs 726.89 crore in 2010-11, Rs 763.23 crore in 2011-12, Rs 801.40 crore in 2012-2013, Rs 841.46 crore in 2013-14 and Rs 883.54 crore in 2014-15, he elaborated.