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Tripura hikes staff salaries before assembly polls

Posted on Dec 12, 10:22AM | IANS

To woo the 210,000 employees and pension holders two months ahead of the assembly polls, the Left Front government in Tripura Tuesday decided to raise their emoluments, officials said here.

The assembly elections are scheduled to be held in the country's lone Left Front ruled state in February next year.

The council of ministers meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, decided to follow basic pay fixation formula of the central government's Sixth Pay Commission extending the benefit of 1.86 multiplying factor in the pay structure and pension to state government employees.

Announcing the decision, the chief minister said the additional expenditure for the move will be around Rs.90 crore in the remaining months of the current financial year. An additional Rs.251 crore would be the annual additional expenditure in the 2013-14 financial year.

The much expected decision would be effective this month.

According to political observers, the Left Front government took this decision to defuse the growing resentment among the state government employees and pension holders before the assembly polls.

"The state government's own resources have been increased by 37.8 percent and sales tax growth was 50 percent during the last financial year compared to the previous fiscal. This enabled the state government to hike the salaries of the employees," Sarkar said.

He added: "As the 13th Finance Commission had under-assessed the salary and pension liabilities of the Tripura government and reduced the non-plan gap grant to below that of the previous 12th Finance Commission's award, the state government has been facing severe financial crisis."

He said that Tuesday's ministerial meeting also decided to raise the retirement age of 13,000 TSR (Tripura State Rifles) troopers from 52 years to 57 years.

The Tripura government has recently raised the upper age limit for retirement of the government employees from 58 to 60 years.