ISLAMABAD: Four months after the highly controversial raise given to the political elite of Punjab inviting the ire of prime minister, the Buzdar government raised by150 percent the running basic salary of provincial bureaucratic elite — this time without consulting the provincial assembly.
Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office told The News that Prime Minister Imran Khan is being told about the raise in the name of “Executive Allowance”. The beneficiaries predominately belong to the ex-DMG (now Pakistan Administrative Service) and ex-PCS (presently called Provincial Management Service).
Interestingly, this phenomenal raise was approved by the provincial cabinet and notified on July 29 within weeks after the Punjab Assembly passed the provincial budget.
Usman Buzdar-led cabinet of the province, which has over two million employees, granted this huge raise to the selected class of 1,700, ignoring all others including professors, teachers, doctors, engineers, civil servants not belonging to the services now treated as “Elite”- PAS at the federal level and PMS in Punjab.
The posting earmarked for the “Executive Allowance” includes almost all posts of provincial secretaries, additional chief secretaries, members of Board of Revenue, additional secretaries, deputy secretaries, section officers, commissioners, deputy commissioners, assistant commissioners, revenue officials and special judicial magistrates.
The effort in choosing the posts for the hefty “Executive Allowance” clearly seems to benefit the officers belonging to PAS and PMS. It is also relevant to mention here that all those who were involved in the initiation and processing of the finance department’s summary, are the beneficiary of this raise.
On July 29, the Finance Department of the Punjab government issued the notification carrying subject: “GRANT OF EXECUTIVE ALLOWANCE @ 1.5 TIMES OF THE MONTHLY BASIC PAY TO ALL OFFICERS WORKING ON THE CADRE STRENGTH/LIST OF POSTS DULY NOTIFIED BY SERVICES & GENERAL ADMINISTRATIVE DEPARTMENT”.
The notification mentioned that in pursuance of Cabinet decision and under the provision of Section 23 of Punjab Civil Servants Act 1974, the Governor of Punjab is pleased to grant Executive Allowance at the rate of 1.5 times of the monthly basic pay w.e.f 01.07.2019 to all officers, posted by S&GAD against duly notified cadre strength/list of officers to be updated from time to time….”
The notification contains the list of almost 1700 posts, mainly occupied by PAS and PMS officers. Four months before this extraordinary raise given to a selected class in the bureaucracy, the Punjab Assembly had hurriedly approved a private bill seeking raise in the salary of Chief Minister Buzdar, Members and all Provincial Assembly (MPAs). MPA’s salary and incentives were increased from Rs83,000 to Rs200,000 per month.
The basic salary was raised from Rs18,000 to Rs80,000/month, daily allowance from Rs1,000 to Rs4,000 and house rent from Rs29,000 to Rs50,000/month. Besides this, the utility allowance was increased from Rs6,000 to Rs20,000/month and hospitality allowance from Rs10,000 to Rs20,000/month. Some major incentives for the chief minister and ex-chief ministers were also approved.
When media focused on this raise by the provincial assembly for the provincial political elite, Prime Minister Imran Khan took notice of it and expressed his anger. He also directed to undo the legislation but it was not done except a few partial changes of no consequence.
In this regard, a bureaucrat said they were drawing less that was not incommensurate with the hard work, which they had been doing almost round the clock.
He expressed optimism that the salary of other people, including professors, teachers, doctors, engineers, and civil servants, will also be raised with the passage of time. He said these people could not work part-time to meet their increasing expenses, as the nature of their jobs is not suitable for such jobs as they can be easily identified by the people.