Monday 4 December 2017

Maharashtra government’s plan to cut jobs by 30% faces unions’ resistance

The debt-ridden state government has planned to reduce it workforce by 30% to save its wage bill. Employee unions have opposed the plan, saying it will be detrimental to the growth of the state. 

According to a government resolution issued in May, the state government asked its departments to reduce demand of human resource by 30% and revise their employee master plan by the end of the year. The government feels that the number of employees is more than its ideal proportion to the population. It is likely to go ahead with the plan before implementing the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations. 

The Maharashtra government currently has 17 lakh employees and spends Rs1.08 lakh crore on their salaries. According to sources, more than 2 lakh sanctioned posts are vacant in the state.

Deepak Kesarkar, minister of state for finance, however, differed. “In fact, the revised employee master plan should be viewed positively. The 35% of the sanctioned posts are currently vacant. This means even if we fill up 70% of the total posts, we will have 5% more employees than what we currently have,” Kesarkar told HT. 

He added that departments would decide their staff size depending on their requirement. 

GD Kulthe, chief advisor of Maharashtra Gazetted Officers Federation, said that the step was a “negative” one and that employees would fight against any such decision. “There is already a shortage of staff in various departments. Who will work if they reduce the staff?” Kulthe said.

The minister added that the new master plan was being prepared to “increase the efficiency” of the departments. The state government, which has stalled recruitment since July 2015, has outsourced some of its jobs. “Our expenditure on salary and pension is too much; it has now crossed Rs1 lakh crore. Therefore, we have to plan things,” he said. The state government needs an additional Rs15,000 crore to meet the Pay Commission arrears and about Rs 6,000 crore annually thereafter.

Subhash Gangurde, office bearer of the Maharashtra State Government Employees Central Federation, echoed Kulthe’s views . “We have been experiencing delays in decision making owing to vacancies. For instance, in the department I retired worker for has only three employees against its earlier strength of 15. The government move will ultimately affect people,” Gangurde, said.

The unions are planning a meeting in the coming week to formalise a strategy to oppose the move by the government, Kulthe said.

At a time when the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government is focusing on job creation in the state, a move to slash government jobs is likely to create a controversy.
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