Why we must not grudge them a pay hike
In the heyday of Indian socialism, the perception of government was benign. In today’s climate of liberalisation, the government is viewed with hostility. That must explain the negative reaction both in the media and amongst the public at large to the increases in pay for Central government employees recommended by the Seventh Pay Commission (SPC).
The pay hikes are modest — embarrassingly so in comparison with pay increases and bonuses in the private sector. Yet, media reports talk of a ‘bonanza for babus’. The impact on the fiscal can be easily digested by the Indian economy. Yet, analysts warn of slippages in the fiscal deficit, a possible boost to inflation, and a setback to public investment. Do we want to run the government — which comprises not just civil servants but the police, armed forces, nurses, doctors, regulators and academics — at all? Or have we persuaded ourselves that all of the government is simply money down the drain?