Budget 2018 'Disappoints Entire Salaried Class', Says Chief Negotiator of 7th Pay Commission
"No concrete step has been taken to raise our disposable income," the top union leader said. (PTI image used for representational purpose)

New Delhi, Feb 1: The salaried class is unimpressed with the Budget document presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, said veteran union leader Shiv Gopal Mishra, who negotiated the 7th Pay Commission recommendations with the Centre on behalf of the government employees.

Mishra said the government has failed to safeguard the interest of the salaried class despite the spiralling inflation and rising commodity prices.

"The overall Budget has been a disappointment for the entire salaried class. There are no changes in the Income Tax slabs, no alterations have been made to increase tax reductions or rebates. All in all, no concrete step has been taken to raise our disposable income," he said while speaking to Latestly.

While the Finance Minister announced an increase in standard deduction -- medical and transport reimbursement -- to Rs 40,000, which is Rs 35,000 at present, the Budget document raises the cess rate on Income from the incumbent 3 per cent to 4 percent.

This would in turn cost an additional tax burden of Rs 1,125 per month for those earning between Rs 5-10 lakh per annum, and Rs 2,625 for those earning above Rs 10 lakh per annum.

Mishra, who is the convenor of National Joint Council of Action (NJCA) -- the consolidated body of central government employee unions -- has been petitioning the government since July 2016 to revise the salary of lower-level government employees.

The minimum wage, as per the 7th CPC recommendations, was hiked to Rs 18,000 from Rs 7,000. Mishra, however, claims that the increment is inadequate considering the current CPI inflation rate.

"We have demanded an increase in the minimum wage up to Rs 26,000 using 3.68 as the fitment factor (the multiplying proponent on the 6th Pay Commission wage). However, we are ready to negotiate further," he had told this reporter in an earlier conversation.

Commenting on the Railway Budget, Mishra, who also heads the All India Railwaymen Federation, said the focus of the government on electrification and enhancing safety measures should be lauded. "But, we believe that the amount allocated (Rs 1,48,500 crore) to the Railway sector is inadequate," he added.