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Pay rise as civil servants see it

Phul Maya, a public servant with Elementary Support Personnel (ESP) at Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) is happy with the recent pay revision. She now receives in hand, a monthly salary of more than Nu 11,000, including house rent allowance and other benefits.

ESP—the lowest level of public servants—was paid a consolidated salary of Nu 7,000 per month without annual increment, provident fund and house rent allowance.

Last April, the Fourth Pay Commission recommended the revision of the consolidated pay, Nu 7,000 to a monthly salary of Nu 9,000, an increase of 29 percent with an annual increment of Nu 180 for ESP, who are categorised as public servants with minimum skills.

Phul Maya said getting a few thousands more with the salary rise—Nu 4,500— is now improving the living standards of her family. “I have to pay Nu 5,000 a month for a house and, currently, I am managing my family well.”

Phul Maya’s colleague Santi is also happy with the salary rise.

Santi said that with the previous level of salary, it was barely adequate to afford family requirement. “With the salary revision, it enables us to invest on non-food essentials.”

A majority of civil servants—in the lower P and S particularly—are of the view that the salary rise did not make much difference. They are in the ‘satisfied’ group.

However, with the government’s decision to provide the highest share of allowances for a select segment of professionals, a bulk of civil servants, shared their disgruntlements.

“We feel that we are the least benefitted group from the salary rise,” one said. “When there is lack of such allowances in our sector, that the government would provide to only health professionals and teachers, I feel that our work is not recognised.”

However, a certain section of people think that the deduction of personal income tax also increases with the pay rise and there isn’t much difference all in all.

“Only inflation is going to rise,” one said.

The Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) with the MOEA on June 12 issued a notification saying that manufacturers, suppliers and service providers to refrain from charging unreasonable price on goods and services and not to engage in price rigging.

Should such unfair trade practices be observed or reported upon, the notification says that the case will be dealt as per the provisions of Consumer Protection Act and its Rules and Regulations.

The chapter 3, section 7 and 8 of Consumer Protection Act of Bhutan 2012 states: “The manufacturers, suppliers and service providers shall not mislead the consumers on the price of the goods and services.”

Further, section 30 of chapter 4 and section 60 of chapter 8 of the Act states: “Where goods and services are supplied to consumers, there shall be an implied guarantee that the consumer shall not be liable to pay the supplier/service providers more than the reasonable price of goods and services.”

“We have been monitoring since the day that the notification was issued, however, no complains have been reported till date,” an official said.  He added that there are also other factors to consider like cost of production and transportation and trade policies in the manufacturing country that would affect the prices of goods and commodities in the market, causing inflation.

Chimi Dema

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