Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bangalore ready for A-1 tag, but red tape holds it up

Bangalore ready for A-1 tag, but red tape holds it up
Naheed Ataulla | TNN

Bangalore: It is the issue of how fast the Karnataka government cuts the red tape and sends information sought by the Centre, if Greater Bangalore has to join the elite club of New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata as ‘A-1’ class cities.
Bangalore though classified as ‘A’ class now, it is qualified for the upgrade (A-1), which stipulates the population should be above 50 lakhs. “With the merger of seven city municipal councils, one town panchayat and 110 villages, the population has reached 57,99,613 from the previous 43,01,326. The area has gone up from 226 sqkm to 757.92 sqkm. Including the floating population, the number of people here has touched 65 lakhs,’’ urban development department sources said.
The reclassification will benefit 5.32 lakh state and over 51,950 central government undertaking employees, whose house rent allowance will increase from 15% to 30% of their basic pay. This is a boon, considering the high rentals in Bangalore, while the City Compensatory Allowance hike (15% for both sectors now) will be meagre.
Aso, it entitles the state to higher central grants.
“We’ve sought details on Bangalore and Hyderabad populations after their governments added some areas. Both qualify for ‘A-1’ with the population going up. With the A-1 tag, there will be a 50% jump in the HRA of central government employees,’’ Union finance ministry sources said.
The finance department admitted that certain information was sought and the file sent to the urban development department. The latter said the information was procured and it was now up to the finance department to process and send it. The matter lies there.
Karnataka State Government Employees’ Association president L Byrappa said the Fifth Pay Commission had corrected certain anomalies in the payscales, like raising HRA in Bangalore from 12% to 15%. “Of the two Pay Commission reports, the first on revision of basic salaries was implemented. The second on allowances, has not been implemented by the government.’’


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