In a move aimed at providing relief amidst soaring inflation, the federal cabinet has given its nod to budget proposals for the fiscal year 2023-2024, approving a substantial salary increase of up to 35% for government employees.
The decision, made in consultation with various stakeholders, recognises the hardships faced by the economically disadvantaged sections of society. Additionally, the government has sanctioned a 17.5% increment in pensions for the upcoming fiscal year.
According to preliminary reports, employees in grades 1-16 will witness a 35% raise, while those above grade 17 will receive a 30% increment. Furthermore, the government has proposed setting the minimum wage at Rs32,000.
The Pay and Pension Commission had recommended a 100% augmentation in medical and conveyance allowances for government employees, along with a 10% increase in ad hoc allowances.
During the budget speech, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar acknowledged the challenges faced by government employees and assured them that several measures were being taken to alleviate their burden.
Dar announced that the minimum pension would be raised to Rs12,000 and the EOBI (Employees’ Old-Age Benefits Institution) pension would be increased to Rs10,000.
Moreover, the government plans to support widows by paying their debts through the House Building Finance Corporation (HBFC) up to one million rupees. The deposit limit in national savings accounts for martyrs is also set to increase from Rs5 million to Rs7.5 million.
In addition, the allocation for the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) will be raised by Rs50 billion, reaching a total of Rs450 billion.
To further assist the public, the government proposes a targeted subsidy program of Rs25 billion to provide essential commodities through Utility Stores Corporation.
The Finance Minister also announced the issuance of health insurance cards for working journalists and artists, demonstrating the government’s commitment to supporting various sectors of society.