EVEN AS Shiv Sena and MNS have started stirring up the Marathi issue as civic polls come closer, the Sena-controlled Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has decided to withdraw its provision of double increment to employees with a post-graduation in Marathi.
To promote the language, the BMC had passed a proposal in 2001 offering two increments to employees with a PG degree in Marathi. Mooted by MNS corporator Mangesh Sangale, the proposal is applicable to all its nearly 1.25 lakh full-time employees.
However, officials said, implementation of the scheme ran into various issues over the years. The matter was taken up in the group leaders’ meeting last week, and the civic administration has now said acquiring more qualification than required was more to do with “personal satisfaction and progress”.
“The state has implemented the Union government’s pay commission. We have also revised civic employees’ salaries… This has increased the establishment expenditure of the civic body. Acquiring more education than the eligibility criteria is related to personal satisfaction and progress of the employees. It would be inappropriate to waste taxpayers’ money on giving two increments to them,” said a senior civic official.
While Shiv Sena and MNS corporators did not agree to the new decision, civic chief Ajoy Mehta told the group leaders that rather than giving increments, the BMC should make it mandatory for all employees, including the commissioner, to acquire a PG degree in Marathi to promote the language.
Another official said Mehta’s concern over waste of public money was right, with the civic body losing huge revenue in octroi. Also, if the octroi is abolished and Goods and Services Tax comes into effect, the BMC’s income will see a hit and it will have to explore new sources of revenue, along with cutting down on expenditure.
However, the group leaders insisted on retaining the provision. “Our demand remains the same. Increments should be given to employees to promote the language,” said Trushna Vishwasrao, senior Sena corporator and leader of the House, adding the civic body continued to award contracts worth crores of taxpayers’ money to blacklisted contractors.
“The proposal was passed by the general body of the BMC. So, the civic chief must consider it and come up with a revised proposal. Our fight will continue,” MNS group leader Sandeep Deshpande.