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New NC members to draw revised salary

… Sixth Pay Commission yet to submit report to the Cabinet

Rinzin Wangchuk 

The fourth National Council (NC) members will be the first to draw the salary that was revised last year during the winter session of the Parliament. The new members will join the office with an oath-taking ceremony today.

The Ministry of Finance is yet to issue an office order to the National Council Secretariat to enforce the Pay Structure Reform Act of Bhutan 2022.

Although the basic salary for the members of the Parliament has remained the same, the Act provides a provision for five percent indexation on monthly basic pay to adjust for inflation. The members with basic pay of Nu 73,845 per month will receive Nu 3,690 per month as salary indexation. The chairperson with a basic salary of Nu 137,800 will receive Nu 6,890 per month while the deputy chairperson will receive Nu 4,210 per month on the basic salary of Nu 84,180.

Recognising the hardships that public servants have had to undergo with the rise in the prices of daily necessities, goods & commodities and house rent, the fifth Pay Commission revisited the cost of living adjustment recommendations of the past Pay Commissions.

The fourth Pay Commission had recommended a maximum indexation of five percent and minimum at two percent to be paid as a lump sum for the cost of living adjustment (COLA) in keeping with the state of economy and inflation level.

However, with the onset of the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, the government through the Annual Budget Act has twice deferred the implementation of the annual wage indexation, according to the commission report.

Unlike the past revision, the MPs will not be entitled to lump sum leave encashment (LE) and leave travel concession (LTC). However, they will get Nu 6,155 as LE at one month’s minimum pay scale which is prorated per month.   

The chairperson gets Nu 11,485 per month as LE and deputy chairperson Nu 7,015.

The revised pay structure will also allow Nu 1,250 per month as LTC for all the members.

The other allowances

The members will receive the existing 30 percent of the minimum pay scale as a house rent allowance (HRA). At this rate, the deputy chairperson will be entitled to Nu 25,255 per month and Nu 22,150 by the members.

House rent allowance has been provided to compensate for the rising cost of housing and affordability without having to spend a maximum portion of their earnings on house rent.

The discretionary grant of Nu 0.20 million per annum is provided to the chairperson and Nu 0.15 million per annum for the members. That means the chairperson will receive Nu 16,665 per month and members will get Nu 12,500 each.

The driver allowance and vehicle fuel and maintenance allowance for the MPs are retained at Nu 10,000 per month each. The Act also stated that each MP will be provided with a designated duty vehicle or a one-time lump sum grant for the purchase of the vehicle along with the driver, and fuel and maintenance allowances.

The chairperson residing at the Lhengye Densa entitles Nu 8,500 per month as water and electricity charges and Nu 9,450 per month as domestic help.

As per the Act, the pay revision for the civil servants and other public servants should come into force from July 1 this year and the National Assembly members after the election of the fourth Parliament.

However, it is unlikely because the sixth pay commission is already working for the next pay revision. The Cabinet is yet to receive the commission’s report. According to officials from Prime Minister’s Office, Lhengye Zhungtshog will review the commission’s recommendations and then submit the report as Money Bill to the Parliament for discussion.