RCSC in discussions with MoF over pay hike to LTT civil servants

In the final Meet-the-Press of the government on 27 October, the former Prime Minister Lotay Tshering, had said that civil servants on Long-Term Training (LTT) are eligible to get the recent pay hike.

He said he does not accept the RCSC and Ministry of Finance (MoF) position that the hike had not been on the basic pay, and he said that a decision will be finalized during the last Cabinet meeting on Monday 30 October before the government’s term ended.

It has been learnt that the Cabinet recommended the pay hike for the LTT, and now the ball is in the court of the RCSC and MoF.

The RCSC will first have to amend the Bhutan Civil Service Rules (BCSR) Chapter 10 section 10.3.8.4 which says a civil servant on training is entitled to basic pay.

A source in the RCSC said that it is in favour of giving the hike to the LTT, but the BCSR is only planned to be amended on 17 December 2023.

A former cabinet minister said that a civil servant on LTT has to effectively maintain two households and so the LTT should be given.

For the hike to happen, RCSC will have to write to MoF which has to accept it.

There also needs to be discussions between the two agencies before some final clarity and decision can come on the LTT hike. The discussion is because this was not the norm before and LTT civil servants had not been budgeted in the original hike. There are both legal and financial implications.

As of 3 November, there are 534 people undergoing LTT, of which 277 are in Bhutan. All of them currently did not get the pay hike since they only get their basic pay.

Then there are another 154 civil servants in a separate group that is doing mixed mode training in Bhutan, and these are mainly teachers who take their training during holidays and continue to work. This group is getting the full hike.

An official sharing a different perspective said that some of those on LTT get stipends and so now their total pay would be higher than civil servants working in Bhutan, and asked if that is fair.

The official also pointed out that allowances and salary is being given to working civil servants for work, and so when people on training take the same then it is not fair. The official said this shows a deep and entrenched sense of entitlement.

A RCSC source replied to this saying only a small fraction of the 534 get stipends and these are ones on scholarship abroad.

The hike is likely to come through, but it is now a matter of when it happens.

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