New Delhi: In a decision that will benefit more than 40,000 newspaper employees, Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved the recommendations of the Majithia Wage Boards providing for an increase in the salaries and allowances of journalists and non-journalists.

The revised wages will be applicable with effect from July 1, 2010 while the other allowances like Transport, House Rent and Hardship shall be effective from the date of notification of the awards in the Gazette, Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge told reporters.

The revised payscale is based on old basic pay plus DA admissible upto June, 2010 plus 30 per cent of the interim relief which has already been given.

The revised pay comprises variable pay at the rate of 35 percent for employees working in the first four classes of newspaper establishments and 20 percent for remaining classes of newspapers. The variable pay should be added in the revised basic pay for calculation of all allowances.

In the case of news agencies, the Cabinet note had recommended similar parameters for the first two classes and the remaining for the other two classes.

Kharge said that newspapers have been classified into eight categories and news agencies into four on the basis of their gross revenue.

Newspapers with a gross revenue of Rs 1000 crore and above have been put in the top category of Class I, Rs 500 crore (II), Rs 100 crore and above but less than 500 crore (III), Rs 50 crore and above but less than Rs 100 crore (IV), Rs 10 crore and above but less than Rs 50 crore (V), Rs 5 crore and above but less than Rs 10 crore (VI), Rs 1 crore and above but less than Rs 5 crore (VII) and less than Rs 1 crore (VIII).

In the case of news agencies, those with gross revenue of Rs 60 crore and above have been put in the top category of Class I while those above Rs 30 crore but less than Rs 60 crore (II), Rs 10 crore and above but less than Rs 30 crore (III) and less than Rs 10 crores (IV).

Kharge said that the HRA would be applicable at the rate of 30, 20 and 10 percent respectively for the X, Y and Z cities, while the same in the case of transport allowances will be at the rate of 20, 10 and 5 percent.

Night shift allowances of Rs 100 per night will be paid to employees of newspaper establishments in classes I and II, Rs 75 per night in classes III and IV and Rs 50 per night for V to VIII.

The employees of news agencies falling in classes I and II shall be paid Rs 100 per night shift and those falling in classes III and IV Rs 50.

Hardship allowance of Rs 1000 would be paid for the first four classes of newspaper establishments and first two classes of news agencies and Rs 500 for the remaining classes.

Similarly, medical allowance of Rs 1000 would be paid per employee per month to top two classes of newspapers and news agencies and Rs 500 for III and IV categories in newspapers.

He said that the proposal has been sent to legislative department of the Law Ministry for notification. "We want the notification to happen as soon as possible," Kharge said.’

The minister said there is no hurdle in the implementation of the government's decision as there is no stay by the Supreme Court.

He was replying to a question on how the government can make forward movement on implementing it when the matter is pending before the Supreme Court. "Whatever decision the Supreme Court takes will be binding on both parties," he added.

(Agencies)