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The Government’s Top 5 Departments By Salary Spend

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Central Government salaries have been rising steadily over the last five years, from Rs 39,239 crore in 2005-06 to Rs 87,338 crore in 2009-10.


Who are the biggest of the lot within this? IndiaSpend’s Sourjya Bhowmick builds a list of the Top 5 departments by wages.  Interestingly, the Ministry of Finance is at Number 4 while the Indian Audit & Accounts Service is at Number 6.


The fiscal year 2009-10, which followed the implementation of the Pay Commission saw a total salary bill of Rs 87,338 crore ( Pay + Dearness Allowance+ House Rent Allowance+ CCA+OTA+TPT) and Rs 1,301 crore ( Travel+ Bonus+ Honorarium). Thus, Rs 88,639 crore was the total expenditure for all the Central Government employees. Moreover there existed huge gaps when it comes to the total sanctioned posts and the total number that is in position.


Let’s see a snapshot over a period of five years;


Salaries & Positions Over 5 Years


Year Total Sanctioned Posts Total Number In Position Salary (Rs Crore)
2005-06 35,26,769 31,09,274 39,757
2006-07 35,46,537 31,09,274 42,219
2007-08 35,62,188 31,16,832 45,409
2008-09 35,64,283 31,07,343 66,506
2009-10 36,02,295 30,68,359 88,639


Total Vacancy: 533,936


The total expenditure for 30,68,359 employees is Rs 88,639 crore. And there is a vacancy of 533,936 positions. The sanctioned posts in all Central Ministries have been rising over the years. But there is no huge increase. The shortfall, on the other hand shows that the vacancy is not fulfilled. For that matter in the year 2006-07, the total numbers in position remained same though the sanctioned posts increased by 20,000.


Top Spenders


Let’s take a tour of the Ministries in the year 2009-10 and see who takes the major amount of money as salary, biggest vacancies and largest manpower.




One reason for the Railways’ poor safety record is said to be the shortfall in staff. Since 2002-03 to the year 2009-10, a whopping 65,478 people have been killed. This number includes Railways employees as well. Though it is very difficult to judge how many of them were the victims of the shortfall in railways personnel (unmanned railway crossings etc) but it is safe to assume a large number.


The table below gives you an idea about the vacancy in the railways and the amount of money that gets pumped as pays and allowances;


Year Number of Sanctioned Posts Numbers in position Salary (Rs Crore)
2009-10 15,76,788 13,61,519 35,207


A total of 215,269 vacancies existed in the Railways in the year 2009-10. It is doubtful whether the total shortfall has been managed to some extent.


Home Affairs


The second in the list of top 5 is the Ministry of Home Affairs assigned to maintain the internal security of the country.


Year Number of Sanctioned Posts Number in Position Salary (Rs Crore)
2009-10 8,60,062 7,55,349 16,946


The vacancy stood at 104,713.


Defence (Civilian)


Ex Army Chief of Staff General V K Singh had reportedly written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh alleging that “tanks’ have run out of ammunition, air defences were obsolete and infantry is short of critical weapons.” Incidentally, this is not the only problem plaguing the armed forces. Defence Ministry ranks third when it comes to vacancies.


Year Number of Sanctioned Posts Number in Position Salary (Rs Crore)
2009-10 478,648 364,718 12,487


Vacancy stands at 113,930.


India Post


Next in list is the Department of Posts. Its salary bill is Rs 7,208 crore (including Grameen Dak Sewak). Incidentally, there was no vacancy is this Department. The sanctioned position was 206,334 and the equal number was in position. However, this number excludes Grameen Dak Sewak and the numbers are provisional.




Next in line is the Finance Ministry.


Year Number of Sanctioned Posts Number in Position Salary (Rs Crore)
2009-10 138,677 107,009 4,461


Vacancy: 31,688


Indian Audit and Accounts


The Indian Audit and Accounts which is a department under the Ministry of Finance also makes it to the list.


Year Number of Sanctioned Posts Number in Position Salary (Rs Crore)
2009-10 67,758 44,659 2,102


Vacancy: 23,099


These are the top five Ministries and Departments which require the largest manpower, has the highest expenditure as Pays and Allowances and the most vacancies


Ministries With Least Expenditure


The Ministries with the least expenditure on pays and allowances include;


  • Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation- Rs 224 crore
  • Ministry of Culture- Rs 245 crore
  • Ministry of Earth Sciences- Rs 255 crore
  • Ministry of Commerce- Rs 274 crore
  • Ministry of Labour and Employment- Rs 292 crore


While there is often a feeling that Government is too big and unwieldy, it’s also been argued that if you take away support staff and lower rungs, in many cases, Government departments are actually undermanned. Perhaps that explains the large number of vacancies.




CCA: City Compensatory Allowance


OTA: Overtime Allowance


TPT: Transport Allowance


All Data taken Ministry of Finance, Pay and Research Unit

  1. Chetan Gangoli Reply

    August 4, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Interesting to note that the average salary of a government servant jumped by 47% in the year 2008-09, and again by 35% in the year 2009-10. In FY 2010-11, the government stepped on the brakes and the total wage bill actually fell by 1.3%.

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