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

YearTotal Sanctioned PostsTotal Number In PositionSalary (Rs Crore)

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;

YearNumber of Sanctioned PostsNumbers in positionSalary (Rs Crore)

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.

YearNumber of Sanctioned PostsNumber in PositionSalary (Rs Crore)

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.

YearNumber of Sanctioned PostsNumber in PositionSalary (Rs Crore)

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.

YearNumber of Sanctioned PostsNumber in PositionSalary (Rs Crore)

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.

YearNumber of Sanctioned PostsNumber in PositionSalary (Rs Crore)

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