The Uttar Pradesh Cabinet on Tuesday approved the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission, months ahead of the Assembly elections in the state. The new pay will come into effect from January 1, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said, according to PTI.

The decision will benefit at least 16 lakh state government employees and six lakh pensioners who will see a 15% to 20% hike in their income, The Financial Express reported. “It will put an additional burden of crores of rupees on the state exchequer,” Yadav said, adding that these state government employees will help the Samajwadi Party form a government in Uttar Pradesh again.

After announcing his Cabinet’s approval for the recommendations, Yadav also attacked the Narendra Modi government for demonetising high-value notes, saying the 50-day window to exchange or deposit Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes at banks was inadequate. “People who were asking for 50 days are now asking for 50 more days. It will take at least another year for the situation to normalise,” he said.

On an SP-Congress alliance, he said, “Though Samajwadis are going to form a majority government in the state, we can win more than 300 [of the 403] seats with an alliance,” PTI reported.