New Delhi, June 29 (IANS) Justifying "lesser hike" by the 7th Pay Commission in comparison to earlier pay panels, especially the 5th and the 6th pay panels, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said salaries in the government sector have risen higher than those in the private sector.

"Government (sector) salaries used to be lesser in comparison to private sector. The 5th and the 6th Pay Commissions ensured that the gap goes away," he said while announcing that the central government has accepted the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission.

Responding to a question that many employees' organisations were not happy with the hike in salaries and pensions, the minister said that all pay commissions cannot go on giving the same hike every time.

"With the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission, the salaries of the government employees have risen higher than that of the private sector employees. So, there is no reason to oppose it," he said, adding that major hikes were given earlier to level the salaries and attract best talent for government jobs.

Earlier, announcing the decision of the government, the minister said that recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission will benefit over one crore central government employees and pensioners.