Onam gesture: Early salary for Central staff in Kerala

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on August 12, 2020

Salaries of Central Government employees in Kerala for August may be drawn and disbursed by the respective offices (including Defence and Posts & Telecommunications) on August 26 (Wednesday) in view of Onam.

Wages for the industrial employees of the Central Government too may be disbursed in advance the same day, an Office Memorandum issued by the Ministry of Finance said on Wednesday. Pension for all Central Government pensioners may also be disbursed by banks/PAOs the same day.

Subject to adjustments

Salary/wages/pension so disbursed is to be treated as advance payments and will be subject to adjustment after the full month’s salary/wages/pension of each employee/pensioner is determined. The adjustment, if any, will be made without exception from the salary/wages/pension of the month.

The concerned Ministries/Departments have been directed to bring these instructions to the notice of their offices located in the state. The Reserve Bank too has been directed to sound out the paying branches of all banks located in the State.

Pressure on State govt

The number of Central Government employees in the State may be in the region of 10,000, according to Jose Sebastian, public finance expert, and former faculty of the Gulati Institute of Finance and Taxation. The Central government gesture would only add pressure on the State government to come out with a package for its own employees.

Earlier in April, Governor Arif Mohammad Khan had signed an ordinance to bring in a law to defer up to 25 per cent of salaries of employees for six months to help the state ride out the Covid-19 emergency. The State expects to raise ₹2,500 crore through this move. It needs ₹2,000 crore to pay salaries to the employees.

Salaries deferred

The lockdown had severely affected its revenue mobilisation. The ordinance was promulgated after the Kerala High Court had stayed a government order to cut salaries on the ground that it lacked legal backing. The Court had ruled that financial difficulty cannot be a ground for deferring or cutting salaries of government employees.

Following this, the State Cabinet decided to bring out an executive order to defer wages up to 25 per cent for six months. An amount matching the deferred sum will be submitted to the Chief Minister’s Relief fund, and restored to employees when the financial distress eases, according to Thomas Isaac, State Finance Minister.

Published on August 12, 2020

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