The Kerala government on Wednesday promulgated an ordinance to override Kerala High Court decision to put a stay on deferment of the payment of salary of government employees for six days every month from April to August.
According to the reports, the Kerala government miffed by Kerala High Court order decided to float a new ordinance which will enable it to defer payment of salary up to 25 per cent. The decision to deduct the salary of employees was to ostensibly help the state tide over the financial strain emerged due to the Chinese pandemic coronavirus.
Speaking to the media, state Finance Minister Thomas Issac said that the government has decided to come out with Disaster and Public Emergency Special Provisions Act which will give it the power to defer payment of salaries, up to 25 per cent of all state government employees. The deferred salaries will be paid on a later date that will be decided after 6 months by the government.
“The central government should come out with a package for interstate and international migrant workers for their rehabilitation and relief. Center should take their responsibility as it comes under the union list,” he added.
Six days’ salary to be deducted
The government will be deducting a six days’ worth salary every month of all categories of government employees including teachers, university staff, workers of all public sector units in the next five months as a temporary measure. However, the deduction proposal is for those government employees whose salary is more than 20,000.
Opposition, govt employees protest
However, a section of government employees has shown disagreement with CM’s decision. The state’s medical officers’ association and the medical college teachers’ association have asked the chief minister to exempt frontline workers from the cut.
A group of teachers belonging to a pro-Congress trade union has protested by burning copies of the ordinance to postpone the payment of salaries.
Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Mullapally Ramachandran has rejected the ordinance stating it as a challenge to the judiciary. He said it reflected the ‘Janus-faced nature’ of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government.
“The government had no qualms about hiring expensive lawyers at tax payer’s expense to defend its dubious decisions in the High Court. It had splurged money on hiring a helicopter for VVIP movement. The State had dismally failed in collecting revenue, an estimated Rs 43,000 crore, even before the outbreak struck, ” Ramachandran said.