Coronavirus: Kerala government brings ordinance on salary cuts day after High Court stayed implementation

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Updated: Apr 29, 2020 3:38 PM

Kerala government employees salary cut: The Kerala government had said the employees' salary for six days every month would be deducted for the next five months.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday skipped the video conference called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (File pic)

Kerala salary cut: In an apparent bid to circumvent an order by the Kerala High Court staying the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government’s decision to deduct salaries of government employees to fund the fight against coronavirus, the state government has decided to promulgate an ordinance to pave the way for the salary cuts of its employees. According to state Finance Minister Thomas Isaac, the funds saved by way of the deductions will be mobilised to bolster the fight against coronavirus.

The decision to promulgate an ordinance after the Kerala High Court order was taken at a cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday. On Tuesday, the Kerala High Court had stayed for two months the operationalisation of the state government’s order to deduct the salary of employees and utilise the funds to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Isaac told reporters that as per the ordinance, the state government has been empowered to defer 25 per cent of the salary of its employees in the event of a disaster.

“As per this ordinance, the state government has been empowered to defer 25 per cent of the salary of the government employees, in case of a disaster. The state government can take a decision on giving back the deferred amount within six months. These are the two operative provisions,” Isaac said.

The decision to take an ordinance route will give a legal backing to the government’s move to implement its order and utilise the funds during emergencies. The government’s move is also significant as challenging the High Court’s decision or holding a special Assembly session to discuss the matter would lead to further delay.

The state government had said the employees’ salary for six days every month would be deducted for the next five months. However, there will be no salary cut for those earning below Rs 20,000 per month. The government’s order said that ministers, MLAs, various Board members, Local body institution members, members of various commissions will bear 30% salary cut for one year.

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