With train services stopped and lockdown firmly in place to contain the spread of Coronavirus COVID-19, salaries may not get credited to the accounts of employees on April 1, 2020.
Posted at a place in Kolkata, about 40 km south of Sealdah Station, Koushal Dey (name changed), an officer with the Pay & Accounts Department of the Central Government, has got locked down in his home town, about 100 km north of the state capital of West Bengal. With train services stopped and lockdown firmly in place to contain the spread of the highly contagious Novel Coronavirus COVID-19, he has no opportunity to reach his office after changing trains at the Sealdah Station.
“I am lucky to be at my home at this moment of crisis,” said Dey, adding, “Many of my colleagues have got stuck in Kolkata, with no option to either reach home or office.”
When asked about how the accounts would be closed and salaries to be disbursed, Dey said, “Salaries may be disbursed only from my system at the office and can’t be done from any other computer / laptop. So, the employees will not get their salary on April 1, as the lockdown would continue at least till April 14.”
“Moreover, the software that is used to process salaries was due for renewal after March 15, which could not be done due to the Coronavirus crisis. So, salaries would get delayed further even after the lockdown gets over till the software gets updated,” he added.
Talking on timely closing of accounts on April 31 and getting budget allocated for the financial year (FY) 2020-21, Dey said, “Some extension is given to get the budget allocated, but without any extension in financial year beyond March 31, 2020, there is no way that accounts may be closed on time.”
Not only Dey, a large number of government employees working even in the Central Secretariat in Delhi, need to travel in local and passenger trains from nearby places like Ghaziabad, Faridabad etc and from distant places like Aligarh, Rewari etc and may also face such problems.
The situation is no different in other metro cities or for the private sector as well, if not worse.
With almost no possibility to commute to office during the lockdown period, there would be high possibility that the Coronavirus would add to the woes with salary getting delayed for many employees of both the government and private sectors, unless proper steps are taken to escort key employees – responsible for disbursing salary – to their respective offices on time to process the payments.
For that, the government and other organisations should take the following steps:
- Identify the key employees responsible for processing and disbursing salaries.
- Contact them to find their current locations.
- Arrange proper transport, keeping safety aspects in mind, so that they may reach office.
- Arrange proper facilities so that the employees from far away places can stay near office safely.
- Ensure cleanliness and hygienic food for them.
- Escort them back once salary is disbursed and accounts are complete.