A slew of measures, including salary cut for six months from September, have been cleared by the Cabinet to mobilise revenue in the wake of financial crisis made acute by the pandemic and lockdown.
Acting on the report of the two expert committees headed by former Chief Secretary K.M. Abraham and Director, Centre for Development Studies, Sunil Mani, the Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan decided to merge the six-day salaries of the government employees and teachers deducted for five months from April this year, to meet the expenses for the COVID-19 fight, in the Provident Fund on April 1, 2021.
“The amount merged in the PF can be withdrawn by the employees from June 1, 2021 and will be given 9% annual interest till it is deposited in the PF on April 1, 2021. This is to avoid the ₹2,500 crore additional burden to the exchequer if the deducted amount is returned now,” a communication from the Chief Minister’s Office said.
The Cabinet decided to extend the salary cut for another six months from September after holding discussions with recognised unions of government employees and teachers. The initiative will be known as COVID-19 Income Support Scheme. It will also attract 9% annual interest till it is merged in PF on April 1, 2021.
For pensioners without PF, the deducted money will be returned after June 2021 in equal monthly instalments. Leave surrender, frozen now, will be merged with PF and will be allowed from September. But, the money can be withdrawn only from June 1, 2021. In the next financial year, the leave surrender will be allowed only from June 1, 2021.
Leave without pay that is available for 20 years has been reduced to five years. The practice of reporting posts after the employee goes on leave for 90 days has been scrapped.
New posts of college teachers will be allowed from June this year by taking into account minimum 16 hours of teaching in a week. Rules will be amended within a month by the Higher Education Department. The existing rule of creating a post of school teacher with an increase of one student will be avoided. The government will be the final authority to create posts of teachers in schools and protected teachers will get priority.