The Maharashtra government has turned down its employees’ demand to pay their salaries in cash. However, the state will request the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to relax restrictions and permit government employees to withdraw their entire salary in one go.
“We are requesting the RBI to allow government employees to withdraw their entire salary in one go,” said Sudhir Mungantiwar, finance minister.
The finance department told its employees that paying their salaries in cash is not feasible owing to the huge volume of cash needed, security measures for the chests at district and taluka levels, and the political repercussions of the decision.
When the state government is adopting ways to promote a cashless economy, how can it disburse the salary of its own employees in cash?
The state government disburses Rs7,500 crore a month towards the salary of its 17.5 lakh employees. It will have to disburse the cash through 12,000 treasuries in various offices in the state. However obtaining such a huge amount of cash is impossible, said officers.
“Why do they need their salaries in cash when they can withdraw Rs24,000 a week from the bank? When the state government is adopting ways to promote a cashless economy, how can it disburse the salary of its own employees in cash? Most importantly, extending privileges to government employees will send a wrong message to society, particularly the lower middle class,” said an official from the finance department.
Employees unions had demanded that the salaries of two months be given to them in cash. They had also demanded an advance of certain amounts in cash.
“The finance department conveyed its inability to disburse cash. If government employees are paid in cash, this will reduce queues at banks. The common man could have gotten respite.The employees attending the winter session in Nagpur have, however, been given an advance in cash by the government,” said Subhash Gangurde, general secretary, Maharashtra State Employees Central Federation.