Kerala Governor gives nod to ordinance which allows govt to temporarily cut salaries
The Kerala government was forced to bring the ordinance after the High Court stayed its order to slash employees’ salaries for six days every month for the next five months.
The Governor of Kerala, Arif Mohammad Khan, on Thursday signed an ordinance brought by the state government to overcome a high court verdict and cut the salary of government employees to fund the ongoing fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Opposition parties Congress and BJP had asked the Governor not to give his nod to the ordinance. The Opposition said that Kerala government was taking revenge on employees after it suffered a serious setback in the court.
The government was forced to bring the ordinance after the Kerala High Court stayed its order to slash employees’ salaries for six days every month for the next five months (totalling 30 days). Reeling under severe financial constraints, the government is planning to save Rs 2,000 crore through this.
“It is sad that a big controversy was created over this. It should have been avoided at this juncture. Opposition also provoked employees’ outfits,” said state finance minister Thomas Issac welcoming the Governor’s decision and adding that it was a temporary arrangement.
The government order issued to that effect last week said the move will be applicable to employees of all state- owned enterprises, public sector undertakings, quasi-government organisations and universities, among others.
“All are undergoing a difficult situation. So it is natural that employees will also be a part of the process. We have deducted 30% salaries of ministers, MLAs, board chairmen and others for one year,” Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Wednesday.
Announcing the cabinet decision, Isaac had told mediapersons on Wednesday: “As per this ordinance, the state government has been empowered to defer 25% of the salary of government employees, in case of a disaster.”
The minister, however, made it clear that 25 per cent of the salary would not be deferred and the state government would go ahead with its initial six-day cut plan.
The employees’ outfits have, meawhile, said they will move the Supreme Court against the ordinance.