Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Kochi: The Kerala cabinet on Wednesday has cleared the salary challenge proposal to collect one month’s salary of government employees as part of mobilising funds to combat Covid 19. Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan earlier said that the state is passing through an unprecedented financial crisis and urged the government employees to contribute one month’s salary to Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF).
The government is planning to mobilise Rs.2000 crore through a salary challenge. However, it is not clear whether all the employees should spare one month’s salary compulsory. The Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala while welcoming the proposal urged the government to take final decision on compulsory donation of one month’s salary only after consultation with service organisations.
The government is also considering the decision of other state governments to cut short employees’ salary who are not willing to participate in salary challenge.
However, a final order in this regard will be taken by the government only after consulting with legal experts.
Earlier in 2018, when the government announced a salary challenge to mobilise funds for flood relief and rehabilitation, the decision was challenged in the High Court.
It has also been decided that all ministers should donate Rs. one lakh to the CMDRF. Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan, Industries Minister E P Jayarajan and Tourism Minister Kadkamapally Surendran have already made their contribution.
In 2018, nearly 60 per cent of the government employees participated in the salary challenge and the initiative invited widespread criticism.
Meanwhile, many state governments like Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra have already announced that salaries of government employees will be cut short in view of the serious financial crisis.