Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government has decided to collect a month’s pension from its 5.4 crore retired staff towards the Chief Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund, but will implement the 10-month plan in instalments only after meeting with the former employees.
Finance Minister Thomas Isaac is set to meet the pensioners' organisations on September 22 with an 'open mind' and arrive at a consensus before going ahead with the move, according to top official sources.
The pensioners organisations maintain they would rather prefer making voluntary contributions. Forced donation can upset the financial condition of a family that solely depend onpensions, they say, adding that the minister would be apprised of this point.
Soon after the August deluge and landslides, the government had proposed a scheme where government employees and pensioners would be asked to contribute a month's salary to flood relief. However, the order of September 11spoke only of the staff in service. The government estimated to pool Rs 3,800 crore if all employees and the 5,43,864 pensioners donated a month's pay.
When the employees have been informed that the government would accept nothing short of a month's salary from them, it is likely to take the same stand in the case of pensioners too. In both categories, those unwilling to part with the amount will be asked to give it in writing, according to sources. That is to avoid the accusation of forced donation.
The devastating floods had claimed several lives and had left a trail of destruction across the state last month.
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