Govt to borrow Rs 1,000 cr to pay Onam bonus, allowance, advance salary

A fruit vendor counts Indian rupee notes in Mumbai on May 9, 2022. Photo: Indranil Mukherjee/AFP

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Government is all set to take loans to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore to meet the Onam expenses. It’s estimated that over Rs 8,000 crore would be required to spend from the treasury next month alone.

The additional expenses will mainly be the bonus, festival allowance, and advance salary to the government employees.

It's also been decided to provide two months' welfare pension in advance in the wake of the Onam festival.

The Finance department will take a decision on the bonus by next week. It has decided to make use of leftover sums under other existing expense heads and availing of a minimum amount as loan.

Last year's handout

Last year, the Government paid Rs 4,000 per employee as bonus, and Rs 2,750 as a festival allowance to those not eligible for the bonus. The government employees were provided Rs 15,000 each as Onam advance. An advance of Rs 5,000 each were given to other employees, including the part-time contingent staff. The Finance department is planning to extend similar Onam benefits this time too.

Average outgo

The beneficiaries should be extended Rs 3,200 each as advance welfare pension for two months. It would require Rs 1,800 crore alone for this. The Government incurs around Rs 5,000 crore a month for salary and pension. When one considers other expenses, including bonus, the total expense would come to Rs 8,000 crore. While the Finance department admits the state needs to borrow to meet the additional expense, the official version is that it's yet to determine the exact loan amount.

Restrictions for availing loans

The state has to tide over the strict restrictions imposed by the Centre to avail of loans. The Centre has fixed the borrowing limit of Kerala at Rs 17,936 crore till December 2022. This includes the loans to be availed of by KIIFB for development projects and that by the pension company to extend welfare pensions to lakhs of beneficiaries.

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