Onam celebrations of state government employees in Kerala are all set to take a big hit this time as they will not be paid two months’ salary as in previous years.
Finance Minister K N Balagopal cited the severe financial crisis faced by the state for the situation. Meanwhile, the government is also struggling to find money to pay the Onam bonus and festival allowance, he said.
“All state government employees should realize the gravity of the situation. They must also remember that the government had cared for them properly during the COVID-19 crisis,” the Minister told Manorama News.
How two months’ salary was paid
Over the past few years, the state government used to pay the salary of the month during which Onam was celebrated before the festival in advance. As a result, employees received the salary of the previous month as well as the Onam month.
The distribution of two salaries a month also led to infusion of money into the Onam markets. However, this year, even though Thiruvonam, the main day of the Onam festival, falls on August 21, the employees will receive their August salary only in September.
Bonus, festival allowance
Balagopal also said that the Finance Department was yet to take a final decision on a proposal not to distribute bonus and festival allowance this Onam.
According to the Minister, discussions were taking place on the matter. Meanwhile, it is learnt that the final word regarding bonus would be that of the Chief Minister.
Last year, employees were given an Onam advance of up to Rs 15,000. The bonus was Rs 4,000 for staff with a monthly salary up to Rs 27,360, while a festival allowance of Rs 2,750 was distributed to employees earning a higher pay. Along with two months’ salary, the total amount paid to employees by the government during Onam in 2020 was around Rs 6,000 crore.