The Cabinet on Wednesday decided to create 13,678 supernumerary posts to offset the impact of the government decision to raise pension age on recruitment to government service.

Briefing the media on the decisions of the weekly Cabinet meeting, the Chief Minister said that 12,678 government employees were due to retire on the unified retirement date of March 31. Now that the unification had been dispensed with and the age of superannuation fixed at 56 years, they would be retiring over the coming financial year. However, youth would be absorbed into an equal number of vacancies that would have arisen had the employees retired on March 31.

Already, the government had reported 10,686 of these vacancies to the Public Service Commission (PSC) and those advised by the commission would be absorbed into the supernumerary posts from April 1. The balance number of posts would be reported to the PSC immediately.

Mr. Chandy said that the decision was taken in tune with the announcement made by the government in the Assembly. Finance Minister K.M. Mani would announce a similar package for teachers in the Assembly. He wondered why the youth wings of Left parties were agitating over the decision to raise the pension age. The LDF government had raised the age of superannuation of staff in several public sector units from 55 to 58 years, he added.

The Chief Minister announced that the KSRTC would allow free travel to cancer patients going for treatment at medical college hospitals and regional cancer centres. The stipend of postgraduate students in homeopathy and Ayurveda would be raised to Rs.17,000 a month with effect from January this year. Administrative sanction would be given for construction of a building for the civil service institute at a cost of Rs.10 crore. The work would be entrusted to the National Building Institute.