The State government has announced increased bonus and festival allowance to all its employees in connection with the Onam festivities falling in the middle of this month.

Those getting a monthly salary of up to Rs.14,500 will get an ‘ad hoc’ bonus of Rs.3,500 (increased from last year’s Rs.3,200). Those ineligible because of the upper salary ceiling will get a festival allowance of Rs.2,200 (Rs.2,000 last year).

They can avail themselves of, if they so desire, an advance of Rs.10,000 also, which will be recovered from their salary for September, payable in October. Part-time contingency employees will get an advance of Rs.2,000 each.

Briefing presspersons after a meeting of the Cabinet here on Wednesday, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that, as a rule, all employees, service pensioners, welfare pensioners, and others such as Asha workers, part-time workers, noon-meal helpers in schools, Anganwadi workers, and those from indigent sections who had been receiving Onam assistance from the government by way of bonus or festival allowance would receive around 10 per cent increase in the assistance compared to last year.

Mr. Chandy said the backlog in the disbursal of welfare pensions would be cleared before Onam. Family pensioners, who were not getting any assistance in the past, would receive an allowance of Rs.600 each in connection with Onam. A sum of Rs.90 crore was being released by the government to clear the farm workers’ pension arrears, Rs.2.25 crore for assistance to the workers of public sector units now remaining shut and similarly handicapped coir factories and estates, and Rs.15 crore for clearing the pension arrears under various welfare fund boards. Fishermen’s pension arrears too would be cleared before Onam. For this, the government was sanctioning Rs.15.24 crore.

As many as 2,891 toddy workers rendered jobless due to the closure of 738 toddy shops in the State would receive a festival allowance of Rs.1,500 each and 1,390 salesmen attached to these closed establishments, Rs.1,000 each. This amount would come from the Kerala State Beverages Corporation.

The government would also release Rs.90 crore to clear, before Onam, the backlog in the disbursal of assistance announced over the last two years for natural calamities. The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation would get from the government an assistance of Rs.50 crore for disbursing Onam benefits to its employees.

The government had earlier announced an increase in the monthly allowance for local body members by Rs.1,000 and this decision was to come into effect from April this year. The Chief Minister said all of them would receive the arrears in payment before Onam.

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