Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: The State government has decided to regularise the services of all the 6,446 employees of the Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty (SERP) and give them a hike in salary and allowances with retrospective effect from January 1, 2008

The SERP is an agency of the Rural Development Department, overseeing the functioning of self-help groups under Indira Kranthi Patham and thus empowering women. The increased allowances, however, will be paid only with effect from April 1, 2008. The hikes will place an annual additional burden of Rs 30.09 crore on the exchequer.

Announcing this at a press conference here on Monday after reviewing issues relating to IKP followed by an interaction of self-help group members, Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy said SERP would hereafter be treated as a government undertaking. K. Raju, principal secretary, Rural Development said arrears would be paid to the SERP staff soon. Annual increment would be allowed to them at 6 per cent of the gross remuneration.