Kerala

Kerala govt. to take a decision on Onam allowance, bonus: this week

The strain on State finances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has put a question mark over the festival allowance and bonus given to government employees for Onam.

Amid reports that the State government might give the ‘Onam tradition’ a miss this year, Finance Minister K.N. Balagopal said the government would finalise a decision on festival advance, allowance and bonus over Monday and Tuesday.

The government would need to spend close to ₹300 crore for issuing the festival allowance and bonus and a slightly higher amount for the festival advance, Mr. Balagopal said.

Thiruvonam falls on August 21 this year.

Last year, the State government had paid ₹15,000 to employees as festival advance which was deductible from their subsequent salaries in installments. Employees with salaries up to ₹27,360 were paid ₹4,000 as bonus and those drawing higher salaries were given a festival allowance of ₹2,750.

Advance salary unlikely

This year, the government is unlikely to issue the salary for the month of August, the Onam month, in advance, a measure meant to energise the Onam markets. Mr. Balagopal pointed out that such a step was taken in previous years only when Onam occurred towards the end of a month, which is not the case this year. “We have never had to do it since 2018,” he pointed out.

On the other hand, the government had announced that the distribution of welfare pensions for July and August will begin in the first week of August. For meeting the two-month payment to 55 lakh people, the government would need to shell out ₹1,600 crore.

The government had also announced special Onam kits, containing 16 essential food items, to ration card holders. The State government is spending ₹526 crore on the food kits.

Last week, the Finance Minister had also announced a ₹5,650-crore relief package in the Assembly for small traders and industries hit by pandemic-induced financial crisis.


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Printable version | Sep 29, 2021 5:24:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/govt-to-take-a-decision-on-onam-allowance-bonus-this-week/article35666067.ece

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