Personnel and Administrative Reforms Minister D. Jayakumar on Saturday said that meeting the demands of the striking government employees and teachers affiliated to the Joint Action Council of Tamil Nadu Teachers’ Organisations and Government Employees’ Organisations (Jactto-Geo) will burden the State’s finances.
There would be no funds left for public welfare schemes, he said.
In a statement, he urged the striking employees and teachers to return to work and warned of departmental disciplinary action if they failed to comply with the directive.
The government employees and teachers have been on indefinite strike since January 22.
The Minister gave a detailed explanation on why their demands cannot be met, highlighting the expenditure on salaries, pensions, administrative expenses and interest payments, which account for 71% of the State’s expenditure.
What Jaya promised
He claimed that the government employees and teachers were drawing more salary than the employees of private sector firms and institutions.
According to data provided by the Minister, a high school headmaster is paid ₹68,280 and their average monthly salary is ₹1,03,320. A supervisor in the State Ministry gets ₹44,280 at the time of joining, and now, their average salary is ₹66,840. A deputy secretary at the State secretariat, at the time of joining, gets a salary of ₹1,48,080 and the average salary is now ₹2,23,920.
Mr. Jayakumar clarified that former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had only promised that a committee would be formed to look into the possibility of reverting to the old pension scheme, and not for cancelling the new pension scheme.
On salary arrears, Mr. Jayakumar pointed out that the government stood to incur an additional expenditure of ₹14,500 crore on implementing the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission, and due to this, the revenue deficit increased to ₹21,594 crore in 2017-18, and would touch ₹24,000 crore in 2018-19. The revenue deficit was met through market borrowings, he pointed out. If the salary arrears demand were to be cleared, the government would need an additional ₹20,000 crore, which it would have to borrow, he added. Additional borrowing would lead to imposition of additional taxes on people, he said.