THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government’s efforts to resolve the crisis in salary payment for government employees met with partial success on Friday. About 2 lakh employees received their salary on the day thereby taking the total number to 2.40 lakh. The total number of government employees, including teachers, is 4.86 lakh.
On Friday, the Finance Department made an urgent intervention by opening help desks in the headquarters and all branches of the Treasuries Department to help the drawing and disbursal officer in each government office.
Salary payment was hit after the Supreme Court order in the salary challenge case. The apex court ruled against the condition in salary challenge that employees unwilling to contribute their one month’s salary to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF) should give a written declaration to that effect.
About 90 per cent of salary bills for November were submitted to the Treasuries Department through SPARK software before October 29, the day when the SC issued the order. In the wake of the SC order, a consent letter by the staff concerned was necessary to make deductions as part of the salary challenge.
“Only 85 per cent of the employees who joined the salary challenge had submitted consent letters before. In the wake of the SC order, the DDOs were mandated to collect the letter. Either they have to obtain it from the staff or exclude him from the deduction. There evolved a problem since the SPARK did not have a provision to make additions or exclusions of persons after bill submission,” a senior official with the Finance Minister’s office said.
On November 1, the first day of salary payment for employees, excluding teachers, only 2500 bills were submitted. About 40,000 persons received their salary on the day.
On Friday, the Finance Department swung into action by introducing a provision for addition or exclusion of staff. The help desks guided the DDOs to make use of the provision. The intervention yielded positive results and 18,000 bills were honoured thereby benefiting two lakh employees. They included teachers who can draw salary from the second working day of a month. The Finance Minister’s Office dismissed speculations that there was drop from the salary challenge members since the SC order. “Consent letters could not be obtained from several interested persons in time. This was rectified to a large extend. However, actual figures could be known by the middle of the month,” an officer said.