NEW DELHI: Ahead of the festive season, railway employees are likely to get 78-day wages as a bonus this year, the same as in the last six years.
The Railway Board has proposed 78-day wages as a productivity-linked bonus (PLB) for its employees for 2017-18 after detailed discussions with rail unions, and the proposal is likely to be approved by the Cabinet, a senior Railway Ministry official told IANS.
The bonus for railwaymen assumes significance as five states are entering the electioneering phase while the general elections also round the corner. The government is slated to announce the bonus in the next few days after Cabinet approval.
PLB is paid to about 12.26 lakh railway employees each year before the Dussehra festival. This does not include the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and Railway Protection Special Force (RPSF) personnel.
National Federation of Indian Railwaymen General Secretary M. Raghavaiah said: "Since the Railways has earned Rs 16,000 crore more than the last year's earnings and transported a record 1,161 million tonnes of freight this time, we had demanded an 80-day bonus. But finally, we agreed on 78 days."
The bonus is likely to work out to be around Rs 18,000 per employee. This will be the seventh year in a row that 78-days' wages are given as PLB to railway employees.
All-India Railwaymen's Federation General Secretary Shiv Gopal Mishra said: "The 78-day bonus will be announced next week as employees expect it during the festive season. It motivates the employees to improve the financial position of the public transporter."
The financial implication of 78-day bonus to eligible non-gazetted railway employees for 2017-18 is estimated at over Rs 2,000 crore. The wage calculation ceiling prescribed for payment of bonus is Rs 7,000 per month. Thus, the maximum amount payable per eligible railway employee is Rs 17,951 for 78 days.
The Railways expect that the PLB would serve as an incentive and result in motivating a large number of employees, particularly those involved in operations, to improve their productivity and ensure safety, speed and service for customers.