The Kerala government on Wednesday announced that it would “defer” salaries of its government employees for the next five months to mobilise funds to fight the battle against coronavirus pandemic in the state. Also Read - Coronavirus Cases in India Cross 1.9 Lakh-mark; Delhi Seals Border With UP, Haryana For 1 Week | Key Developments
The Pinarayi Vijayan-led government took the decision despite the Centre’s order against deducting salaries during such a crisis. “We don’t have a choice. We just don’t have enough revenues,” Kerala Finance Minister TM Thomas Isaac told reporters. Also Read - Imran Khan Says it Was 'Mistake' to Enforce Strict Lockdown Even as COVID-19 Cases Cross 72,000-mark
Yesterday, the Kerala High Court had stayed an order of the Left government for salary cut of its employees, observing that it lacked legal backing. Also Read - Coronavirus in Maharashtra: 2361 Cases, 76 Deaths in 24 Hours; Total Tally Crosses 70,000-mark
The ordinance read that the Kerala government would be deducting employees’ salary six days every month, up to 25 per cent, for the next five months as part of raising funds for fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
“The state government has taken the decision on the ordinance as per the Kerala High Court order. We could have gone for an appeal.
But, the court said that the government order on deducting salary does not have a legal backing. So, we have decided to make it legal,” Isaac said.
He also pointed out that while other states have cut more than 30 per cent salary of it employees salary, Kerala’s ordinance allows to deduct six days’ pay.
Kerala has been repeatedly praised for its efforts to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus infection. While having seen a rapid surge at the beginning of the pandemic in the country, the state has managed to keep it somewhat controlled now with 484 confirmed cases and only four deaths.