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 - 'Should We Hang Ourselves If Vaccines Are Not Available' Asks Union Minister Sadananda Gowda

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 - IRCTC Latest Update: Central Railway Cancels 4 Trains Due to Low Occupancy | Full List of Cancelled Trains Here

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 - Full Lockdown in Tamil Nadu to be Further Intensified, Assembly Leaders Agree At All-Party Meet

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.